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King Charles of New Zealand?
MEDIA RELEASE: 20 December 2007
Tomorrow, Queen Elizabeth II becomes the oldest British monarch in history, surpassing Queen Victoria's age of 81 years, 8 months. "Regardless of how we feel about the Queen's merits it is only a matter of time before we are forced to accept Prince Charles as our head of state. The changeover could happen tomorrow. The Republican Movement believes that unless we start moving towards a republic now, we have to accept that reality" said Lewis Holden, chair of the Republican Movement of Aotearoa New Zealand.
The last 81 years of the Queen's life have seen immense changes in our relationship with Britain. When the Queen was born in 1926 the "sun never set" on the British Empire. It ruled over half a billion people in all continents. By the time she was crowned Queen in 1952, the Commonwealth of Nations was in its infancy, and included a number of newly-independent members, many of whom - such as India - were republics.
"Today, a majority of the Commonwealth's 52 members are republics, and republican sentiment is on the increase in Commonwealth members where the Queen is still head of state. Australia last month elected a pro-republic Prime Minister, who may call a new republic referendum in the next three years. Polls in Canada show a majority support a Canadian republic, and Britain and New Zealand record significant support for a republic also. Meanwhile in the Caribbean, Barbados has announced it will have a republic referendum in 2008, while Jamaica recently elected a government with an explicit policy of making a republic" said Mr Holden.
"The time for New Zealand to start working towards a republic is now. We can't put off a serious debate on the issue forever" concluded Mr Holden.