British politicians on monarchy “wouldn’t that be an appropriate time to call it a day”

Prince Andrew may have done significant damage to the British monarchy. His disastrous interview led to his brother Charles asking their mother Elizabeth to dump him from royal duties. British politicians are suggesting that once the Queen’s reign ends maybe all royal duties could be dumped.

Daily Express: End the monarchy? SNP Sturgeon demands talk on Royal Family future after Prince Andrew row

The Royal Family has been caught up in the furore surrounding Prince Andrew’s car crash BBC interview over his relationship with the disgraced US financier Jeffrey Epstein. In the biggest crisis the Queen has faced since the death of Princess Diana, some are now calling for a national debate over the monarchy’s future. Jeremy Corbyn has led the way with calls to rid the UK of its Royal tradition, saying that he would create a Head of State to replace the Queen.

In an interview with GMTV, Mr Corbyn said: “I think it’s time that we just moved on and said, when the Queen completes her reign, wouldn’t that be an appropriate time to call it a day and have an elected Head of State.”

And now it seems that Nicola Sturgeon has lent her support to Mr Corbyn’s republican agenda.

In an interview on ITV News At Ten on Thursday, the SNP leader argued that it was time to have a debate over the role of the monarchy.

When asked whether the Prince Andrew affair made her consider whether the monarchy is fit for purpose, she replied: “I think it raises a number of questions.

It’s most unlikely anything will happen (beyond whittling down the hangers on like Andrew) while Elizabeth remains queen, but if party leaders in the UK are openly questioning the monarchy, or saying it should end in the next decade or so, then it must have just about done it’s dash.

There’s even less need for the monarchy here on the other side of the world. It really isn’t relevant to us in Aotearoa, apart from providing a bit of hob nobbing and rubbing shoulders with royal celebrities for some of our politicians.

Prince Charles has just visited and that was very low key. I think that most of us just didn’t care.

It would be simple for us to become independent of a ruling system that hasn’t ruled for a long time, here or in Britain. We could keep something like the Governor General here, maybe renamed, for some official signing stuff and a token check on the power of politicians, but we wouldn’t need much.

I don’t think we need a president, or anything called a president. That would imply some sort of power that they shouldn’t have.

I doubt our politicians would have the gumption to drop the monarchy. Jacinda Ardern seems to like the hob nobbing. Simon Bridges seems quite conservative so I doubt he would do anything semi-radical on the monarchy.

But it could be forced on us if Britain separates it’s governance from the monarchy. If they do that it would be more ridiculous than it is now to maintain a connection that has no relevance to modern New Zealand.  they Queen hasn’t been here for yonks and won’t be back.  Princes come and shake a few hands every few years but I’m sure we could manage without that sort of poncing.

The anti-kiwi royals don’t care if we ditched them so we should

Some time in the future New Zealand will ditch the monarchy and become some sort of a republic. John Key liked socialising with the royals too much to consider it and wanted a knighthood too much to consider it, and I suspect Jacinda Ardern likes associating with royal celebrities too much to go there either.

But one day we will get a real progressive Prime Minister rather one than in claim only.

And when we become a country independent of the pomp and snobbery that many of our ancestors escaped from, I think the royals won’t care at all. They don’t care much about us now. We might be a bit of a perk trip to younger princes and princesses, but to the older ones we are probably just another series of boring engagements.

Jonathan Milne:  We want a New Zealander as our head of state? Just get on with it, says the Queen

Former Anglican Archbishop Sir Paul Reeves who led Charles and Diana in prayer for New Zealand’s leadership in 1983, went on to represent the Queen as Governor-General. He later told me the Queen should be replaced by a New Zealand head of state. He said his knighthood had become a part of him since its award in 1984, “but if renouncing knighthoods was a prerequisite to being a citizen of a republic, I think it would be worth it.”

