Keith Locke’s Head of State (Referenda) Bill was drawn from the ballot for members bills today. (Press release is here) The Bill is a simple minimalist approach to setting up a republic which sets up a referendum on whether to rename the Governor General to President, and if so, whether to directly or indirectly elect the President. It also clarifies that the Treaty of Waitangi remains in force.
Republican support has been steadily growing recently, and as I recall the last poll on the matter had about 40% support for a republic. It’s possible that this bill could actually succeed in constitutional reform if it passes.
While I don’t see any justification for National to vote against the bill given their stance on an MMP referendum, I’m not expecting any support from either National or Labour just yet. It will be interesting to see what happens here, and I don’t really think that voting to set up a referendum can hurt any political party. Of course, that’s not stopped them from being incredibly cautious on this issue before.