Monarchists not amused by poll backing republic

Queen Elizabeth II (Reuters)
Queen Elizabeth II (Reuters)

Monarchists are brushing off a new poll which suggests New Zealand is heading towards becoming a republic, instead saying it's unlikely to happen in the next 500 years.

A poll commissioned by NZ Republic and released at the weekend showed 59 percent in favour of a Kiwi head of state, whether elected directly or appointed by Parliament.

Only 34 percent preferred having a monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II.

"I'm a little sceptical of these numbers," Monarchy New Zealand's Sean Palmer told Paul Henry on Monday.

"This was a poll that was paid for and conducted by Republicans - I'm a bit surprised they didn't find 120 percent in support of a republic."

The poll was conducted by Curia Market Research, which is run by blogger David Farrar, a member of NZ Republic according to his Linkedin profile.

Its findings contrast with a Colmar Brunton poll from December last year, which almost three-quarters of Kiwis wanted to keep the Windsors.

That poll asked, 'Do you believe New Zealand should become a republic or stay as it is, with a King or Queen as head of state?' While the Curia poll asked, 'What is your preference for New Zealand's next head of state?'

"There is a problem with the nature of the question," says Dr Palmer.

"You can get a survey to generate pretty much any answer you want - 65 percent of all people know that."

He denies New Zealand will eventually ditch the monarchy, saying it's not the public will.

"Denmark's been a monarchy for 1000 years. I don't see why we would have to worry about a change anytime in the next century or two, or five."

Prime Minister John Key has previously said becoming a republic was inevitable, but he won't push for it. Labour leader Andrew Little says we should wait for Queen Elizabeth II to die before cutting ties.