It’s pleasing to see more academic research on the changes required for a transition to a republic. There’s been a fair amount of work done already, and most recently a very good book called This Realm of New Zealand by Alison Quentin-Baxter and Janet Maclean further explored the issues of what happens with The Crown, the Treaty and the Governor-General with a transition to a republic.
All of this work means that the issues are getting a lot of ongoing attention to smooth the transition. The Treaty of Waitangi - Te Tiriti o Waitangi is the most obvious and prominent issue to be tackled. Meanwhile, Victoria University of Wellington’s summer research scholarships for 2018/2019 includes a scholarship for a “Blueprint” for a “minimalist” republic:
Whether New Zealand should become a republic is one of the long-standing constitutional issues facing our country. This project investigates some of the legislative changes that would be necessary to transition from a constitutional monarchy to an independent state (republic), especially when undertaken with minimal constitutional change. It involves a mix of research through existing scholarship, collation and drafting of possible legislative text, explanation of legislative provisions, and general report writing.
The scholarship is supervised by none other than Dr Dean Knight, who is constitutional adviser to New Zealand Republic.
We’re looking forward to what comes from this summer scholarship. It’s been almost 10 years since Keith Locke’s Head of State (Referenda) Bill, which had a number of issues that needed to be ironed out. There’s also the question of process, given our experience with the flag referenda of 2015-16.