Locke on his Head of State Bill

December 30th, 2009 at 3:30 pm by David Farrar

writes in the Dominion Post:

After a seven-year wait, my Head of State Referenda Bill, designed to let New Zealanders decide who should be their head of state, has finally been pulled from the members’ ballot.

I hope to win enough support in Parliament for my private member’s bill to send it through for select committee consideration.

Sadly National is voting against letting the people have a say. It may still pass though, if all the other parties support it. It would be the first time the people of NZ would be able to submit on what they think the process should be for resolving the issue of our head of state.

There are strong arguments for change, not least that we are now a confident, independent nation in the South Pacific. Having a head of state in Britain does not match who we are in the 21st century.

And our economic and trading future is with our neighbours, not Europe.

My bill provides a choice of three options – the status quo and two republican options. The most popular republican option is probably a directly elected president (selected by single transferable vote), but I have also included as an option a president selected by 75 per cent of Parliament. I wanted all the options on the table for people to debate before a vote.

If none of the three options gains 50 per cent support, the bill provides for a runoff referendum between the two leading options.

So it would probably be a run off between the status quo and the most popular republican option.

This separation of royal roles has produced an interesting constitutional dilemma for British politicians trying to change the rules of royal succession, so that they don’t give preference to male heirs. If the British Parliament made such a change, and the New Zealand Parliament did not, the king or queen of New Zealand could end up being a different person from the king or queen of Britain.

I always say that if we have to have a royal family, we should invite Princess Madeleine of Sweden to become our head of state!

Some New Zealanders worry that we might end up with the wrong person if we elect our head of state: perhaps a celebrity who doesn’t know much about politics or, at the other end of the scale, someone too politically aligned.

My view is that we can trust the people to elect a head of state acceptable to the nation, as Ireland has in election after election. Former Irish president Mary Robinson went on to do well as the UN high commissioner on human rights.

The other thing you can do is ban any current or former MP from being elected President, if one is worried about a politician being President.

At present the governor-general lacks some independence, because he or she is appointed by the Government, has to take advice from the Government, and can be sacked by the Government. An elected head of state would not be so constrained from acting in an impartial manner.

This is a key issue, that many people do not realise. The Prime Minister can sack the Governor-General at whim, and appoint a new one without approval or even consultation with anyone.

Having a NZ Head of State, would reduce the power of the Prime Minister.

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56 Responses to “Locke on his Head of State Bill”

  1. MT_Tinman (3,317 comments) says:

    If it’s Locke created I wouldn’t trust it as far as I could kick it.

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  2. thehawkreturns (124 comments) says:

    Less important is the “right of the people” to choose their Head of State.
    More important is the METHOD of choosing and DISMISSING the Head of State.

    The weakness of Republican arguments is generally the Republican assumption that the People are
    too stupid to be given a choice in these matters. DPF seems a prime example of being FOR change
    but not stating clearly WHAT change. Perhaps he can have more to blog on?

    The Royal Family is cheap and effective. We don’t waste our money every 3, 5 or 7 years electing a new one and New Zealand has never had a complete idiot or despot as Head of State (I wish I could say that for many senior MPs over the years).

    DPF and other Republicans are very likely to foist unpopular Heads of State on us who are likely to be political arse-licking time servers appointed NOT by the people but whichever Prime Minister we have at the time. Great.

    [DPF: Are you unable to read? The PM currently appoints the effective Head of State. And in a directly elected model, the people elect the President. Again are you unable to read English or just unable to understand big words?

    And even if one has 75% of Parliament appoint the Head of State (which is far better than the PM doing it unilaterally) that will ensure someone appointed is broadly acceptable, and hence most unlikely to be a partisan appointment]

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  3. Elijah Lineberry (306 comments) says:

    Oh well done the National party!

    Anything this Communist idiot Locke suggests is a bad idea; no judging on merit, no ifs, no buts – just oppose automatically, end of.

