National against letting people have a say

March 1st, 2010 at 3:53 pm by David Farrar

NZPA report:

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 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.

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59 Responses to “National against letting people have a say”

  1. Whaleoil (766 comments) says:

    The only way I will vote for a republic is if the legislation enabling contains a clause especially forbidding Helen Clark from ever being President, ever, and I mean ever.

    Mark my words, if we become a Republic the she-beast will return from the UN quick smart to mount her campaign.

    [DPF: If I wrote the law, it would ban any current or former MP from becoming President]

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  2. Graeme Edgeler (3,277 comments) says:

    There is no reason this needs to be party whipped.

    Yes there is.

    The bill is so shoddily drafted that it is beneath the dignity of a Select Committee to ask them to spend time on it.

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  3. Nicholas O'Kane (168 comments) says:

    I am actually leaning towards the monarchist end of the spectrum on this issue but agree the Bill should go to select comittee. My hope is it passes with two questions:
    1) should we become a republic?
    2) how should the head of state be chosen (present method, 75% of MPs or direct election)
    A second referendum will be held on either a new republican head of state selected using most popular option in question 2 vs status quo or most popular option in 2nd question vs status quo for selecting governor general.

    The best thing on the bill could be to lobby ACT, as it could still pass if they vote for it

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  4. GPT1 (2,106 comments) says:

    Well done National. This bill is nothing more than sedition and should be voted down with due haste. Also what Graeme said.

    [DPF: I don't think a bill, by its nature, can be sedition]

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  5. eszett (2,374 comments) says:

    # Graeme Edgeler (1301) Says:
    March 1st, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    There is no reason this needs to be party whipped.

    Yes there is.

    The bill is so shoddily drafted that it is beneath the dignity of a Select Committee to ask them to spend time on it.

    Any specifics, Graeme? I think your legal analysis is always very beneficial here.

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  6. lastmanstanding (1,241 comments) says:

    Why become a Republic I have yet to see any reason other than the small willie syndrome of having to shun everything and anything to do with the countries that a significant number of us have ancestral alignment

    Will a Republic boost our GDP If so how.

    Will a Republic improve the ethical and moral standards of the citizens? If so how

    Will a Republic improve the quality of governance? If so how.

    Will a Republic decrease the crime rate and child abuse rate in particular? If so how

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  7. Barnsley Bill (982 comments) says:

    Here we go again.
    helen clarks unofficial campaign manager david farrar is playing up the republican angle again.
    Putting aside the fact that Keith Locke is the one putting this forward do we really need to have this debate?
    Mark my words. This will see the Beast return.
    Leave our fucking flag and constitutional monarchy alone.
    An Octaganarian german lady living in the biggest state house in Britain and on the other side of the world costs us nothing. Having the Beast back will cost us plenty.

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  8. Le Grande Fromage (145 comments) says:

    I was always under the impression that Maoris voting for a Republic was like Turkeys voting for Christmas.

    Without a “crown” to hold responsible for “grievances” the gravy train dries up.

    I always found this a compelling argument for republicanism but like Whaleoil shudder at the thought of saluting allegiance to the rug muncher in chief… so God save the Queen.

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  9. Manolo (13,517 comments) says:

    I’m against the country becoming a republic only on the remote possibility a parasite like Jim Bolger of Helen Clark could become our president.

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  10. IdiotSavant (88 comments) says:

    The bill is so shoddily drafted that it is beneath the dignity of a Select Committee to ask them to spend time on it.

    That sounds like an offer to improve it.

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  11. IdiotSavant (88 comments) says:

    [DPF: If I wrote the law, it would ban any current or former MP from becoming President]

    And while we’re waiting, we might want to do the same for the G-G.

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  12. Graeme Edgeler (3,277 comments) says:

    Any specifics, Graeme? I think your legal analysis is always very beneficial here.

    If passed in its present form, and the public voted 100% for an elected president, the New Zealand Crown would still have a role to play in the governing of New Zealand: it is so badly written that it wouldn’t actually create a full republic.

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  13. Nefarious (533 comments) says:

    So you’re saying that finally New Zealand get’s the chance to be a world leader in something?

    We could be a demi-republic with the beast as “Mr President” and Chris Carter as the queen?

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  14. Pete George (23,344 comments) says:

    It’s a bit pathetic using the threat of HC as a reason not to democratically investigate our constitution. There’s no reason (apart from voters) why she couldn’t come back to Labour and get elected Prime Minister again, should we change to a dictatorship so she can’t do that?

