The Herald reports:
As Prince William prepares to leave New Zealand, a poll of the Herald reader panel shows the 27-year-old in a neck-and-neck race with his father as the popular choice to succeed the Queen.
The survey – taken before the Prince’s three-day tour – found 33.3 per cent wanted Prince Charles to be the next monarch, with 30.2 per cent favouring William. But 29.4 per cent of respondents preferred a republic in the event Queen Elizabeth II died or abdicated.
The poll is a silly one, as the public don’t get any choice in who the next Monarch will be. There is no choice. There is no decision based on merit or suitability. It is based purely on the line of succession.
The Queen has made it clear she will never abdicate, and Charles has made it clear he will become King. So if NZ stays a monarchy, when might we expect Charles and William to become King?
- Queen Elizabeth II is aged 83. She is in excellent health. Her mother got to age 101, despite a rumoured high daily intake of alcohol. So we can assume QEII will make at least 100, so likely to reign until 2026.
- In 2026, Charles may become King at the age of 78. Now his father is currently aged 88 and also looks likely to reach 100, so no reason that Charles wouldn’t also – especially as they get the finest healthcare in the world. So Charles may reign until 2048.
- In 2048 Prince William would finally become King. Not as the charming young man who toured today, but as a 64 year old
This is one of the problems with a monarchy. They reign until they die.
Green list MP Keith Locke has finally had his Head of State Referenda Bill, which he has waited seven years to have pulled from the members’ ballot, selected for debate by Parliament. It is to be hoped MPs will allow it to reach a select committee, so that those who feel strongly about retaining links with the British monarchy or electing a president as head of state can have their say.
Mr Locke believes strong arguments exist 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”. Monarchists disagree. They feel respect for Prince William’s granny, a woman who has dedicated her entire life to duty, unlike some of her offspring, and great affection for Charles’ and Diana’s elder son.
Though Parliament last considered our constitutional arrangements via a select committee inquiry only in 2005, it can do no harm to discuss it again.
The select inquiry was very wide ranging. Locke’s bill would allow New Zealanders to submit on what they think the procedure should be to make a decision on monarchy vs republicanism. For ultimately it is a decision for the people, not for politicians. The job of the politicians is to agree on a process to let the people decide.
UPDATE: Hopefully both monarchists and republicans can enjoy Cactus Kate’s letter home to the Queen from Prince William. Very funny.