A welcome u-turn from Dr Cullen

August 29th, 2010 at 10:17 am by David Farrar

The HoS reports:

Prince Charles is strange and his father so insensitive and prejudiced that he could be a breakfast TV host, says New Zealand’s former deputy prime minister.

’s comments, contained in notes for a speech he will make in Wellington this week, are bound to outrage supporters of the monarchy.

As a senior Cabinet minister, Cullen described himself as the Labour Government’s “token monarchist” and fought against any move for New Zealand to become a republic.

But, in a major about-turn at a constitution conference on Friday, he will publicly lay out a road map to becoming a republic when the Queen dies.

I’m pleased to see Dr Cullen leave the monarchist camp and join the republicans.

My motivations are not so much the personal characteristics of certain royals. They are:

  1. A republic would provide greater limitations on the role of the Prime Minister
  2. I believe our head of state should be a New Zealander
  3. Hereditary selection for a role is inferior to democratic selection
  4. A move to a republic will probably lead to a written constitution, which would generally be desirable
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63 Responses to “A welcome u-turn from Dr Cullen”

  1. lilman (973 comments) says:

    So Cullen has a vision-AGAIN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Just like his vision for schools and trains,what a wanker.
    Could Mr Cullens thought process be affected by his recent employment by various Maori Iwi and their attempts to negotiate with government pollies on treaty Issues,
    Theres a train coming and its not on the tracks but I assure you its going to be covered in gravey.
    And this from a man who refused to let NewZealanders have their day in court over claims,neither Cullen or Iwi show any Mana or morals on this issue.

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  2. BeaB (2,164 comments) says:

    The virtue of having a stout old GG standing in for a distant monarch means the elected house of parliament is supreme in all but name. The thought of an elected (we’d end up with an All Black!) or appointed (some political hack) head of state with all the attendant pomp and pomposity (and cost) leaves me cold as does the thought of anyone with greater powers than our PM.
    Why do we need a separate head of state at all? I would support becoming a republic with only PM and MPs. Our 3 year term is sufficient discipline to stop any nonsense before it does too much harm and we don’t have any need for yet another expensive puffed up official. The supremacy of parliament in all but name has served us well so far and I dislike seeing our elected representatives having to bend their knee to anyone.

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  3. Doug (401 comments) says:

    A new poll in Australia out today.

    Public support for a republic has slumped to a 16-year low with more Australians in favour of retaining the monarchy for now.

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  4. thedavincimode (6,890 comments) says:

    A U-turn from someone more easily associated with an S-bend.

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  5. Ross Miller (1,618 comments) says:

    My concern is that the NZ gene pool is so limited that it is not inconceivable that we could end up with Winston Peters as President.

    Well he was a VERY senior member in both Labour and National administrations and compromise produces some very strange results.

    [DPF: My preference is to have the law exclude current and former MPs from being appointed President]

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  6. thedavincimode (6,890 comments) says:

    Unlikely Ross, but maybe we could dock the first $158,000 of his pay.

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  7. northern (44 comments) says:

    A republic is definitely the way of our future and David’s motivations (benefits) are well made. There’s a helluva lot of legislative/constitutional work involved in making the change but perhaps the biggest challenge is how to cope with the Treaty (made with the Crown). I’ve yet to hear any widespread Maori interest in republicanism – or do others know better?

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  8. Jack5 (5,281 comments) says:

    We’ve got a pseudo republic now, economic to run, and without the extra layer of politicians and further bureaucrats a formal republic entails.

    A republic probably means some ex-politician as head of state – think Helen Klark, or maybe even Cullen. At present we have almost a ghost head of state we rarely see, really has no political power, and who keeps politicians’ faces off our currency and postage stamps.

    I can understand formal-republic enthusiasts’ rising energy. Once William and Harry are in line for symbolic heads of state for NZ, they will attract wide support.

    As for your written constitution, DPF, the unwritten British constitution which we inherited has been the starting point for democracies in most places touched by the Anglo-Saxon diaspora. IMHO, a written constitution essentially means more unelected apparatchiks like Rosslyn Noonan and Joris de Bres feeding the essentially leftist tradition of victimhood. It also means more lawyers, and more power to courts and judges that rightly belongs in the hands of the people through those they vote into Parliament. A republic could easily lead to a Kafka-esque state where rights are everything and duties, responsibilities and self-reliability are nothing.