    It’s also a bit pathetic not to let something like this at least be given a chance to be looked at by our democratic system – to tidy up it’s shoddyness if that is necessary, and to see what ‘the people” want in a democratic way.

    It seems like on this Key is taking the electorally safe route rather than show any sign of being a leader.

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  15. backster (2,123 comments) says:

    KEY has repeatedly stated that he doesn’t want silly side issues to divert the house from facing the reality of the economy. I agree with that sentiment, especially in matters such as this. I just wish he and English would take some realistic steps to reduce the crazy borrowing. Issues such as this should be preserved to divert Public Attention should scandal arise, just as CLARK proved herself so proficient at doing.

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  16. MT_Tinman (3,054 comments) says:

    At last Key gets something right.

    What a pity Key didn’t go further and state that anything Locke touches is certain to be seriously tainted and not worth shit.

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  17. Pete George (23,344 comments) says:

    KEY has repeatedly stated that he doesn’t want silly side issues to divert the house from facing the reality of the economy.

    That might have some credibility if National were looking like making real changes to address the economy instead of silly tinkering around the sides.

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  18. Jeff83 (771 comments) says:

    I am a lefty so I think I am meant to be a Republican, off with her head!

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  19. Monty (966 comments) says:

    I am pleased National are killing this – never ever give the Greenies and especially keith Locke any oxygen. NZ will become a republic – in time – but not now. And not at the instigation of the Greenies.

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  20. Jack5 (4,905 comments) says:

    A vote’s a waste of time.

    We’ve only got 40 years before we vote on the real choice: part of the new Caliphate, or province of China.

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  21. Rex Widerstrom (5,330 comments) says:

    The fact that Private Members Bills are often poorly drafted are a reflection of the minimal resources available to assist. A backbencher doesn’t have a Department full of “policy analysts” and Crown Law to shoulder tap for drafting advice.

    Private Members Bills should be seen for what they are – an individual MP’s attempt to raise an issue that’s important to them (and to at least a portion of their constituents), suggest what they probably admit is an imperfect solution by way of a Bill, and let the public and their fellow MPs debate and improve upon it (or, having tried and failed to do so, reject it).

    To curtly say “We don’t support it” and deny it scrutiny by a Select Committee is both disingenuous and anti-democratic.

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  22. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    ” Many supporter of National are also Republicans. ”

    Anyone who would risk forming a Republic while NZ is going through its current extreme left syndrome is crazy.

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  23. eszett (2,374 comments) says:

    # Graeme Edgeler (1302) Says:
    March 1st, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    Any specifics, Graeme? I think your legal analysis is always very beneficial here.

    If passed in its present form, and the public voted 100% for an elected president, the New Zealand Crown would still have a role to play in the governing of New Zealand: it is so badly written that it wouldn’t actually create a full republic.

    But isn’t that what select committee is good for? Make the neccessary changes?

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  24. eszett (2,374 comments) says:

    # lastmanstanding (89) Says:
    March 1st, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    Why become a Republic I have yet to see any reason other than the small willie syndrome of having to shun everything and anything to do with the countries that a significant number of us have ancestral alignment

    Will a Republic boost our GDP If so how.

    Will a Republic improve the ethical and moral standards of the citizens? If so how

    Will a Republic improve the quality of governance? If so how.

    Will a Republic decrease the crime rate and child abuse rate in particular? If so how

    Silly questions, really.
    What’s the relevance to the republic? You might as well ask:

    Will retaining the GG boost our GDP? If so how?

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  25. eszett (2,374 comments) says:

    # Monty (413) Says:
    March 1st, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    I am pleased National are killing this – never ever give the Greenies and especially keith Locke any oxygen. NZ will become a republic – in time – but not now. And not at the instigation of the Greenies.

    Wow, now that’s logical! You support the idea, but only when it is instigated by people you like.

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  26. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    Will retaining the GG boost our GDP? If so how?

    How much does it cost to have a Govenor General?

    How much will it cost for us to have a President?

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  27. eszett (2,374 comments) says:

    I believe the cost would be pretty similar, apart from a one off cost of changing (if people decide to change)

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  28. KiwiGreg (3,224 comments) says:

    @ Bevan chickenshit amounts to both questions. Health education and welfare are where the real money gets spent in NZ.