    Republicanism is just ‘jolly hockeysticks’ childishness in my opinion, something for people to impress their friends with – “look how radical and with it I am – I am a republican” (incredibly ‘wet’ people acting rather like Rik from the Young Ones); in reality there is nothing wrong with the Queen as Head of State and she does a good job.

    Perhaps if republicans put as much time into fighting for personal freedoms and reducing the power of the State to interfere in the lives of New Zealanders we would be all much better off.

    http://www.nightcitytrader.blogspot.com

    [DPF: It is hilarious when people like you try to assume why people support something. You come across as a Colonel Blimp insisting it is a passing phase. I imagine that it because you are intellectually incapable of actually debating the issues intelligently.

    Why don’t you try debating why you think the Prime Minister unilaterally appointing the Governor-General is a good idea?]

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  4. Brian Harmer (687 comments) says:

    It makes me uncomfortable to admit it, but like MT_T I would usually think that if Locke is for it, there must be a a massive downside somewhere.

    [DPF: So you supported George W Bush’s invasion of Iraq also on that basis?]

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  5. redqueen (596 comments) says:

    The simplest point is that the monarchy works and is cheap. Beyond that: ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ applies. No argument is ever put forward as to why the current system needs such a drastic overhaul. Yes, it’s about ‘creating a new identity’ or ‘showing who we really are’, but has anyone asked the simple question: who cares? Monarchy provides a nice, stable, system and it’s only politicians, or politicos, who seem to care. The average person, from my experience, doesn’t care one way or another about whether we have a president or a Queen. Yet politicians seem hellbent on ‘making the issue’ out to be ‘important’. That alone, that nobody else cares, should be a serious reason to object. Well, that and that Peter Dunne agrees :)

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  6. Barnsley Bill (848 comments) says:

    Here we go. David’s annual campaign for change begins. I hope that all of you realise that any change will see Helen Clark back as our first president.
    Do we really want that woman back and on the payroll again?
    Think it will not happen? Think national would never appoint this woman? idiots. Who supported her for the UNDP job? Who gave Cullen a massive retirement job in return for looting the public purse and buying railways back?

    Have a look at the front page of the papers over the next few days and see what John key is prepared to do for the woman that has mortgaged our grandchildren with national debt. A woman who managed the theft of the 2005 election and then oversaw a back-dated law change to avoid being called on it. A woman who managed a team that lied in PREFU prior to the 2008 election. And a woman who made fundamental changes to birthing in this country effectively removing GP’s participation in childbirth and all because socialist girlpower wanted the midwives in charge of the loot. How many dead babies would preclude somebody from becoming our first president? 50? 100? 500?

    [DPF: At the moment John Key could appoint Helen Clark Governor-General unilaterally.

    Under my preferred model for a Head of State, no current or former MP would be eligible to be President. So Helen could never be President.

    So any other objections?]

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  7. Elijah Lineberry (306 comments) says:

    Ummmmm….David, fine, I shall happily debate the matter with you.

    The reason the National party opposes this, and the reason the PM appoints the Governor General is….(wait for it)…because it is National party policy ;)

    http://www.nightcitytrader.blogspot.com

    [DPF: So you are unable to debate it. Thought so]

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  8. Nicholas O'Kane (147 comments) says:

    “Sadly National is voting against letting the people have a say”
    Where did you find this out? Also, when is it likely to be voted on?

    [DPF: They decided a few weeks back. The bill is delayed until next year]

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  9. dimmocrazy (286 comments) says:

    The problem I have with all these woolly ideas is that they lack the most important and truly relevant aspect, namely the creation of a proper constitution that regulates and RESTRICTS the power of this head of state (together with a proper organization and LIMITATION of the other branches of government). I say let’s introduce a referendum to get a proper constitution instead of the easily abusable (and regularly abused) ragtag of bits and pieces we have now.

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  10. andrei (2,653 comments) says:

    There are strong arguments for change, not least that we are now a confident, independent nation in the South Pacific. Having a head of state in Britain does not match who we are in the 21st century.

    What planet is Keith Locke from? And who are “we in the twenty-first century”?

