A secular head of state is vital

In a nation as diverse as New Zealand, with hundreds of different ethnicities and a multitude of political affiliations and religious beliefs, it is vital the office of head of state becomes independent.

In a New Zealand republic, the head of state's commitment to neutrality and independence will articulate the fundamental right of all Kiwis to be treated fairly and equally, both by the state, and by their fellow New Zealanders.  The person who occupies that role will have their own political allegiances and religious affiliations but they will set such matters aside in order to serve the interests of all New Zealanders.

No one will occupy the role indefinitely. By choosing a new head of state, each new term of office will nake it clear that, symbolically, all New Zealanders occupy the role. No one group will ever dominate our highest public office to the exclusion of all others. New Zealanders will all share in the office. We will all be welcome at Government House.

Our current head of state falls far short of these important democratic ideals. One family alone is eligible. One person is chosen according to birth order and the Monarch is obligated to be part of the Anglican faith. Our head of state privileges one part of our heritage and excludes all others. It gives priority and privilege to one faith.

Today, the heir to the British throne is demonstrating another reason why we must have our own head of state. By attending St Paul's Cathedral in Dunedin today the Monarchy is making it clear that they are Anglicans and that one day William will be head of the Anglican church.

For the people sitting alongside him it is no doubt an exciting and memorable day. For head of state campaigners, Christian and non-Christian alike, it is a reminder of why New Zealand deserves a secular head of state and why we ll carry on with our campaign for change.