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  29. nickb (3,675 comments) says:

    We can only be thankful JK has ruled this out, given the current parties in Parliament would have the job of drafting a constitution, which would no doubt have input from Labour, The Greens and the Maori Party… I can picture it now:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are:

    1. The right to housing
    2. The right to a fair wage
    3. The right to free education
    4. The right to free healthcare
    5. The right of entitlement to social welfare
    6. The right to be provided for by the State
    7. The right to be fed, clothed, etc

    etc etc, and so on and so forth.

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  30. OliverI (125 comments) says:

    Bevan (1874) Says:
    March 1st, 2010 at 5:38 pm
    Will retaining the GG boost our GDP? If so how?
    The commonwealth includes a third of the worlds population (about 2.1 billion members)

    We have easier access to the UK in terms of travel – great for young NZers.
    We get to take part in the commonwealth games – great for tourism income, and joy for many NZers.
    We are part of a large team of 53 countries – great for security, and for world peace, and not being isolated
    We share knowledge with other commonwealth countries ( Commonwealth of Learnings)
    Part of the Commonwealth business council to increase trade and harmonisation.

    What is the benefit of becoming a republic for NZ as a whole? (other than the “feel good” factor)

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  31. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    The right to vote ourselves unending and unrestricted access to other people’s money.

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  32. Mr Gronk (45 comments) says:

    Thoughts:

    * We could, if we wanted, keep the monarchy and still have a NZ head of state. Just pass a law vesting the succession in one of the Queen’s other kids just this once, and say that in future any king or queen who accepts another head of state-type post (I would go further and say any office under a foreign Government) is deemed to have abdicated.

    * With respect to a President, it’s all about how the President would be chosen, and what powers he or she should have. If the office of President is political, there would need to be a fair amount of codification of the reserve powers. That would raise broader constitutional questions, which are probably better discussed by a convention, which would be expensive and time-consuming.

    * What select committee considers these kinds of bills, and how busy is it at the moment? Is it really true that discussing the question would be a distraction?

    * Who owns New Zealand’s constitutional arrangements? The Prime Minister, Parliament, or the people?

    * Monarchists who support John Key’s scuppering of this bill seem as though they’re afraid it might actually pass. Surely a better way to shut down the debate is to prove (by way of referendum, cf. Australia) that a republic isn’t popular. In that respect, I think John Key’s move wasn’t necessarily the smartest here.

    * On that note, republicans could, if they wanted, push for a CIR.

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  33. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    OliverI – I was quoting someone else, I am not supportive of becoming a repulic just for the sake of it.

    @ Bevan chickenshit amounts to both questions.

    Really, have you been paying attention lately? Do you really think a Pres wil only cost us ‘the one off amount to change’? Dream on.

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  34. Graeme Edgeler (3,277 comments) says:

    But isn’t that what select committee is good for? Make the necessary changes?

    Make the minor changes needed for Sue Bradford’s youth wage abolition bill to work? Yes.

    Make the massive changes for Keith Locke’s republic bill, or Doug Woolerton’s Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi deletion bill to work? No.

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  35. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    As I’ve said many times before, taking stock of the ranks of no-hopers, mindless obligative contrarians of the left, loony greens, and general PC haters of their own culture and history, who are pro-republic, makes it pretty much impossible for a thinking person to be for it. It CAN’T be a good idea if that mob think it is. DPF you tarnish yourself by standing in that company.

    [DPF: I judge an issue on its merits, not on who agrees with me on it]

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  36. Scott (1,736 comments) says:

    Totally agree with Put it away. I would add the government has got a lot more pressing issues-for instance getting the economy up and running,high unemployment,our economic performance against Australia,very high crime rates in our community especially in South Auckland-the list goes on and on.

    But once those things are under control then possibly we could debate republicanism. For myself I rate the issue very low in the list of priorities.

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  37. nickb (3,675 comments) says:

    “The right to vote ourselves unending and unrestricted access to other people’s money.”

    Bingo.

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  38. Stuart Mackey (337 comments) says:

    Getting rid of this bill is an excellent proposition. I distrust anything that come from politicians on constitutional matters, because you can bet your bottom dollar that there will be some thing in it that grants them yet more power, some wriggle room that allows them to keep themselves in office that bit longer or shape things to suit their view of the world, with out reference to to us.
    On this issue, if DPF and the guy Holden who wants a republic, let them hold a referendum, and let the people judge the merits of the argument and force the politicians to do our bidding, frankly thats the proper way for it to happen, for such matters should be by the people and for the people, let us decide in our own good time.
    We must set the ground rules for how New Zealand functions, who has the power, when and for how long, not Keith Locke or any other politicians, and I don’t care what party they belong to.
    The politicians can go to hell, its not their bloody country, its ours.