    Are we really independent? According to Keith Locke and his fellow travellers we have to screw up our economy just to appease the EU Commissars who will punish us by banning our butter or something if we do not toe their party line – and we have started to do this which doesn’t sound either confident or independent to me.

    Nah all this is just left wing conditioned reflexes at play.

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  11. side show bob (3,410 comments) says:

    This post is such a disappointment, I thought it was about “Locke, on his head on a stake bill”

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  12. tautokai.baxter (162 comments) says:

    Its a great bill. I agree with David. Its mad to dislike any idea that someone you don’t trust supports. If Keith Locke changed to support your views, would you change your own? National are showing a severe lack of leadership in voting down this bill. I hope some of the National MP’s vote against the party line and support the bill (like many will want to). And also unfortunatley I think National will be able to convince the majority of the Maori Party to oppose it. Hone would support it, and so might Te Ururoa.

    National should at least let it go to select committee for further consideration. The republicans in their party should be ashamed, and continue to lobby them to support it.

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  13. Pete George (23,798 comments) says:

    MT_Tinman : If it’s Locke created I wouldn’t trust it as far as I could kick it.

    This is pathetic, but not surprising as it seems to happen here a lot. People jump to conclusions based on who presents ideas rather than the merits of the ideas.

    In this case Locke appears to be suggesting letting the people decide how they want their democracy. Sounds democratic.

    And the knockers jump in against even checking if change is wanted or not. Anti democracy conditioned reflexes.

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  14. thehawkreturns (124 comments) says:

    [DPF: Are you unable to read? The PM currently appoints the effective Head of State. And in a directly elected model, the people elect the President. Again are you unable to read English or just unable to understand big words?

    Oh yes I can read big words and I’ll wager my qualifications and IQ against yours any day for that matter.
    You appear angry and unable to answer my points. I think you have therefore supported my argument far more eloquently that I could have imagined. Indeed, by stating so strongly that the PM currently appoints the Head of State are you not defining New Zealand as a Republic? OOOO ERRRR. I do hope you can follow this line of reasoning old chap, it is yours after all.

    [DPF:You claim to be intelligent, but fail to display it. You don’t even address my point of the current method of appointment of the GG. You also think we are as stupid as you and don’t realise you missed out the word “effective” I used. So basically you are still running or a zero score.

    You claim the Royal Family is cheap, implying a NZ Head of State would not be. Now please explain in small words how a NZ President would cost more than a NZ Governor-General?

    You say the cost of electing a Head of State would be a lot. But that is an argument against an elected Head of State model, not against having a NZ Head of State appointed by super-majority of Prlt.]

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  15. radvad (736 comments) says:

    I have no problem with becoming a republic as such although the “if its not broke, don’t mess with it” argument certainly applies here.

    I do however have problem when people like Locke claim that we are all grown up and mature now when at the same time they bow and scrape to every whim of the UN.

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  16. Barnsley Bill (848 comments) says:

    David, there is a world of difference between appointing some anonymous Indian or auntie cath to the GG job and unleashing Clark the political animal back on an unsuspecting kiwi public.
    You know that, but obviously your republicanism over rides any concerns you may have about allowing the beast to return.
    And a non politico President?? WTF. Who do you suggest might be suitable? Judy Bailey? A plagiarist maori author, Sean Fitzpatrick uttering rugby cliches? Or perhaps Jason Gunn?
    Your faux naiviety is insulting.

    [DPF: I would say that the last two or three GGs would also have been fine Presidents. Really all you are doing is cutting out the rubber stamp from England, and specifying how the appointment shall be made (rather than sole discretion of PM]

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  17. Charlie Tan (128 comments) says:

    >a proper constitution

    I personally think constitutions don’t work very well in parliamentary democracies like ours. Australia and Canada have them, and they are hardly a very accurate representation of their political system. Japan has one, created by the idealistic Americans no less, but the contradiction between a Diet which is the sole organ of state power and a supreme court which supposedly can rule laws unconstitutional has created an awful mess. There are others that seem to work fine, but in my mind you would probably need to overhaul the system completely…

    And that’s why I don’t like the concept of an elected HoS. The fact that somebody is elected gives them political legitimacy, yes, but that legitimacy may well give them the idea that it is their station to actually do something with it. Like dissolve parliaments. Then we would need a constitution to limit the powers of the HoS. I’d rather avoid that.