All Black-turned-broadcaster Chris Laidlaw talked to Charles about New Zealand becoming a republic, too, at a dinner in 1997. “Well, to be frank, I think it would come as a great relief to all of us,” Charles told him. “It would remove the awful ambiguity we have at the moment. It seems to me that it would be a lot easier for everybody if you all had your own completely independent head of state.”

Another former Governor-General, Dame Catherine Tizard, asked the Queen the same question. “She is quite sanguine about these things,” Dame Cath later told me. “She has always said it is a decision for New Zealand to make, and ‘whatever decision New Zealand makes, of course we would accept it’.”

They would have to ‘accept it’.  They may lord over us from a great distance, but they don’t rule us.

In a new biography of the Queen, author Robert Hardman reveals the Queen came to one firm conclusion. In the event of this or any other realm opting to become a republic, they should get on with it.

‘It could not be tied to the death of the Queen,” said a Palace advisor. “That would be untenable for the Prince of Wales, untenable for the Queen and untenable for the country itself because, obviously, they’d be looking at their watches waiting for her to pass away.”

So we should at least start doing what we need to do to become a republic before the current queen dies. We can’t go annoying Charlie.

It’s no longer acceptable that our head of state’s allegiance is first and foremost to another nation, nearly 20,000km away.

It’s no longer acceptable that our head of state’s succession gives preference to Anglicans over Catholics, English peers over hardworking Kiwis.

If NZ First seriously believe in promoting kiwi values then they should lead the revolution.

In fact, it’s no longer acceptable that our head of state is chosen by succession at all, when in other spheres of life we celebrate the strongly-held belief that we should be recognised on our merit.

The monarchy is anti do-it-yourself-kiwi and anti-kiwi values, it is anti-secular, it is anti-equality, and it is anti-democracy.

All we need is an actual progressive Government to do the decent thing and ditch the royals.

 

Despite wedding media mania majority still prefer NZ head of state

A poll done by Curia Research for NZ republic shows little change in support for a New Zealand head of state versus the monarchy.

  • Would like an elected head of state 45%
  • Would like a head of state selected by Parliament 11%
  • TOTAL for NZ head of state 56%
  • Next head of state to be a British monarch 38%

The poll was conducted last week during widespread royal wedding coverage. It had 930 respondents, margin of error of 3.2%.

Trend for NZ head of state:

  • 44% June 2014)
  • 47% (April 2015)
  • 59% (August 2016)
  • 56% (May 2018)

NZH: All the best to Harry and Meghan, but a Kiwi head of state still preferred, survey shows

“The latest poll results show support for the next head of state to be a New Zealander is still in the majority, 18 percentage points clear of support for the British Monarch” a campaign spokesman said.

Support for a republic was favoured by more than half of all age groups except those in the 61 and older bracket, where support dipped to 49 per cent. However, even in that case the number was higher than support for continuing the monarchy, with 46 per cent in favour and 5 per cent undecided.

However, Sean Palmer from Monarchy New Zealand said it was misleading to combine responses favouring a Kiwi head of state.

Those who wanted a democratically elected head of state might favour continuing the monarchy over Parliament deciding and visa versa, he said.

Calling the republic campaigners “out of touch”, Palmer said republicanism was an out of date, 20th-century idea.

“We live in a modern interconnected world that’s constantly shrinking.”

“When I’m speaking to young people, that’s the thing they’re concerned with – how is New Zealand going to fit into the modern world.”

Recent attention to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding and the joy in New Zealand at Prince Louis’ birth showed interest in the Windsors was anything but waning, Palmer argued.

That’s media attention. It is no indication of general public opinion.

“There is no indication of New Zealanders losing their interest or association with the monarchy.”

The poll suggests otherwise. Palmer did not back his claims with any other poll data.

“New Zealand likely to become a republic ” – Ardern

John Key was openly pro-monarchy, and not long after resigning as Prime Minister and retiring from politics he took on a knighthood, as was expected.

NZH in 2016: NZ a republic? Not in my lifetime, Key predicts

“I don’t think there’s any chance New Zealand is going to become a republic anytime soon. In fact, I would be amazed if New Zealand becomes a republic in my lifetime. And I’m hoping to live a long and happy life.”