    [DPF: Umm the bill is about letting the people decide through a referendum]

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  39. oddity fan (293 comments) says:

    I don’t hate the current system enough to want the country to be investing any time, energy or thought into Keith Locke’s latest looney sickly leftist agenda issue. I also think giving him some exposure by breathing life into this is bad for the Govt, it allows people to think for a moment that the Greens have ideas of merit – not a wise thing to do.

    This country has serious issues in front of it and the public has a finite capacity to deal with the issues that make a meaningful difference to quality of life, living standards etc. When I saw John Key shoot it down with Paul Henry I was quite relieved.

    I have some sympathy in allowing it to be considered by a select committee, in the interests of democracy etc, but the timing is bad and the risks too great. Well done John.

    BTW I like the suggestion that politicians shouldn’t be permitted to be GG or HoS. HM the Queen may even agree with that criterion, it seems she wasnt too pleased when Sir Keith Holyoake’s name was put forward, which may be why he was only given a term of three years.

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  40. Caleb (478 comments) says:

    so,

    labour cannot legislate away the supposed right for tribal maori to take the question of ownership, of foreshore and seabed, to court.

    then…

    how the hell is this country ever going to draft a constitution.

    i guess the way this country thinks, the only thing that is fair is that we are all entitled and equally enriched.

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  41. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,820 comments) says:

    Good on National for doing something right for a change and stopping this silly nonsense in its tracks.

    For the Queen.

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  42. sean14 (62 comments) says:

    DPF – yet another post that shows you for the hypocritical and unthinking National mouthpiece that you are. Sorry, sorry, channelling The Standard… It’s like being possessed by a vampire, you know what you are doing is wrong but you just can’t stop it…

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  43. eszett (2,374 comments) says:

    # OliverI (5) Says:
    March 1st, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    Bevan (1874) Says:
    March 1st, 2010 at 5:38 pm
    Will retaining the GG boost our GDP? If so how?
    The commonwealth includes a third of the worlds population (about 2.1 billion members)

    We have easier access to the UK in terms of travel – great for young NZers.
    We get to take part in the commonwealth games – great for tourism income, and joy for many NZers.
    We are part of a large team of 53 countries – great for security, and for world peace, and not being isolated
    We share knowledge with other commonwealth countries ( Commonwealth of Learnings)
    Part of the Commonwealth business council to increase trade and harmonisation.

    What is the benefit of becoming a republic for NZ as a whole? (other than the “feel good” factor)

    Why would a republic NZ not remain a member of the Commenwealth? The two issues are completely separate

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  44. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    ” I am a lefty so I think I am meant to be a Republican, off with her head! ”

    You’re actually a Progressive, who doesn’t think anything through but just automatically accepts that all change is good.

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  45. dime (9,667 comments) says:

    struth. a thread where i agree with everything redbaiter has said. this cant be good.

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  46. aardvark (417 comments) says:

    Come on, so long as we continue to run this system of “gang” politics there will never be true democracy or representation.

    When I vote for my electorate MP I want them to represent *MY* wishes and those of the other voters in this electorate — not to simply toe the party line at the beck and call of the party leader or caucus.

    Remember that the very foundation of democracy is *representation* and when you deny the voters that, by demanding that MPs vote along party lines, you commit a fraud on the public.

    All votes in parliament should involve electorate MPs voting on behalf of those who elected them — not simply following the diktats of the party boss(es).

    This is why I keep pushing the concept of recoverable proxy. It’s the only practical way to ensure we get democracy without the stupidity of running a nation by referenda.

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  47. PaulL (5,983 comments) says:

    Hmm. In principle, no reason not to have the debate. I do, however, agree with two arguments in this thread:
    1. We have many more important things to do than faff around with who gets to be ceremonial ribbon cutter in chief (in practice, if not in law)

    2. If we were to faff around with this, it is inevitable that we’d also try to carve out some powers for this new ribbon cutter, and that would perhaps lead to a constitution. Whilst I’d like NZ to have a constitution, the reality is that nobody has written a decent one in the last 50 years – too many hippies get involved and add in crap that doesn’t belong there. The best constitution is a short one that deals with genuine rights, not with grievances. Since that will turn into a train wreck, better not to start. To be honest, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Even though Charlie might one day be our head of state – it isn’t like we’d ever see him, the GG does the ribbon cutting job just fine.