    Our non-constitutional model is much more dynamic, and can respond to new political circumstances rather flexibly. Anyone for a minister outside of cabinet?

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  18. big bruv (14,217 comments) says:

    Dear Keith;

    Piss off!

    I am happy as it is thanks very much.

    Bruv.

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  19. Inventory2 (9,380 comments) says:

    @ Barnsley Bill – Jason Gunn? Now there’s a thought! It’s not as if he’s burdened with televison commitments now that Dancing With the B-List Celebrities has been canned ;-)

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  20. reid (16,700 comments) says:

    DPF, on this thread you’ve already made an exceptional number of personal comments by your own standards but not one against the best counter-argument made: that of redqueen’s 3:47.

    To which I add the obvious. The expense of adding another layer of bureaucracy in establishing a Presidency with all that entails including not just salaries and lifetime retirement benefits but also an entirely separate administration with support staff would be approx how much and what precisely would it offer in addition to what we already enjoy in any terms? Constitutional protection, quality of decision making, value for money, additional efficiency of democratic process, etc.

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  21. Rex Widerstrom (5,013 comments) says:

    Republicanism is one of those “I’ve got more important issues to think about” topics for me.

    But any party which opposes a constitutional Bill at First Reading, thus denying MPs in Select Committee and the public the opportunity to debate the merits of the proposal is by definition anti-democratic.

    Why is it that this is the only issue on which Key chooses to develop a spine and stick to “policy”? Weren’t tax cuts also “policy”?

    Or is he, like John Howard, in the habit of making “core” and “non core promises” (i.e. those he has no intention of keeping, aka lies)?

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  22. s.russell (1,649 comments) says:

    New Zealand already is a republic for all practical purposes. We are a monarchy in name only. As such I would be happy to match the symbolism to the reality and have NZ become a republic in name as well as fact. For the same reason, I do not regard this as tremendously important.

    On the other hand, having an elected head of state would be a constitutional change of real significance. It would change the dynamic of power. Even if you banned current or former MPs from seeking the presidency (and I dislike removing voters freedom of choice like this) you would still get a politician as head of state every time – by definition. If you stand for election that makes you a politician.

    So I prefer the HoS being appointed by a 75% majority of Parliament – a procedure that would virtually guarantee we continue to get the kind of respectable and broadly acceptable people we get now.

    PS Why does the Hos have to be a “President”? Just call them the Governor General. Saves on reprinting stationery.

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  23. MikeNZ (3,233 comments) says:

    There are strong arguments for change, not least that we are now a confident, independent nation in the South Pacific. Having a head of state in Britain does not match who we are in the 21st century.

    Bullshit.
    What doesn’t he and other tits like him understand about 80%?
    I wouldn’t trust any of the present 120 who voted to make me a criminal with my dirty washing and that especially includes Neville Key.

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  24. Southern Raider (1,777 comments) says:

    Suggest there is much bigger priorities.

    I can’t see how the increased costs can be justified against little or no benefit,

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  25. Pete George (23,798 comments) says:

    I don’t think we have grown up as a nation yet for this. But it certainly should be able to be explored to determine whether it is what people want or not.

    I suspect National won’t back it so they don’t upset some of their constituency for little real gain ie they have selfish interests. Nothing new in that.

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  26. dad4justice (6,594 comments) says:

    Question from a confused bro ; will the new head of state speak Maori or English?

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  27. JamesP (73 comments) says:

    Have I missed some constitutional crisis during my Christmas holiday? Is one impending? Can anyone explain why we should rush to dump a system that has worked perfectly well for 170 years and risk stuffing it up?

