New Zealand as a republic?

Many Australian political leaders have signed up in support of Australia becoming a republic.

The BBC reported Australia republic move: Leaders begin push

Almost all of Australia’s state and territory leaders have signed a document in support of the country becoming a republic.

The only leader who declined to sign, Western Australia’s Colin Barnett, said he was supportive of a republic but believed now was not the right time.

Australians voted against becoming a republic in a 1999 referendum.

Current Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was leader of the republican movement at that time.

The referendum:

A proposed law: To alter the Constitution to establish the Commonwealth of Australia as a republic with the Queen and Governor-General being replaced by a President appointed by a two-thirds majority of the members of the Commonwealth Parliament

  • Yes 45.13%
  • No 54.87%

But since coming to power, Mr Turnbull has said no change should occur until the reign of Queen Elizabeth II ends.

The state premiers of New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, and the chief ministers of the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory, signed the document in favour of replacing the Queen as head of state.

What about New Zealand? We are currently getting a choice on our flag but there’s no significant action on our constitution. After the way the alternative flag selection was politicised and argued I think a constitution would be too complex and contentious for us.

Newstalk ZB has asked What would a Republic of New Zealand look like?

Recently, a number of Australian politicians urged the transition away from the tradition of the British monarch and towards becoming a Republic. Here in New Zealand, different parties are taking various positions: National want a new flag but without a new constitution, while Labour want to keep the current flag but with discussion on the Republican question.

So how is the campaign for a New Zealand Republic faring? Andrew Dickens is joined by Savage, chair of the Head of State NZ group.

The interview is here.

New Zealand Republic website

From Wikipedia:

In 2001, Green Party MP Keith Locke drafted a member’s bill named the Head of State Referenda Bill,[16] which was drawn from the members’ ballot on 14 October 2009. It would have brought about a referendum on the question of a New Zealand republic. Three choices would be put to the public:

  • A republic with direct election of the head of state;
  • A republic with indirect election of the head of state by a three-quarters majority Parliament; and
  • The status quo.

If no model gained a majority, a second run-off referendum would be held. If one of the two republican options were supported by the public, New Zealand would become a Parliamentary republic (as opposed to a presidential republic), with a head of state with the same powers to the Governor-General of New Zealand and serving for one five-year term. In May 2007, the Republican Movement agreed to support the bill to Select Committee stage. The Bill was defeated on 21 April 2010 68 – 53.

Poll from March 2014 by Curia Research, commissioned by New Zealand Republic.:

The question asked was What is your preference for New Zealand’s next Head of State out of the following three options?
1. The next British Monarch becomes King of New Zealand.
2. New Zealand has a New Zealander as Head of State elected by a two thirds majority in Parliament.
3. New Zealand has a New Zealander as Head of State who is elected by the popular vote.

  • Next Head of State British Monarch 477 46%

  • Appointed HoS 118 11%

  • Elected HoS 338 33%

  • Total HoS 456 44%

  • Unsure/refuse 105 10%



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  1. artcroft

     /  31st January 2016

    Had to laugh when Dicken’s suggested that should the Govt Gen or president need to use the reserve powers then he or she would be guided by the super brains in Britain, and so for this reason a monarchy was superior to a republic. Obviously he’s a Labour voter.

  2. Patzcuaro

     /  31st January 2016

    According to Little & Labour referenda are a waste of money, or maybe that is only ones they don’t support!

    If we did go down the referendum path, the preferential voting system used for the alternative flag referendum would alleviate the need for a second referendum and save money (which should please Labour).

    Personally speaking I think we should wait till Queen Elizabeth passes on or abdicates, but I think that the debate needs to start now so that we are ready when that occurs. The process would need most parties to get on board, I was going to say all but remembered about NZ First although Winston might fancy being the first President, baubles etc.

    Appointment by a 67-75% of Parliament would appear to be the simplest & cheapest method, basically the current system without the Monarchy. Looking at what’s going on in the US at present, direct election looks unappealing because of the expense. As I understand it, it costs about $1 million to run for mayor in Auckland. The pool of contenders by direct election would small and the recent people appointed to the GG role have all performed well.

  3. kittycatkin

     /  31st January 2016

    I’d have to know exactly what we gain from not being one (not much, I suspect) before I said yes-but my sympathies are with being one. If we’re better off as we are, then I’d vote for staying as we are.

    The $1,000,000 comes from the candidates, not the taxpayer, surely. I can’t remember how much can be spent here by parties in general elections, but it’s so much per person in the electorate and what a pain in the bum it is working out wha’s best to spend it on (says one who’s been in on it) You can have X big billboards or Y smaller ones…every tollcall is supposed to be accounted for (but I bet they’re not-we had such hassles working out what was and wasn’t a party one that many were just paid for by us. I remember going throught the phone bill and trying to work out whose this number was, as of course, we forgot to note down every one when they were made)

    I wonder how many Americans have long ago lost interest by the time the election happens.

    • Patzcuaro

       /  31st January 2016

      Having someone appointed by certain majority in parliament hopefully would lead to the appointment of quietly competent people that just get on with the job in a apolitical way.

      Whereas if we go down the direct election route we are more likely to get people with more of an ego. These people seem to come with flaws attached, eg Banks & Brown. A lot of qualified people wouldn’t want to go through the election process.

      • kittycatkin

         /  31st January 2016

        We do have people ‘appointed’ by the majority, it happens every time there’s an election.

      • kittycatkin

         /  31st January 2016

        If someone is such a delicate flower that they don’t want to go through the election process. I wouldn’t want them as an MP. There is no way, I hope, that we will ever be ruled by a non-democratic system where people are not chosen by the people themselves..

  4. As a committed Monarchist, having pledged allegiance to the Queen of New Zealand on several occasions in different venues, I will abide by my oath freely given. However, I believe that change to a Republic is inevitable as is continued association with the Commonwealth, as long as it exists. Change should await the passing of the Queen of New Zealand out of respect for her contribution to our national development. However, the biggest obstacle to a change is the significance to Maori of the English Treaty of Waitangi which gave Maori certain rights, and obligations. The Treaty of Waitangi, logically can not survive the change to a Republic, if we continue to honour the Universal Declaration of Rights. I would like to read considered advice on how this problem can and will be overcome. Do we have any Maori readers out there?

    • kittycatkin

       /  31st January 2016

      My reservation about the Monarchy of England being that of NZ is that we no longer seem to gain much, if anything from it. What does the Queen herself contribute to our national development ? Not a lot, as far as I can see.

      • Blazer

         /  31st January 2016

        she contributes by maintaining class distinction,knighthoods,meet the Queen at Ascot races in your top hat and tails and a horse drawn buggy,if you are a real V.I.P you can stay the night at Buckingham Palace like Basar Asad of Syria….um …hang on…um..

    • Blazer

       /  31st January 2016

      cue ..Uncle…Tim!


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