To Republic or not to Republic

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.

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5 thoughts on “To Republic or not to Republic

  1. Simon Bridges said on Breakfast this morning that the issue is a “distraction” – that could very well be the argument used by the government. However, the referendum itself could be differed.

  2. Distraction from what, exactly? The only thing they seem to be doing is cutting funding to things. I’m perfectly happy for the government to be distracted from that. 😉

    “Distraction” to me just means Simon thinks there’s higher priorities. (I have higher priorities too, but it’s not like this Bill will need any amendment to work, so it’s a matter of taking the time to think about which way to vote) That’s fine, people disagree about priorities in a democracy all the time.

    But the bill is drawn, so it’s a massive waste of time for everyone if we treat it as a distraction and don’t actually debate whether this is a useful reform. It’s the old “it’s not the right time” argument back in drag. 🙂

  3. It’s the old “it’s not the right time” argument back in drag.

    That’s the “I’m gutless and there are old men at the RSA who will get grumpy at me” argument. Always the fallback of cowards.

  4. Pingback: A waste of time « g.blog

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