    Despite what Keith says the three choices (really only two since there is no way the public will ever let MPs choose in their stead) do not “put all the options on the table”. It is a false choice. While I’m sure NZ will become a republic eventually I’ll be buggered if I let someone like Keith set the parameters on how it happens.

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  28. reid (16,700 comments) says:

    “New Zealand already is a republic for all practical purposes. We are a monarchy in name only.”

    Yes, if you call the present form of rule by law a formality.

    Republicanism entails a total re-write of our form of democratic decision-making.

    That is not a mere formality.

    The only cogent argument Republicans have presented is that we should be a mouse that roars. The irony is that this was precisely the only argument for nuclear-free and getting rid of the Privy Council. All the arguments are frankly nothing more than emotive bullshit and those who argue Republicanism is a good idea in 2009 should be challenged on the cost/benefit equation and take note of the negative consequences ensuing from the latter two.

    Maybe that equation will change in the future. It hasn’t yet, in any of those three cases.

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  29. Ericthetinman (5 comments) says:

    It is really odd to diss an idea just because you don’t like the politics of the person promoting it.
    I think one of the advantages of moving to a republic would finally putting the treaty to rest and drafting a new New zealand constitution where every one has the same rights and benefits. We could also get rid of our ridiculous flag.
    At least send the bill to select committee

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  30. reid (16,700 comments) says:

    “It is really odd to diss an idea just because you don’t like the politics of the person promoting it.”

    Eric, just because you’re dissing an idea doesn’t mean you’re doing it simply because you don’t like the politics of the man promoting it.

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  31. Manolo (14,169 comments) says:

    “Question from a confused bro ; will the new head of state speak Maori or English?”

    Neither of those. If up to Locke, NZ head of state would speak either Korean with a northern accent or unmistakeable Cuban Spanish.

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  32. kowtow (8,938 comments) says:

    Yes being a 21st century Pacific nation we should be like our neighbours whom we trade with…….like Australia…..Canada…..Cook Islands……Niue…..Solomon Islands…….Papua New Guinea…..

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  33. reid (16,700 comments) says:

    NZPA Press Release: Embargo till midnight 7 Feb 2015

    NZ today announced plans to implement a Republican style of government. Despite the results of numerous referenda indicating strongly that the current system was working just fine thanks very much; the NZ govt under heavy pressure from the UN’s General Secretary Hulun Clerk and the National People’s Republic of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland headed by the former EU President Tony Bliar, bowed to economic and political pressure and abrogated NZ’s national sovereignty.

    The PM of NZ had no comment for we didn’t ask him/her what they thought. His Royal Highness Prince William Arthur Philip Louis of Wales, Royal Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter however, said he wished NZ good luck. P.S; he said: The NZ Natives were really quite annoyed, apparently, they thought they had a relationship with Queen Victoria. How peculiar.

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  34. JamesP (73 comments) says:

    Eric – It’s not his politics per se. Although having Keith as the salesman will make the monarchists happy. Residing on the edge of one of parliament’s extreme parties he is one of the worst candidates to push something deserving bipartisan support. It’s the fact that he’s an activist and always has been. I simply don’t trust him to promote something like this without also pursuing a political agenda.

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  35. Brian Harmer (687 comments) says:

    # Brian Harmer (380) Says:
    December 30th, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    It makes me uncomfortable to admit it, but like MT_T I would usually think that if Locke is for it, there must be a a massive downside somewhere.

    [DPF: So you supported George W Bush’s invasion of Iraq also on that basis?]

    There are exceptions to every rule, David.

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  36. eszett (2,450 comments) says:

    Eric, just because you’re dissing an idea doesn’t mean you’re doing it simply because you don’t like the politics of the man promoting it.

    Well some people here are doing just that here:

    MT_Tinman (559) Says:
    December 30th, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    If it’s Locke created I wouldn’t trust it as far as I could kick it.

    Elijah Lineberry (282) Says:
    December 30th, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    Anything this Communist idiot Locke suggests is a bad idea; no judging on merit, no ifs, no buts – just oppose automatically, end of.

