- Head of State debate
- The case for a New Zealand republic
- Defending the monarchy
- The facts
- Constitutional review
- The Treaty of Waitangi
- Commonwealth membership
- Common Cause
The real politik of our relationship with the UK
Most Brits I meet think it's either odd or amusing that New Zealand hangs on to the British monarchy - which they point out is their monarchy. Often I hear though that the monarchy is good for New Zealand's relationship with the UK, it means we're on better terms with Britain because of it. But the real politik is that there's only a mental link between the monarchy and New Zealand's relationship with the UK only because the Royals have created one. Comments such as this one on John Key's Facebook page underline this attitude and how pervasive it is.
The Otago Daily Times' report on John Key's meeting with David Cameron reveals the true nature of our relationship. Cameron's government was elected on a pledge to reduce immigration to the UK. They're aiming to do this by restricting the number of visas issued - and unfortunately for us, the Commonwealth's concessions are the easiest target. Ancestry visas, open to all Commonwealth and Irish citizens are unaffected, as are the traditional working visa (now known as the "Youth Mobility Scheme") most Kiwis will use for their OE. Key sought to change Cameron's mind on the additional restrictions being placed on New Zealanders but, in the words of the ODT, came back "empty handed", stating that his focus was on preserving the two remaining categories New Zealanders can access.
None of this is really surprising to anyone who understands the real politik of the situation. If anything, a New Zealander as our head of State will force us to take a more mature stance on our relationship with Britain: we're an independent country now, we can't expect favours just for being a former British colony. We have to understand that Britain does what is in Britain's best interests - sometimes that means our interests are shared, sometimes that means they aren't. Unfortunately the monarchy perpetuates a mindset that for some reason Britain owes us something.