    Beyond the full republic – de facto republic debate, however, perhaps we should be looking at becoming part of Australia. This country is only marginally economically viable at its present size.

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  9. Viking2 (11,680 comments) says:

    Also called the Gravy train as opposed to a railways train but same effect. AKA the Treaty.

    and if we hurry we can have a choice of two Irish bastards, Bolger or O’Regan and if that’s too soon then maybe Tuke (underpants) Morgan.

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  10. Viking2 (11,680 comments) says:

    A republic could easily lead to a Kafka-esque state where rights are everything and duties, responsibilities and self-reliability are nothing.

    We are there already didn’t you know.

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  11. Jack5 (5,281 comments) says:

    Another thought on a republic. Bro. Key would doubtless ensure any new republic had two presidents – one non-Maori, one Maori.

    The first republic in the world with two presidents?

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  12. backster (2,196 comments) says:

    BEAB is on the right track….If a written constitution brings as many blessings as Palmer’s Civil Rights Act we are better off without it. Why would you want to limit the power of the Prime Minister? As for CULLEN’s description of Prince Charles and his father, it could more accurately be applied to himself. Their saving grace is they are Patriots, I couldn’t say the same about someone who set out to deliberately sabotage our economy.

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  13. BR (84 comments) says:

    “But, in a major about-turn at a constitution conference on Friday, he will publicly lay out a road map to becoming a republic when the Queen dies.”

    Perhaps the same consideration could also be given to the idea of putting a similar distance between New Zealand and that insufferable gang of crooks politely referred to as the UN.

    Bill.

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  14. JeffW (327 comments) says:

    Jack5 at 11.18 – I concur entirely.
    Instead of worrying about the Head of State, we need to worry about the descent of democracy to a system of voting for taking money from our grandchildren.
    The slogan for the US revolt against British rule was “no taxation without representation”. It is time for this to be turned around: no representation without taxation. A second house with the power to delay legislation (and perhaps more), in which the number of votes was determined by net tax paid by the elector, so beneficiaries no vote, civil servants no vote (exceptions for police and armed forces). I think we might find the real taxpayers are more altruistic than those on the left like to think, so it would not mean the end of welfare, but it might cap government spending.

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  15. nickb (3,696 comments) says:

    will probably lead to a written constitution, which would generally be desirable

    With our current lot of MP’s??? And the backroom deals that would occur with MMP?

    I can just imagine it.

    “Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happynesss…..

    ….and good housing
    ….. and a good living wage
    …..and good healthcare
    …..and a good standard of living
    …..and to quality education
    …..and from care from cradle until the grave

    etc etc. A written constitution in the current political environment would be an absolute disaster. I cringe thinking about it.

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  16. davidp (3,585 comments) says:

    Prince Charles is a hypocritical eco-nut who is heavily involved in progressive political causes. If he wanted to stand for election as NZ’s Head of State he’d do about as well as Catherine Delahunty whose politics he shares. In which case I don’t think he should inherit the position.

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  17. GK (71 comments) says:

    The only thing welcome from Michael Cullen would be his continued silence.

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  18. beautox (409 comments) says:

    >>>Hereditary selection for a role is inferior to democratic selection

    This is the point that the republicans get wrong. Any democratic selection will produce a political appointee. And we have seen what a mess that can be.

    Hereditary selection is outside of all politics. There is a very good reason for it. It’s like randomly selecting someone of supposedly good breeding. So you may argue that Charles is an idiot. But I would much rather have him that Helen. (After all if you were democratically selecting someone, it could be *her*). Or Winston.

    And as for the other points, well, frankly, I call BS on all of them as well. Nickb says it all on the constitution.

    And #1, would it really be that great if Lady Helen or Lord Winston was limiting JK’s power?

    And #2, well, that’s just racist!!

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  19. s.russell (1,650 comments) says:

    I feel sorry for poor old Charlie. He is not peculiar. He is perfectly normal. And that is the problem.

    As a perfectly normal person he has human foibles, opinions (not always sensible) on many subjects, idiosycracies (generally harmless), and does not look like a Hollywood movie actor.

    Our head of state (or any nation’s) should not be an ordinary person. They should be an extraordinary person. QEII has some claim to this status but none of the other Windsors do.

    If all Commonwealth countries became republics it would be a kindness to the royals, sparing them the misery of being playthings of papparazzi, monarchist bum-lickers, politicians and exploiters of all kinds. Releived of reigning, they would be free to be normal at last.