In contrast, current Jacinda Ardern thinks that in her lifetime – which should last longer than  Key’s given she is about nineteen years younger – New Zealand is likely to ditch the UK monarchy and become a republic. But it doesn’t seem like it is on the cards on her watch as Prime Minister.

Guardian: New Zealand likely to become a republic in my lifetime, says Jacinda Ardern

New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, has said she expects her country could become a republic within her lifetime.

In an interview with the Guardian before flying to London for the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting (Chogm), she said there was great fondness for the members of the royal family whenever they visited New Zealand.

Politicians and media and some people go gaga over royal visits, but I doubt whether most people care about royal visits. And the Queen hasn’t been here much, her last visit was in 2002.

Although she could not remember the last time a voter had asked her about the country becoming a republic and admitted it was not a priority for her administration, Arden said New Zealand would eventually transition away from the monarchy.

“When I have been asked for an opinion, I think within my lifetime I think it is a likelihood we will transition. It is not something this government is prioritising at all though.

‘Not prioritising’ has become a familiar term from Ardern and Labour – they have used it to avoid addressing topical issues like euthanasia and cannabis law reform – and last term Labour turned against  their own policy to oppose and disrupt the referendum on flag change.

“The most important thing for New Zealand is we have a very special arrangement and relationship via our treaty of Waitangi, and the relationship between Maori and the crown, so before any conversation like that occurs, that is something that will needed to be resolved within New Zealand.”

I don’t see the current Ardern led government putting any priority on that either.

 

Out with the monarchy, in with the pōhutukawa

On Christmas Eve Heather du Plessis-Alan pointed out the growing differences between the traditional (northern hemisphere) Christmas and our summer celebration in the south, and likens this to the separation from the archaic other side of the world monarchy.

NZH: Heather du Plessis-Allan: Kiwis need to step up, be proud, and dump pines for pōhutukawa

I blame it on the pōhutukawa. There’s nothing more Kiwi than a pōhutukawa. They mark our summers for us.

If the red blooms arrive early, we know summer has come early.

Summer arrived early in Dunedin, pōhutukawas are already alight with red flowers.

We love our pōhutukawa. They’re on Christmas cards and tea towels and kitsch paintings of the beach.

Yet we cheat on them every Christmas. Instead of including the most Kiwi of all trees in our festivities, we betray them with a pine.

The pine is not even traditional Christmas – pinus radiata (Montery pine) originates from California and Mexico so I’m not sure how it became our common Christmas tree.

For some time for us pine is longer used, inside the house it causes allergic mayhem.

We could be hanging ornaments shaped liked tiny jandals and barbecue tongs on our pōhutukawa, but instead we decorate pine trees with reindeer and fake snow. Ever seen a reindeer? Me neither.

And so, the pōhutukawa gets me feeling patriotic every Christmas.

I start off wondering how long it’ll take us to be brave enough to swap the pine for it, and end up wondering how long it’ll take us to make much braver decisions about New Zealand’s future.

We can’t go on being part of the British realm forever. It’s increasingly ridiculous that New Zealand’s ultimate decision-maker lives on the other side of the world and has visited our country fewer than a dozen times.

The Queen was last in New Zealand fifteen years ago, in 2002. I think she intends never to come here again.

At some stage, we’ll have to make the call to become a Republic. We all know it’s coming. It’s just a question of when.

I think it is generally assumed that nothing will change while the current Queen survives, but once she is gone the chances of at least giving New Zealanders a choice of who they want to be their head of state will become more likely.


NZ History: Pohutukawa trees

The first known published reference to the pohutukawa as a Christmas tree came in 1857 when ‘flowers of the scarlet Pohutukawa, or “Christmas tree”’ formed part of table decorations at a feast put on by Ngāpuhi leader Eruera Patuone.

Other 19th-century references described the pohutukawa tree as the ‘Settlers Christmas tree’ and ‘Antipodean holly’.

