Republicanism in New Zealand

  May 8, 2009 at 6:48 pm by

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The question of the relevance of monarchies is one which seems to be being asked more and more frequently these days. Just recently, an American magazine ran an article about the Danish Crown Prince Couple, in a similar vein. Many constitutional monarchies are questioning whether they should turn republic, and New Zealand has been one of these.

New Zealanders don’t seem to be able to make up our minds – there’s enough interest that the issue keeps coming up, but no one wants to be the one to actually push for the change to a republic. A column in a recent weekend newspaper has brought the matter back to our attention. Holmes (the author) questions the relevance of a monarch who lives thousands of kilometres away, with a very different lifestyle to your average Kiwi, and very rarely visits.

Monarchies in general were also discussed on a morning television show this past week. So there is discussion. Earlier this year Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced that whilst Australia making the change was not likely to be immediate, it would happen. The message is the same from New Zealand’s PM John Key, he saying that it is unlikely to ‘happen under his watch’.

So there are those who want New Zealand to become a republic, and they are getting tired of all the talk, and lack of action. But there are also plenty who either are neutral or wish for the Queen to remain our Head of State. For New Zealand to become a republic a referendum would have to be won.

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4 Responses to Republicanism in New Zealand

  1. Sonjapearl says:

    I can understand why Australia and New Zealand would want to be republics. They are on the other side of the world, so far from the UK. Royals survive by being in touch with their people. How could the British royals be in touch with the Australians and New Zealanders when they are so far from them?

  2. Royalist says:

    The Australian media keep repeating that “a” republic (they never say, what kind of a republic) was inevitable, the politicians don’t call a referendum, because they are not sure they would win it. In 1999 the Australian people voted 55:45 to retain their Monarchy. In the past ten years the figures varied a little bit, but this did not ensure a republican victory. The media and the republic oriented politicians use the mantra of the inevitability of “a” republic to discourage the Australian Monarchists. Some may get tired of the constant attacks against our Monarchy, but I am confident, we will win another referendum, whenever it may come.

    I am sure, the fellow Kiwi Monarchists think alike.

  3. Royale says:

    In 1999, I think the Australian people voted down the model of republic that was presented to them to consider as opposed to voting down the concept of a republic. Polls taken before and since the 1999 referendum have been more inclined to suggest a majority of Australians feel ready for a republic but it seems there is still no clear agreement about how that republic might look. There seem to be two main choices. Find some way to appoint a president (as in Ireland) maximising the chance of having presidents held in high regard by the Australian people (ie NOT politicians) and keeping one of the great advantages of the current monarchy – someone beyond and above the day to day political bickering. Interestingly, a model that encompassed this style of president was the model rejected in 1999. The other option is popular election as in France or the US which seems to have a much greater risk of a politician becoming president and presents more problems in maintaining the current system of checks and balances that the monarchy gives us as exercised through the office of Governor General nationally and Governor in each of the states.
    The Queen is still held in very high regard in Australia and there is no great urgency to resolve the republic question at present though the current government have talked of asking the Australian people whether or not we want a republic and then looking at the model that might be adopted if the majority say yes.
    Interestingly (to me), the only options canvassed seem to be either republic or British based monarchy. It would be possible I am sure to create our own Australian based monarchy if we had the will but I suspect such an institution would grate on the Australian sense of egalitarianism.

  4. Sam says:

    I am Australian and I feel that we have been let down by our Queen.

    We should receive things like free movement between Commonwealth, and more royalness towards each Commonwealth nation.

    If the royal family continues to not want to have anything with us, or push for anything, why should we keep them?

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