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July 22, 2013 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

It’s Time for a Republic

Republicanism is not traditionally seen as a right-wing issue, but it is a cause people of all political allegiances can believe in. I believe that a strong, independent New Zealand republic, where people are proud of our nation, is not only necessary, but inevitable.

New Zealand is in an odd situation. We are surrounded by various Asian and Pacific republics. When our Prime Minister goes on diplomatic or trade trips, he or she meets both the Head of State and the Head of Government. Our Prime Minister is only the head of government; our head of state is an elderly British lady who lives 10,000 km away from New Zealand. She isn’t a New Zealander, despite all the ‘Queen of New Zealand’ legal-fiction rubbish.

Shouldn’t a New Zealander be our head of state? I think so. Shouldn’t primary-school teachers be able to tell children that they can be Prime Minister or President if they want to? Yes again. Currently, people who are born here, and live here, are barred from being our head of state. They can aim for the silver medal of being Governor-General, but it helps to be a former judge or a friend of the governing party. Currently the Governor-General is appointed based on the choice of one person, the Prime Minister, instead of the 4.5 million of us who also live in New Zealand.

Republics are apparently unstable however, and we should be careful, lest we become a South-Pacific Zimbabwe, ruled by a homegrown Robert Mugabe. Bullshit. The United States has been a republic since it declared its independence in 1776. It is the richest and most powerful nation in the world. Many of the wealthiest, best-governed and most lawful countries in the world are republics. We have nothing to lose, and national pride to gain.

Wanting an independent New Zealand republic does not make me a traitor. It makes me someone who believes fundamentally in the greatness of our country, in New Zealand exceptionalism. Our nation, founded upon a Treaty between the Empire and Māori, has become so much more than that. It is the freest, most tolerant country in the world, in which people from all over the Earth have made their home, not just those of British descent.

My final question is: why do monarchists fight the prospect of a referendum on a possible New Zealand republic so hard?

Because most of New Zealand agrees with me, and time will prove it.


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