A Green Party attempt to initiate a debate about having an elected head of state in New Zealand isn’t going to get very far.
MP Keith Locke drafted the member’s bill, which is on Parliament’s agenda for a first reading.
He had hoped it would get through the first reading so it could be sent to a select committee for public discussions, but Prime Minister John Key today ruled that out.
“We’re opposed” was his brief response when he was asked about the bill on TV One’s Breakfast programme.
Unless the Government supports members’ bills, they have no chance of getting through a first reading.
It can get through, if the Maori Party and ACT vote in favour of letting the public have a say, even though National doesn’t want people to have a say.
I’m incredibly disappointed that National won’t even vote in favour of the bill going to select committee, let alone allow MPs a conscience vote on the issue.
Regardless of whether or not you think we should stay with the monarchy, or become a republic, you probably agree with me that any decision is one that should rest with the people, not with Parliament.
Locke’s bill, would have been the first ever time that member of the public could submit to a select committee on what they think the process should be for New Zealander to eventually make a decision. Even if the bill did not proceed past select committee, just allowing submissions would in itself enable the public to have a say on how they think NZ should eventually make this decision.
If the Government is unwilling to let the bill go to select committee, then the Government should tell us what their process is for allowing New Zealanders to progress this issue. I don’t regard it as acceptable to just vote the bill down, and not outline any alternate approach to such an important issue.
I also hope that National MPs are allowed a conscience vote on this issue. There is no reason this needs to be party whipped. In both National and Labour, there are republicans and monarchists.
Many supporter of National are also Republicans. It will be unfortunate if the message the Government gives them is that the only way to have your say on this issue, is to change the Government.