In 1941 army chaplain Ted Forsman composed a pohutukawa carol in which he made reference to ‘your red tufts, our snow’. Forsman was serving in the Libyan Desert at the time.

 

 

A constitution for Aotearoa New Zealand?

Establishing a constitution, no longer having the Queen as the head of state, locking in a four-year election cycle, and enshrining the Treaty of Waitangi are all proposed in book by Sir Geoffrey Palmer and  Andrew Butler that will be launched next week.

There is already a website set up: A CONSTITUTION FOR AOTEAROA NEW ZEALAND

Our proposal: a modern constitution that is easy to understand, reflects New Zealand’s identity and nationhood, protects rights and liberties, and prevents governments from abusing power.

NZH: Do we need a Queen anymore?

The short answer to that headline is no we don’t need a queen from the other side of the world who never comes here any more. The key questions are:

  • When will a majority of New Zealanders not want our country to be a monarchy?
  • When will our politicians give us the opportunity to become an independent country?

But the book is about a lot more than that. It aims to start ‘a conversation’ about important issues regarding the future of New Zealand.

Along with fellow lawyer Andrew Butler, Palmeris about to release A Constitution for Aotearoa New Zealand, a book that explains – in a surprisingly easy to understand manner – why New Zealand needs a written constitution and what a first draft of that constitution entails.

It has what some would call emotive elements – ditching the Queen as the head of state, locking in a four-year election cycle, enshrining the Treaty of Waitangi – but at its heart is a fierce commitment to both protecting the rights of all New Zealanders and ensuring we all, politicians especially, know and understand the rules by which we run this little club called New Zealand.

Constitution Aotearoa might sound eye-rollingly dry but the fact is New Zealand’s current constitution is, frankly, a mess

Because we have not had any major issues with being tied to the British monarchy and with not having a constitution politicians and many people have preferred to defer to the status quo.

Some people strongly believe in the monarchy being attached to New Zealand, others see that doing nothing is the easiest or cheapest option.

“In a democracy you ought to know what your rights and responsibilities are and you ought to know how the system of government works, you ought to know what the rules are,” Palmer says. “In New Zealand you can’t find out because the constitution is all over the place, it’s inaccessible.

“What you want is a document that sets out who the head of state is and what the head of state does, what the Parliament is, how it’s elected and what it can do and what the judiciary can do.

Sounds like a sensible tidy up but it is likely to be highly contentious.

Bizarrely, New Zealand is one of the few countries in the world (alongside Britain and Israel) that doesn’t have a written constitution. The fact we don’t have a clear set of rules to follow, or any of the checks and balances inherent in a written constitution, means our politicians can do whatever they like as long as they get a majority in the house.

Great Britain at least has the House of Lords to act as a checkpoint for legislation while Israel has 11 basic laws that set out how the country should be governed.

Without those rudimentary measures, New Zealand is open to a worst case scenario where one powerful person could influence Cabinet, which in turn controls Parliament, which enacts laws the courts cannot overturn … if you think it sounds like a dictatorship you’re not far wrong.

Those who call John Key a dictator will feel vindicated.

The potential for that dictatorship has been muted by MMP but “New Zealand is still very friendly to executive power”, Palmer says, meaning Cabinet can turn anything it fancies into law.

“There are considerable dangers in that,” he adds. “Parliament can easily be dominated by the governing party, and Parliament will do what the governing party wants. The system we call parliamentary sovereignty, which means Parliament can do whatever it wants, becomes, in New Zealand, that the executive [Cabinet] can do whatever it likes.”

Most of our Cabinets have been reasonably responsible, but many will remember Rob Muldoon’s increasingly messy attempts to mould the economy and country by his dictat – the country ended up teetering on the brink of going broke.

And some on the left still wail about the reforms of Roger Douglas and the Lange led Labour government that supposedly imposed a neo-liberal disaster.

