Calls for NZ to become a republic grow louder amid Prince Harry and Meghan Markle scandal

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's decision to step back from royal duties has renewed calls for New Zealand to become a republic.  

The New Zealand Republic Organisation (NZRO), a campaign group dedicated to bringing independence to New Zealand, says the recent controversy is a good reason to bring discussions to the forefront.  

"We're just seeing scandals now with Prince Andrew and this whole thing with Meghan and Harry," said NZRO chair Lewis Holden on Tuesday.

In November last year, Prince Andrew stepped down from royal duties due to his involvement with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Last week The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced they would "work to become financially independent," - a decision which has sparked controversy amongst the Royals and across the world.

"I think most people look at it [the royal family] and go 'well this is an interesting soap opera, but does it actually have any relevance to us?' No, not at all," Holden told Magic Talk. 

He says the movement has "a lot of support" from Labour and Greens - but with the upcoming election, it's time to start pushing for change.

"What we've been pushing within Government and the opposition is the need to have a plan," 

"Our plan is to put in place an appointment process for the governor-general. Then a referendum, and then you would have the sorting out of the constitutional issues, which is what happens with the crown and what the treaty means."

"You do these three things and then you're a republic."

Holden says if New Zealand did become a republic, the effect wouldn't be particularly noticeable.

"In a practical sense - we would have a head of state to send overseas. In terms of everyone's daily lives, the sun will still shine and the birds will still sing." 

But Holden says the time to think about divorcing the monarchy is drawing closer.

"The issue will keep coming up. The queen is now 93-years-old, the issue will be pushed to the forefront whether politicians like it or not."