- 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
"Republican Movement" - is it causing campaign confusion?
The US Republican Party: what we are not.
Over the past month it's become increasingly obvious to me that the term "Republican Movement" is confusing to the general public. As a name for our campaign it's strictly correct - we're campaigning for New Zealand to become a republic with a New Zealander, instead of the British monarch, as our head of State.
However, the news media in New Zealand also regularly refers to the US Republican Party and its supporters as the "Republican Movement", and even various Irish nationalist groups in Northern Ireland as the "Republican Movement". I'm often asked whether we support or oppose certain policies that are associated with the US Republican Party, and in many cases have to explain that we are not, in fact, a political party but a single-issue campaign group.
This all came to a head recently with the US federal government's shut down. A number of e-mails and comments I've received are indicative of the wider confusion that must exist in the public's minds. The difficulty is, so long as the term "Republican" is associated with the party we will always be at a disadvantage (this wasn't helped by the thankfully defunct "Republic of New Zealand Party" who regularly referred to themselves as "the Republicans" - even though they rarely actually discussed republicanism). Savage has used the term "Republic Movement" a number of times in articles. I'm not sure this creates the sort of clarity we're seeking, but it is an improvement on "Republican".
A few people have also, in the past, taken issue with the term "Movement", with one wit once telling me it reminded him of "bowel movement", something I'm sure our opponents often think. The problem to my mind with the term is that "Movement", as in a social movement for change, is something of a foreign term to New Zealanders. We prefer to call our movements "campaigns" - and we've got a long history of them: the Campaign to Save Lake Manapouri, the Campaign for MMP, etc. At the moment I think it's time to investigate potential new names.
Our friends across the Tasman, the Australian Republican Movement, have kept their name but now use the "Our Identity" banner. Their underlying reasons for doing so are fairly obvious - an independent head of State is mainly about identity and asserting what is basically already fact; that Australia is now independent of Britain. Perhaps a new name for our campaign could reflect that as well?