American Republic or New Zealand Republic?

Every republic and every country is different and the best way forward for New Zealand is a New Zealand-style 'parliamentary republic'. This involves taking what we have and making it better. Building on the work of past New Zealanders to maintain stability and increase democracy.

A foreign UK head of state is no longer needed and we can transition the current role of Governor-General into a democratically selected, properly independent office. The current reserve powers and responsibilities would remain much the same but would be set-out clearly in legislation.  An MMP parliament would remain responsible for governing the country and the Head of State role would continue to play both a symbolic and diplomatic role. The office will symbolise the continuity of the state over and above the government of the day and no one would be in any doubt that New Zealand was a sovereign and independent nation in the South Pacific. The Treaty will remain and we will still be an important member of the Commonwealth with strong ties to the UK.

By contrast the United States is a vast presidential republic with an Executive Head of State who has the power to effect legislative change throughout all American territories and possessions. Clearly this is not the way forward for New Zealand. The Republican Party in the USA is trying to work out what it really stands for and there are a multitude of people throughout the USA working to reform the whole way their political system works.

So, don't let anyone point at Donald Trump, Ted Cruze or Hillary Clinton and claim that is what New Zealand will end up like. We are not the United States and no one in New Zealand wants to emulate the American political system. New Zealand is unique and our republic will be defined by the needs of contemporary New Zealand not by someone's vague idea of what a republican is.

It is all about doing what is best for Kiwis and doing things our own way.   






Queen Elizabeth is not a Treaty Partner

Te Tiriti o Waitangi is not an historical agreement between the British and Maori. It is a contemporary agreement between Iwi and all other New Zealanders. Having a New Zealander as Head of State will make this clear and will help all Kiwis to appreciate that the Treaty of Waitangi is something only New Zealanders understand. 

In 1839, the War and Colonial Office of the British Government under Colonial Secretary Lord Normanby and Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, ordered Captain William Hobson, Lieutenant Governor of New South Wales, to arrange a Treaty with Maori so that New Zealand could be incorporated into the British Empire.

The Treaty was necessary because the British had already recognised the Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes in 1835. The Treaty was drawn up in the name of Queen Victoria, hastily translated, and on February 6th 1840 it was first signed at Waitangi.  Hobson later travelled around New Zealand signing up more Iwi. Queen Victoria did not sign it of course. She was busy getting ready to marry her cousin Albert, four days later in London.

Nga Puhi kaumatua Kingi Taurua is a descendant of signatories to both the Declaration of Indeopendence and the Treaty. He is also against the TPPA and this week he wrote to each country involved in the agreement and to Queen Elizabeth as "Protector" and "Treaty Partner" asking her to stand in opposition to the TPPA.

It is understandable that Kingi Taurua has made this mistake. The Treaty was signed in the name of Queen Victoria. Elizabeth is her decendant by birth and that symbolises the 176 years that have elapsed since 1840. Unfortunately that symbolism is out of date.

In 1840, Queen Victoria was a 20 year old Monarch under the direction and tutelage of the Prime Minister of the day. She was a symbolic representative of British imperial power. The Treaty was really all about the British Parliament, the British Aristocracy and their designs for New Zealand. Since then, all of the power of 'The Crown' as Treaty partner has shifted to the New Zealand Parliament and to New Zealand courts, and it has been New Zealanders who have done the hard yards to settle disputes and make amends for past injustices. The Treaty belongs to all New Zealanders and it is time this was made clear.

Our Head of State arrangements are out of date and this becomes very apparent every time someone writes to the Queen asking her to stop Parliament from passing legislation. All of the Monarch's powers are vested in the New Zealand Governor-General and the Governor-General acts on the advice of the Cabinet. So long as party or a coalition has a majority in the house they are entitled to sign such agreements. That is how our democracy works.

TPPA opponents presented a petition at Government House asking Sir Jerry Mateparae to refuse assent to the TPPA legislation and they will no doubt do it again when his successor is on office. They know such petitions do not succeed.  Their act is symbolic and expresses their concern over the possible loss of sovereignty.  It creates publicity and signals to the public that there is an issue to be discussed. If they want a Head of State with the discretion to refuse legislation then they will need to campaign for that and specify under what criteria that would ever occur.

It is at times like this, on Waitangi Day, when issues like the TPPA are a topic for intense protest and debate, that it becomes ever more obvious that we need to clarify who our Head of State is and what their powers are. The best way to do that is appoint a Head of State Commission and make plans to transition to a Kiwi Head of State.

We are looking forward to the day when New Zealand's first democratic Head of State, appointed by merit, and representative of all New Zealanders, will be welcomed at Waitangi in celebration of our history and our journey together as a nation. New Zealanders deserve to have a New Zealander as Head of State. Kia mana motuhake o Aotearoa.




Start planning for a Kiwi Head of State now

In Australia, the debate between Bill Shorten and Malcolm Turnball is not whether to become a republic it is when to make the change. It is a common debate among Head of State campaigners here as well. Some say wait until Queen Elizabeth's reign ends. Others say move ahead now.

Our position is very clear. New Zealand deserves a better Head of State and there is no reason to wait. Our campaign for change is not based on the personality of the Monarch. New Zealand's Head of State needs to be a New Zealander.

We do not advocate acting in haste. It is going to take several years to make careful plans hold referendums, and transition the office of Governor-General. As the flag process demonstrates, there is nothing to be gained from rushing the process forward.  

Waiting for someone to die or become infirmed is no way to choose our next Head of State and it is not the best way to enact important constitutional reform. Far better to just move ahead and make the change when New Zealanders are ready to do so. Whoever is on the throne at the time is welcome to visit and be part of the hand-over ceremony.

The British royal family hold power because their inherited it. None of them were appointed because of merit and the whole hereditary, aristocratic way in which they operate is antithetical to the core values of New Zealand society. It is up to voters in the UK to decide whether they want to keep the Monarchy. Here in New Zealand we know there is a better and fairer way to appoint our Head of State.  Kia mana motuhake a Aotearoa.     


The flag debate will be over and the decision will be made. The Prime Minister will appoint a new Governor-General, yet more 'royal honours' will be given out and Prince Charles will come under more pressure in the UK to explain his political lobbying. Taxpayers will have to subsidise another royal publicity tour and through-out it all we will carry on campaigning for an independent Head of State and a republic all New Zealanders can be proud of.

New Zealanders deserve the best and as an organisation we are determined to deliver to the best of our ability. Happy New Year everyone Join us in making 2016 a year to remember.