Royalty welcomed

New Zealand’s royalty was welcomed yesterday, when the All Blacks returned to New Zealand with the Rugby World Cup. There were large crowds and large dollops of media coverage.

Some other country’s royalty were also welcomed, by a few people.

Gold cups are more popular than gold crowns here (or Heir Apparents of crowns). And are more deserved.

Richie McCaw versus Prince Charles – who has the most respect here?

Prince Charles is caught in a limbo of virtual irrelevance, overshadowed by his mother the Queen of a country on the other side of the world, and over shadowed by the media adulation of his kids and grand kids.

Some people will enjoy his visit, but modern New Zealand has been far more excited by our  sporting heroes.

Severely flawed royal tour poll

Self selecting online polls are unreliable indicators of public opinion no matter how well they are done, but a Dominion Post poll on the royal tour leaves a glaring gap in it’s options.

             Are you hoping to see the royals? 

o  I’m lining up to see them every chance I get!

o  I’d be happy to get just a glimpse of them.

o  It would be nice to see them, but it’s OK if I don’t.

o  No! I’m a republican and don’t care for royalty.     

The poll is attached to an editorial praising the royals and the tour – Editorial: Give royals a jolly good time – so people interested in the tour are far more likely to click on the editorial link and see the poll than those who don’t care.

The questions are unbalanced, with three options for people who might like to see the royals and only one for those who don’t want to see them.

Worse, the “don’t care” option is tied to being a republican. It’s quite likely there are far more people who don’t consider themselves republicans and don’t care than republicans who don’t care.

This poll is severely stacked against showing a representative sample of opinion.

UPDATE: I linked this to Twitter and got a response from someone from the Dom-Post:

Hi Pete – we hear you. We will amend the poll to make the ‘not interested’ option unlinked to republicans. Thanks

That’s a bit better but changing a poll question part way through the polling is not going to help accuracy, although it’s been changed early in the polling period.

And it doesn’t address the other flaws. Self selecting polls associated with news or opinion articles are for entertainment, they can’t be considered representations of public opinion.

New question in poll:

Are you hoping to see the royals?

 o  I’m lining up to see them every chance I get!

 o  I’d be happy to get just a glimpse of them.

 o  It would be nice to see them, but it’s OK if I don’t.

 o  I don’t care for royalty.


Will the royal tour influence the election?

I don’t see why it would, but some see it as yet another thing stacked against their election chances. Some typical comments on this at The Standard:


The only comment I would like to make about the visit by the Windsors is this. I understood a constitutional monarch was not allowed to get involved in politics. Black Rod and all that medieval crap. Why is it then they are opening the controversial Velodrome in Cambridge hosted by Wardell (he will get a knighthood for playing at life) where 80% of the ratepayers were against having rate payers money used to fund it, but the regional council aided and abetted by Keys pack of shits ignored what the ratepayers said and went ahead with it.

I think this sets a precedent, the Royals are being used politically by Key during an election year.


We knew that from the day it was announced they were coming.

But there were challenges to these views:


How are they being used politically? There are no conventions in New Zealand about royal visits in election year. Visits in 1981 and 2002 were both within 6 months of the elections in those years.

In 2002, the Queen visited Team New Zealand. Many on the Left and the Right had opposed funding for the Americas Cup. Was that the “royals being used politically” by the then Labour Government? No, of course not.


Labour has never been averse to the royal effect. Although Clark did break protocol and wear slacks to a dinner with the queen…

Felix Marwick, Chief Political Reporter at Newstalk ZB, sums up my views well in The Soap Box: Royal tour a complete waste… 

 A colossal waste of time, energy, and money. 

I’m sorry, as a Republican, I just can’t develop any enthusiasm or regard for the Royal Visit that kicks off in Wellington today and will run until the middle next week. 

Their Royal Highnesses, better known to the tabloid savvy as Wills and Kate along with their son Prince George, will be dominating the news agenda for the next 10 days as their rather mundane trip around the country will be breathlessly reported on 24 seven. 

Forgive me if I’m not terribly enthusiastic about any of this. 

I’ve never been enthusiastic about about royal visits. I doubt I would have been regardless but my view wasn’t helped by a Queen Mother visit while I was at school. I was part of a small town turnout (Cromwell) where we lined the main street with planned meet, greet and speeches.

But the motorcade was running a couple of hours late and didn’t have time to stop. I can’t even remember if we waited long enough for the cars to whiz by, I don’t remember actually seeing anything so I may have had to go to catch the school bus home.

And when we went to the ‘pictures’ we were supposed to stand for “God Save the Queen” at the start – not being in to gods or queens I always thought that was weird. As I got older it became a chance to defy authority (custom) by remaining seated.

But the thought of having to follow the scions of aristocratic privilege around the country as they partake in such earth shattering events as riding in jet boats, visiting a police college, and yachting on Auckland harbour, bores me to tears. 

The only reason any of this has any consequence whatsoever is because of who they are. Descendants of a royal lineage whose relevance to New Zealand lessens with every passing year. 

What do we really get out of this trip other than a hefty expenses bill that’ll no doubt run into the millions of dollars? 

Not a lot. Rich people look at stuff. And by the way they have a baby. There’s your headline. 

Look, I’m sure the royal couple are lovely people. And I have a certain sympathy for their life in a gilded cage, always under the microscope, and never being able to say anything controversial. Thought the trappings of wealth and aristocracy probably aren’t a bad compensation. 

But what, in the quantum of human affairs do they contribute to New Zealand other than represent a vestigial tie to our colonial past. Bar symbolism this visit is an expensive waste of time, has limited news value, and does little, if anything, for the country. 

My ancestors, and I know I’m not alone in this, came to New Zealand to get away from Britain’s oppressive class system. To escape the poverty trap that constrained those who were not of the right social class. So why are we celebrating and endorsing the royals when they represent the very system our great great grand parents escaped from? 

I’ve got nothing personal against the royals but they’re an expensive irrelevance and we really should be looking forwards, not backwards. 

If they want to visit, that’s fine. But let them carry the tab. I’m almost positive they can afford it.   

I know it’s not a waste of time for a sizable number of people who enjoy celebrity visits. But I don’t care about it, apart from the saturation of media coverage I’ll have to try and avoid.

Back to the original question – I see no reason whatsoever how this tour will influence the election that’s four and a half months away, except that it might give us a short reprieve from politicians electioneering, they may want to avoid making fools of themselves in the international media spotlight.