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April 26, 2010 | by  | in News |
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Queen to remain top dog

Head of State Referenda Bill comfortably defeated

The debate around whether New Zealand should move toward becoming a republic has been shelved by parliament after Green MP Keith Locke’s Head Of State Bill failed to pass its first reading last week.

Locke raised questions about New Zealand’s constitutional monarchy, the role of the Queen in New Zealand society, and the concerns surrounding the undemocratic nature of monarchy.

“The question many New Zealanders ask is: why should we have a head of state on the other side of the world who is not a citizen of our country?

“There is also concern about whether our head of state should remain a monarch—that is somebody who inherits the job rather than getting it through a democratic process.”

The Head of State Referenda Bill was defeated 68–53, with the National, ACT, Maori and Progressive Parties all opposed. The Labour Party supported seeing the bill’s passage to the select committee, joined by both the Green Party and United Future.

Summing up the National Party’s consensus, MP Simon Bridges concedes the inevitability of a thorough debate concerning republicanism.

“There are much more important things to deal with… Over time we might look seriously at becoming a republic but now is not the time. It would be a distraction.”

Green Party co-leader Russell Norman says the National Party “have been whipped, and so even though some of the Nats support having a debate on the republic, they’re not allowed to vote for the bill. It’s embarrassing.”

Maori Party MP Rahui Katene raised concerns over the effect republicanism might have on the Treaty of Waitangi.

“The bill has the potential to make the Maori/Crown relationship obsolete, which would be a major concern for many iwi.

“The Maori Party therefore has a major concern around embarking on a process of debate about the head of state in terms of the potential for creating vulnerability around the status of the treaty.”

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  1. adonis says:

    It is silly. The ties between the queen and new zealand is weak, and i think the queen never cares about anything in new zealand. Why do we need to respect her.

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