Head of State

Palmer believes it’s inevitable New Zealand will become a republic – in fact, he argues that we are already a “de facto” republic in as much as the Queen doesn’t exercise any power here. What power she does have, the so-called royal prerogative, is described as “shadowy”, “murky” and so poorly defined it may as well be abolished.

Palmer rules out an elected president, saying it’s too contrary to our national personality and character. He rules out the Prime Minister taking on the largely ceremonial role as he or she is overburdened as it is.

In the end, Constitution Aotearoa lands on an updated variant of the Governor-General, appointed by Parliament for a term of five years. A public vote on the Head of State is rejected for the simple reason there would be no power invested in the role. Plus, he adds, if the public voted for a head of state it risks becoming a political process.

The Royal Family, as a result, would remain “popular celebrities” and New Zealand could send a message to the world – and to ourselves – that we are a mature and independent nation, but one that stays within the Commonwealth, maintaining our historical links to Britain.

I agree that a powerless figurehead should be appointed by Government rather than voted on.

I shudder to think how bad the bitching would become if we had a chance to vote for John Key or Helen Clark as head of state, the petty bitterness against both is entrenched.

Treaty of Waitangi

Constitution Aotearoa has the Treaty of Waitangi unambiguously at its heart. In fact, Palmer, argues, it is effectively New Zealand’s first constitutional document and the Government’s “moral and political claim to democratic legitimacy rests of the Treaty”.

By its nature as a founding document and in the way it is now interwoven in modern society, the Treaty is integral to New Zealand’s current (unwritten) constitution. But like that complex and confusing constitution in the clouds, the Treaty itself is shrouded in uncertainty and “jagged legal recognition”. In other words, it has no independent legal status.

Palmer wants to give the Treaty “clear and certain” status.

A Supreme Court, acting under the new constitution, would also bring thoughtful analysis of how the Treaty works in modern New Zealand, ending the current “ungainly, unclear and untidy” legal treatment of the Treaty.

How we treat the  Treaty is also certain to be highly contentious but the reality is we have the Treaty of Waitangi and need to work out how to deal with it sensibly and fairly.

Constitution Aotearoa will officially be released at Parliament on Wednesday and has a complementary website where Kiwis can make submissions. Palmer says the book and website should be seen as the “start of a conversation”.

Once the submissions have been taken, he and Butler will write a revised version. After that it would be up to government to take hold of the issue. Palmer’s hope is that within five years New Zealanders will be voting in a referendum on whether to adopt Constitution Aotearoa.

“New Zealand is relatively well governed compared with a lot of countries but it could be a lot better.”

A Constitution for Aotearoa New Zealand, by Geoffrey Palmer and Andrew Butler, Victoria University Press. Available September 21. $25.

www.constitutionaotearoa.org.nz

The proposed Constitution: the full text

I’d like Your NZ to be a part of the conversation. Whether we end up changing anything or not we should seriously talk about it.

Dwindling support for Monarchy

A poll commissioned by New Zealand Republic suggests that support for a monarchy is falling significantly.

 

  • The next British Monarch becomes King of New Zealand 34%
  • New Zealand has a New Zealander as Head of State elected by a two thirds majority in Parliament 15%
  • New Zealand has a New Zealander as Head of State who is elected by the popular vote 44%

 

There was no poll option for no head of state above our current Prime Minister.

Support for a New Zealand head of State amongst younger people (aged 18-30) was 76%, and for those 61 and over it was 53%.

Newshub reported Monarchists not amused by poll backing republic

Monarchists are brushing off a new poll which suggests New Zealand is heading towards becoming a republic, instead saying it’s unlikely to happen in the next 500 years.

“I’m a little sceptical of these numbers,” Monarchy New Zealand’s Sean Palmer told Paul Henry on Monday.

“This was a poll that was paid for and conducted by Republicans – I’m a bit surprised they didn’t find 120 percent in support of a republic.”

The poll was carried out by David Farrar’s Curia Research – Farrar is a promoter of a New Zealand Republic – but that’s lame.

April 2014 – What is your preference for New Zealand’s next Head of State out of the following three options?

