Governor Chris Patten yesterday denied he was leading a lame-duck administration with nothing to do in the run-up to the handover. 'That familiar old pet, the lame duck, has come quacking out of the house of political cliches,' Mr Patten said. Although his term of office would end at the end of June, he said that did not mean there was nothing left to do. In RTHK's Letter to Hong Kong, the territory's 28th and last governor spelled out the various tasks which would keep him and his administration busy for the next 10 months. They included governing Hong Kong well, trying to complete his five-year agenda of change and renewal, completing the legislative programme and continuing to speak up for the territory. Mr Patten said he wanted to ensure all laws were in line with international covenants and the Bill of Rights. 'There are some people who ask: 'Why bother if China's advisers are urging them to reverse all that you and the Legislative Council do?' There's a simple answer to that. I intend to see that we do all that we promised to do before July 1, 1997 to live up to the promises made to Hong Kong in the Joint Declaration. For our part, we'll keep our word even if keeping our word is thought by some to be disgracefully provocative.' Apart from this, he said, the Government also had important work to do in the Joint Liaison Group. 'We couldn't simply close down the Government for the next 10 months and hope that it could be switched on again, like a sports coupe under winter wraps, next summer.' Mr Patten said that increasingly tough questions would be directed to his successor, because 'he or she will have to answer for what happens from the second half of next year onwards'. 'The fact that I'm the last of one breed, and my successor is the first of another, imposes a reality on events which it would be ludicrous to deny.' He said his successor, the territory's first chief executive, would have to give a vision for the future in the same way that he set out what he wanted to do on his arrival in Hong Kong in 1992. 'In short, ensuring that Hong Kong remained prosperous, socially and politically stable, and free,' he said. While he believed there would be some changes in policy to reflect different perspectives and priorities, he did not think a complete overhaul of everything was warranted.