    I can’t understand why people are so fixated on who promotes a bill in the first place. It can only become law if a majority of the parliament supports it. By that it becomes a law of the majority of representatives.

    What harm can be done if this goes to select committee. At least there would be a public discussion on this topic. It’s long overdue.

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  37. reid (16,700 comments) says:

    “I can’t understand why people are so fixated on who promotes a bill in the first place.”

    eszett, certain people have promoted the Republican agenda over many years and some of those constantly bring it up whenever the merest opportunity arises. These people include DPF, Bolger and Clark. The fact such diverse people promote it should tell you this is a lot more important than merely “who promotes a bill.”

    I suggest you educate yourself on the exigencies.

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  38. Put it away (2,872 comments) says:

    Someone who thought Pol Pot was the bee’s knees is offering his wit and wisdom on the role of head of state ?

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  39. Michael E (251 comments) says:

    I support keeping the British Monarchy, but if NZ wants to be a Republic as long as the process is robust I wouldn’t be too disappointed. I would expect a slight super majority would be required to change (say 55%). However, the biggest stumbling block to a replublic isn’t deciding on the head of state, it’s getting everyone to agree to all the new constitutional arrangements required.

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  40. eszett (2,450 comments) says:

    So what is your point, reid?
    Some people have ideas and promote them with arguements and put them out for discussion?

    The republican agenda, as you call it, has merit, regardless where you stand on the argument. Whether we adopt it as a nation should be up to a national debate. What’s wrong with instigating that.

    If you think that status quo has such a great advantage and support in the population, why do you fear such a discussion in a select committee?

    I on the other hand believe that the status quo is an anachronism and a confident and independent nation should have it’s own heqad of state. New Zealand (and every nation) is ever changing and there is no harm in reconsidering the status quo to fit with reality.

    Whether we become a republic or not is about how we see ourselves as a nation.

    At least we should have the discussion whether we becomes a republic or not and not dismiss it it from the start just because a ceratin person promotes it.

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  41. Gooner (919 comments) says:

    Simply because Keith Locke proposes it doesn’t make it a bad idea. Most are bad ideas but this one deserves discussion. Some of you here cannot see past the end of your imperialist nose.

    James P asks:

    Have I missed some constitutional crisis during my Christmas holiday? Is one impending? Can anyone explain why we should rush to dump a system that has worked perfectly well for 170 years and risk stuffing it up?

    Not during your holidays you haven’t, but do the words Electoral Finance Act ring any bells?

    Any bill that democratically limits the power of the Prime Minister has to be considered.

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  42. PaulL (5,449 comments) says:

    What would a president actually do? I find it a bit pointless to discuss how we select one without talking about what it is that they would do for us.

    [DPF: Much the same as the GG]

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  43. Bruce Hamilton (60 comments) says:

    Just curious. not disputing. When did the PM ( or Cabinet ) get the power to “appoint” the GG, rather than nominate/recommend?. Also, when were the reserve powers extinguished?. I’ve been looking forward to a MAD scenario for decades.

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  44. PaulL (5,449 comments) says:

    DPF: why? If we’re going to have a head of state, why wouldn’t they do something useful? I mean, if we’re really just talking a celebrity type person who can open a few schools, and represent us in some minor international events……then why? And, really, if that’s all they do, I couldn’t give a rats whether we elect them, have them picked by parliament, have some geek from England – why would we care?

    [DPF: Well even for the current stuff, I’d rather have a Kiwi do it. Personally I would like the role to be given some reserve powers – such as the ability to refer to a referendum any law that breaches the Bill of Rights Act]

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  45. DRHILL (121 comments) says:

    Unlike Keith “Human Sheild” Locke, I’m OK with remembering our past and heritage. There has been no public outcry from NZlanders about the need to become a republic.
    Also, the amount of money to transfer to republic would probably not justify it.

    I think there’s more chance of NZ and Australia having a single currency then this mess happening.