  • The next British Monarch becomes King of New Zealand 46%
  • New Zealand has a New Zealander as Head of State elected by a two thirds majority in Parliament 11%
  • New Zealand has a New Zealander as Head of State who is elected by the popular vote 33%

Support for a New Zealand head of State amongst younger people (aged 18-30) was 66%

Source: Scoop – Latest Poll: Support for NZ head of state is up

New Zealand’s monarchist state, explained

NZ Herald cartoon today:

There’s a number of things that could be read from that.

Sports supporters who want to keep the current flag? I don’t think there are many England team fans in New Zealand, especially when the likes of the All Blacks or Black Caps or Silver Ferns or Black Ferns play them.

John Key? He likes the Queen and her honours system but wants a distinctive New Zealand flag.

KeyFernBeer

I wonder if he wears his new flag lapel badge when he gets his knighthood.

KeyLapelLockwood

Key at Ratana, January 2016

Salmond/Labour view on adding Red Peak

In his weekly media conference yesterday John Key intimated he might consider adding the red Peak flag to the final four designs, providing he gets cross party support (excluding anti-flag change NZ First).

He said it would require Labour to back adding red Peak and to also back the flag consideration process – while flag change has been Labour policy they have been opposing flag change under key.

Labour insider Rob Salmond was quick to reveal his (at least) views on this development on Twitter. It’s reasonable to presume he might have had some communication in Andrew Little’s office.

So every other party – excluding NZ First – need to commit to supporting Red Peak & flag process of law is to be changed.

Bullshit. Key’s got a majority. He can change the law to put in Red Peak all by himself. The buck stops with him.

When was 59 seats out of 121 a majority?

 You’ve got poodles.

Both of them have been pretty yappy and bitey this year 🙂

Clearly Salmond had no interest on compromising to allow Red Peak to be added. To him it was very political.

Waiting on an official Red Peak line from Labour. Andrew Little’s previously said he’s a fan and would vote if it were an option in 1st ref

National can engineer the law change without Labour. They’re the government and all. This is buck-passing, plain and simple.

BUT you guys might accuse him of wasting parliament’s time, is his point. I think.

Well our accusations have never stopped Key wasting Parliament’s time before…

No interest in cross party support.

So if Labour and Greens agree to a law change, Red Peak will be a 5th option in the 1st referendum.

What kind a majority are you looking for here? Nat + ACT + Dunne can do this all by yourselves. So clean up your own mess!

Labour have been active contributors to messing up the flag process so it’s not surprising to see an unwillingness to help tidy it up.

Labour blocks Red Peak inclusion.

Also, I understand Labour’s made a counter-offer – give voters the same options they had in MMP referendum, and is in.

Andrea Vance retweeted Brook Sabin

Right. Labour says no. Now, can we just move the f*** on?

Labour hasn’t said no. I understand Little made a counter-offer.

A counter offer that is effectively a refusal. Labour insisted on not just adding Red Peak but also changing the whole structure of the referendum process despite official recommendations for the existing process that were voted on and accepted by Parliament.

Y’all just missed a golden opportunity to not be dicks

No, they didn’t. They’re trying to give voters the option to say “stop wasting our money” if that’s their wish.

o, the PM just opened up a great big political trap and Labour fell into it. this is so pointless!

PM doesn’t need Labour to do it … which is what Labour shoulda said. instead of this stupidity.

That’s not going to happen tho, all you’ve done is piss off Red Peak people & given Key something else to slap you with.

Yesterday we heard “wasn’t going to happen.” Let’s see how strong Key’s resolve is to deny NZers choice.

Or how determined Labour are to deny New Zealanders choice. It appears that Salmond and Labour rushed their reaction without thinking things through.

But it’s not his resolve. He’s said ok. It’s Labour’s resolve to deny people the choice being tested now

DUDE. It’s you guys that are the road block now. You said NO right off the bat. He will laugh at you.

No. Labour wants NZers to also have a choice, like they had in ’92, to call it off at stage 1 if they want.