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  48. camrun (49 comments) says:

    47 comments and not one single reason put forth as to why NZ should become a republic. What’s so flawed
    about the current system that we need a change? It just seems to me like more progressive, “change is good” bullshit.

    If we ever actually needed a ruling from our Head of State, I would want that person to be someone who could objectively look at the situation, not someone subject to political or personal influences, or who relies on public opinion to keep their job.

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  49. Stuart Mackey (337 comments) says:

    [DPF: Umm the bill is about letting the people decide through a referendum]

    And who wrote it David?, was it you? I know it wasn’t me and any thing that comes from it sure as hell will be controlled by politicians to suit themselves.

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  50. Pete George (23,344 comments) says:

    It just seems to me like more progressive, “change is good” bullshit.

    No, the gist of this thread is “democracy is good”. It is not saying we should change, it is saying we should look at whether the majority of people think this change is good or not.

    47 comments and not one single reason put forth as to why NZ should become a republic.

    Again, that wasn’t what this is about. It is arguing the case for looking at it, and letting the people decide if there are good enough reasons or not.

    Of course those who want to keep the monarchy don’t want to see a referendum on it, they would rather the case was not argued or democratically decided.

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  51. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,820 comments) says:

    I have to agree with Whaleoil at the top of the comments that as long as Helen Clark draws breath that New Zealand must not become a Republic.

    The only exception to this rule is if New Zealand becomes a dependent territory of Australia. Then a President Bruce or Shelia serves you right. :lol:

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  52. Stuart Mackey (337 comments) says:

    Pete George (4012) Says:
    March 2nd, 2010 at 7:13 am

    Of course those who want to keep the monarchy don’t want to see a referendum on it, they would rather the case was not argued or democratically decided.
    ********************************

    For my part, that is certainly not the case. I do not believe that we can have truly democratic choice or debate on this issue so long as it is initiated by politicians, the process controlled by politicians, the agenda, pace and timing set by politicians. Such fundamental matters to a nation as the head of state and our constitution should be matters for the people and politicians should remain out of it, aside from the formalities of enacting our wishes.

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  53. Murray (8,842 comments) says:

    waaa waaa I want a republic…

    Grow up.

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  54. Eddie (295 comments) says:

    Look! A republic and new flag referendum!

    *sweep sweep*

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  55. Pete George (23,344 comments) says:

    I have to agree with Whaleoil at the top of the comments that as long as Helen Clark draws breath that New Zealand must not become a Republic.

    This seems like a stupid non-argument to me. What about Redbaiter? I wouldn’t want him to be president, but I don’t think that should stop the democratic process. I don’t think he will be (and I don’t think HC will be either) but if a super majority chose them or anyone I should accept that.

    Stuart, I don’t see how we can have a truly democratic choice or debate without politicians being involved. They are as much apart of our democracy as much as anyone else, more so when it comes to investigating any changes like this especially involving referenda.

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  56. Sonny Blount (1,847 comments) says:

    Look! A republic and new flag referendum!

    *sweep sweep*

    Why are the Nats voting against this bill going to select committee Eddie?

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  57. Stuart Mackey (337 comments) says:

    Pete George (4013) Says:
    March 2nd, 2010 at 8:43 am

    Stuart, I don’t see how we can have a truly democratic choice or debate without politicians being involved. They are as much apart of our democracy as much as anyone else, more so when it comes to investigating any changes like this especially involving referenda.

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

    Politicians are only a part of democracy insofar as they are our representatives, it does not follow that they should set the ground rules by which they themselves operate or have a say in the appointment or establishment of office of any person that may, from time to time, be a check on their activities.
    To allow politicians to effectively control such matters reduces the public to mere spectators, our only choice a predetermined one by those who stand to benefit, for their own benefit, at their leisure.

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  58. Seán (397 comments) says:

    Well put post David. I am a National supporter who favours NZ becoming a republic, and your reasons here for the Bill going to at least select committee are spot on. I hope we are not seeing some arrogance creeping in here, it’s still only the first term!

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  59. E. Campbell (90 comments) says:

    Very disappointing decision by the Tories. This is one of those genuine cross-party issues and, to some degree, should be above and beyond mere party posturing or the whip. Key and company have seriously dropped the ball on this one, especially as so many of their supporters are Republicans. By the way, the reactionary and nonsensical comments here do the monarchists very little credit.

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