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  46. cha (4,139 comments) says:

    My grandfather was on the council of a Taranaki town when QE2 visited in 1954 and according to family lore grandma refused to attend the reception and was reputed to have said,” that woman and her family have had two of my sons so I’ll be buggered if I’m going to curtsy to the bitch”. Good enough for me.

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  47. Stuart Mackey (336 comments) says:

    The problem I have with all these woolly ideas is that they lack the most important and truly relevant aspect, namely the creation of a proper constitution that regulates and RESTRICTS the power of this head of state (together with a proper organization and LIMITATION of the other branches of government). I say let’s introduce a referendum to get a proper constitution instead of the easily abusable (and regularly abused) ragtag of bits and pieces we have now”

    *******************

    I think that this is truly the issue, not who is Head of State and the nature of their office. I would contend that, given the nature of our governing practices that a full written constitution would be unnecessary and fraught with the possibilities of very bitter acrimony over such things as any issue concerning race/ Treaty of Waitangi.
    I would submit that NZ does need a basic law, by which all Bills and laws must be measured and where appropriate, rejected. Such a law need only contain those rights that are the very foundation of a free nation, freedom of speech, of association, freedom of and from religion, equality of gender etc. These things must be beyond the power of those who govern, and free from the minor detail that can so easily undermine them.

    I feel that the issue of Monarchy or Republic is not one that should ever be entrusted to politicians, regardless of their political hue, our head of state is far too important to be left to whim of the very people who actually govern us and may stand to personally gain by it.
    Monarchy or Republic, the choice of either must be ‘Of the people, By the people and For the people’, and this bill does not do that great principle justice, the partiality of politicians guarantees that.
    This is an issue that must truly be left to the people, when we are ready as a nation for any such change and not foisted on us from above to suit the personal aspirations of the few; it must be the public who choose if and when, not those who seek to gain power over us.

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  48. KiwiGreg (3,278 comments) says:

    It’s a half-arsed solution to something that I dont think everyone agrees is a problem (a bit like the ETS really). If we are going to have a serious debate about constitutional reform, I’m all for it but that is a far bigger and deeper subject.

    “I would say that the last two or three GGs would also have been fine Presidents”

    You jest surely?

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  49. KiwiGreg (3,278 comments) says:

    “I would contend that, given the nature of our governing practices that a full written constitution would be unnecessary and fraught with the possibilities of very bitter acrimony over such things as any issue concerning race/ Treaty of Waitangi.”

    If we are really going to “grow up” as a nation it’s exactly this debate we need to have,

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  50. Stuart Mackey (336 comments) says:

    KiwiGreg (834) Says:
    December 31st, 2009 at 9:58 am

    If we are really going to “grow up” as a nation it’s exactly this debate we need to have,”
    **********************************
    Never said we couldn’t or shouldn’t, I just don’t think we need a written constitution in the sense that Australia or the Canadians do. I do say that our fundamental rights need to be beyond the reach of politicians and I would suggest that those rights cover most of not all situations, for example any law that purports to grant one group greater rights on the basis of religion.

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  51. Stuart Mackey (336 comments) says:

    Happy Henry (2) Says:
    December 31st, 2009 at 1:08 pm
    I have to ask Stuart, did we not have a fairly decent constitution prior to the axing of it by Geoffrey Palmer 20 odd years ago?And isn’t ironic that the same Geoffrey Palmer who incidentally has touted the Republican Flag (in tandem with Aunty Helen’s Communist flag) prior to doing so ….and who now bears the trinkets and baubles of Monarchism
    *******************************

    This is exactly why the subject of Monarchy or Republic, should never be one that politicians should be part of, they stand to gain far too much from it. Its also exactly why our basic rights must be beyond the reach or those that govern, the fact that Palmer could do as he did with out so much as a ‘by your leave’ is shocking.

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  52. Gooner (919 comments) says:

    Kiwi Greg said:

    If we are really going to “grow up” as a nation it’s exactly this debate we need to have.

    Absolutely.

    And I say again, only three words are needed as evidence: Electoral. Finance. Act.

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