Sir Jerry's 'worst-kept secret' finally officially announced

Sir Jerry Mateparae (file)
Sir Jerry Mateparae (file)

Sir Jerry Mateparae has been announced as New Zealand's next High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.

The former Defence Force chief and former Governor-General will replace Sir Lockwood Smith in London early next year.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully announced the appointment on Friday.

It ranks alongside Washington DC as one of New Zealand's most important diplomatic positions.

"Sir Jerry has been Chief of the New Zealand Defence Force and Chief of Army, and until recently he was New Zealand's Governor-General," Mr McCully said.

"His appointment underlines the significance New Zealand places on our relationship with the UK."

The appointment has been widely tipped for several months and one Government source described it to Newshub as "the worst-kept secret".

Speaker David Carter was originally pegged for the role, but Winston Peters threatened not to work with the Government over what he called the "mainly white brorocracy".

Mr McCully says New Zealand is currently working with the UK on the shape of its post-Brexit relationship, and Sir Jerry will lead the effort.

The High Commission in London also conducts New Zealand's business with Ireland and is its official contact with the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Mr McCully acknowledged the work Sir Lockwood has done, saying he had furthered the relationship between the countries.

NZN / Newshub.