And then change the thing to add in red peak and slap you with that too. How many times do you wanna lose?

Labour die NOT say no. Labour said “Yes, if…”

our “Yes, if…” is everyone else’s “No, but…”.

Labour is effectively saying no, and Salmond knows that.

In contrast James Shaw said he liked the idea of adding Red Peak but would need to consult with the Green caucus.

So everyone is now just playing politics with the flag. For a referendum no one cared about, it’s now getting a lot of heat.

Labour isn’t playing politics. It’s just trying to get voters the choice to call the whole thing off if they want.

That appears to be Labour’s aim, to call the whole thing off. While they have supported flag change in their policy they don’t want it happening under Key’s watch.

There’s a lot of Red Peak supporters. Salmond (and Labour) seems to have misjudged how they will view Labours continued spoiling tactics.

Andrew Little has just spoken about this on TVNZ Breakfast and reiterated Labour’s stance, they will only agree to add Red Peak if the whole referendum structure is changed (which will reduce the chances of flag change).

If Labour successfully sabotage this flag consideration process there is no way we will get another chance to consider flag change at least while Little is leader. It will likely be decades before it will be offered as a choice again.

This has wider implications.

If our politicians and parties can’t work together on something as straight forward as considering flag change without making it a political shit fight (and John Key must take some responsibility for that too) then the chances of looking at flag change again in the foreseeable future looks bleak.

And the chances of doing things far more contentions and complex, like considering ditching the Monarchy or working on a Constitution, would be a waste of time.

A savage look at the Monarchy

NZ Herald has an item by ‘Savage’, who is is chair of New Zealand Republic. He is also a writer and filmmaker and lives in west Auckland.

Savage: Time to look to the future of monarchy

Queen Elizabeth is now the longest reigning British monarch in history, but sometime within the next ten years her reign will end and King Charles will become the UK’s head of state. Charles will likely be on the throne for a further 20 years.

Some argue it would be the ideal time to move to a democratic head of state but such an approach is lacks forethought. While it is feasible to wait until events in the UK afford us an opportunity to change, it would be far better to agree on the details in advance and make the improvements at a time of our own choosing.

Queen Elizabeth has let it be known, via former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Sir Don McKinnon, that she has no problem with New Zealand having its own independent head of state. So it makes sense to make the change why she is still around to enjoy it.

While we don’t want to rush the process it is important to be prepared. We need to begin making formal plans sooner rather than later. Change can only happen through binding referenda so it is important everyone has opportunity to discuss and understand what is required.

To work well the planning and public consultation process must be independent of parliament and free from party politics.

That’s a forlorn hope. Whe you see what has happened politically over something as inconsequential as the flag change I can imagine that any attempt to ditch the Monarchy would be ddled with political posturing and pissiness.

It is therefore essential to appoint a Head of State Commission akin to the five-member electoral reform commission established in 1985 to examine alternative electoral systems.

The Head of State Commission would work out the finer details of the two main methods of appointment New Zealanders would have to choose from. Parliament would then enact legislation to make it happen.

The first indicator referendum would ask people if they wanted to hold a second binding referendum to establish a New Zealand republic and if so whether they would prefer appointment by direct or indirect election.

The second referendum would only go ahead if 50 per cent of people said they wanted it to. Most likely it would occur at the same time as a general election. Only then could the recommendations be put into effect and the transition made.

Two referendums! The country would embrace the chance to engage, sensibly debate and then choose via referendum our future with or without the Monarchy attached. Yeah, right.

We’d probably get part way through the process, decide on a couple of choices, and then some numpties  in mainstream and social media would start a campaign to add their own option.

I don’t think our politicians and media are anywhere near grown up enough discuss and decide anything about our links to a now virtually irrelevant monarcy.

The spoiling and attempts at sabatoge of any monarchy process are likely to be savage.

We are a long way from doing democracy sensibly and reasonably in the Internet age. Debate is currently to readily and easily dominated by petty pockets of dissent.