Key: NZ becoming a republic 'inevitable'

  • 07/04/2014

Prime Minister John Key believes it is inevitable New Zealand will become a republic, but the timeline for it has been pushed out because of the growing popularity of the royal family.

Mr Key told reporters yesterday there's been resurgence in the desire for the country to remain a constitutional monarchy partly because of the popularity of the young royals.

He believes it's also because New Zealanders have respect for Queen Elizabeth II.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived in New Zealand for their nine day tour, but are taking a rest day today.

Mr Key says he once said opting out of a constitutional monarchy would happen one day.

"I think in my heart of hearts it probably is inevitable it will happen, but the time frame has moved considerably further out."

But it might not mean much of a change in the duties of the New Zealand head of state.

"If it was a direct switch it would go from the Government of the day appointing a Governor-General to be the Queen's representative to, one assumes, New Zealander's voting for a president, [who] had the same powers as Governor-General, not a hell of a lot would change," he says.

However, Mr Key, a personal supporter of the monarchy, does not think the same position can be applied to the consideration of a flag change.

Mr Key had earlier described the flag as currently "symbolising a colonial and post-colonial era whose time has passed" and called the possible change the "next step in the evolution of New Zealand".

Yesterday Mr Key said the flag is about national identity and unity for a small country which is increasingly on the world stage and runs an independent foreign policy.

He will most likely raise the flag change idea with the Duke and Duchess at a dinner during their tour of New Zealand, but says they will be "extremely comfortable" with the idea.

"I've had those sorts of discussions with them before and I'm telling you now the response will be the same, which will be: 'In the end that's a matter for New Zealanders'".

Mr Key says he won't "be a barnacle attached to [William and Kate]" during their time in New Zealand, and will have a number of engagements with them including a trip to Blenheim and Cambridge, as well as a one-on-one meeting.

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source: newshub archive