We have written to all 121 MPs about the out-dated Oath (or Affirmation) of Allegiance they will be asked to say at today's Commission Opening of Parliament. Here is what we said:
October 15th 2014
The Rt. Hon. John Key MP for Helensville Parliament Buildings Private Bag 18041 WELLINGTON 6160
Dear Prime Minister
Congratulations on being re-elected to Parliament. When you take the Oath of Allegiance at the opening on Monday you will be asked to “bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her heirs and successors”.
Standing Orders now state that if you do not say the oath or affirmation correctly you must withdraw immediately and may not sit or vote in the House until you have done so.
As you repeat the oath please think about how appropriate it is that New Zealanders, elected in New Zealand by the people of New Zealand, are standing up in the House and swearing allegiance to another country’s head of state.
Repeating an oath that many members do not believe in and do not feel comfortable saying is an obvious problem. The current oath is clearly out of date and it is time for New Zealand to have a better oath and its own head of state.
The Governor-General already carries out the functions of a head of state so it makes sense to recognise that reality and accord the office the respect it deserves. We have put together some straight-forward plans on how New Zealand can achieve an independent and democratically selected head of state.
I have included an updated copy of our plans for you to read. Please talk to MPs on all sides of the House about how these changes can be enacted and how you can work together to ensure New Zealand has the best possible head of state.
Please raise this issue in the House when you next speak. A New Zealand head of state is an inevitable step in New Zealand’s long journey to full independence. It aims to achieve what is best for all New Zealanders.
It will take time to make these changes so best to start sooner rather than later.
Chairman, New Zealand Republic