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  20. krazykiwi (8,040 comments) says:

    The only thing welcome from Michael Cullen would be his continued silence.

    That, and compensation for the damage he did to our economy

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  21. yesjg (43 comments) says:

    The overwhelming attraction of a constitutional monarchy is not what it does. It is what it prevents others from doing.

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  22. camrun (49 comments) says:

    On DPF’s four points:

    1. Is anyone really concerned about the power of the PM currently? Never has the position of PM been more limited. He is restricted by Cabinet, his caucus, coalition partners, Parliament, and the NZ public every three years.

    2. Our head of state is currently a figure-head position, with reserve powers. The only difference in making it a New Zealander is that we would have to cover the costs, which is likely to be more than we currently pay for the Governor General.

    3. Hereditary selection means they are not subject to lobbyists and corporations who fund their campaigns, or the people who appointed or voted for them. In the (very unlikely) event of a constitutional crisis, I have far more faith in a monarch to put the best interests of the country ahead of political, social or financial interests.

    4. What’s so desirable about a written constitution? The inflexibility? Our constitution is a reflection of the evolution of New Zealand, not just a perversion of what some intellectuals at the time decided was important or ‘right’.

    If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Are we really that insecure about our national identity that we feel the need to throw of the (imaginary) chains of British imperialism? Newsflash – we are already an independent nation, but in the event of a constitutional crisis we have a completely non-partisan person to intervene. It’s the same reason we use neutral referees in rugby; it (ideally) ensures the fairest result.

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  23. jaba (2,146 comments) says:

    come on David .. who gives a shit what Cullen thinks (even if you agree) .. he is yesterdays man, GOODBYE.
    I share a similar concern with many above in that if we decide to have a President, we could end up with a person who is too divisive (Dame Helen for instance).

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  24. Guy Fawkes (702 comments) says:

    I think a Republic would be a super duper idea.

    Q return of Comrade Klark with EVERY intention of making us love the ‘Dear Leader’.

    She would so love to have her Photoshopped Dyke face over ever item of denomination and stamp etc.

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  25. Jimbob (641 comments) says:

    camrun you sum it up pretty well, I think most New Zealanders’ would agree.

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  26. tvb (4,556 comments) says:

    I found Cullen’s attack on two members of the Royal Family offensive especially as they cannot answer back. He does have a personality disorder. I think Cullen better go back into the background on this issue if all he can do is be offensive to the Royal Family. What have they done to him. That man really is odd.

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  27. freedom101 (513 comments) says:

    Leave well alone. There is no benefit to be gained from becoming a republic. It will just lead to more Treaty chaos, an ex-poli head of state and huge lawyers bills as everyone takes cases to the Supreme Court to work out what the equivalent of the “principles of the Treaty” mean in the written constitution.

    Lawyers will love it. Enough said.

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  28. Guy Fawkes (702 comments) says:

    I think Cullen is the best history teacher that so many pupils never had.

    I don’ care what people may or may not say about him.

    His actual record of Economic profligacy is a testament to his awesome skills as an Academic with a bent for old stuff.

    Just like the useless twat Gordon Brown. They are as retarded and despised in equal measure.

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  29. Banana Llama (1,043 comments) says:

    I doubt there would be a grain of seed left in the land once the political and tribal elite get done slobbering at the creation of our Democratic Peoples Republic of Aotearoa

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  30. davidp (3,585 comments) says:

    tvb>I found Cullen’s attack on two members of the Royal Family offensive especially as they cannot answer back.

    Of course they can answer back. The Queen is the only one of them with a constitutional position that requires her to be neutral. Charles will have a constitutional position in the future that will require him to be neutral and common sense would suggest that he didn’t mire himself in controversy at the moment. Which doesn’t stop him leaving his huge homes and flying around the world in order to tell us we need to consume and drive less. But the rest of them can wade in and answer back to their hearts content. If by any chance they feel a moral obligation not to get snarky with the people who keep them in Bentleys and palaces, they can always resign and join us average people who work in offices, go to work on the train, and use a family name when we sign our names.

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  31. Redbaiter (11,880 comments) says:

    A written constitution?? No thanks. Not anytime in the next few generations and while this country is at its nadir in terms of culture and civilisation. When the socialist syndrome has finally run its course, and all of the fascists and racists it produces have departed the scene, only then can we think about a constitution.

    Unless there is an armed revolution of course. Revolutions have often been the source of good constitutions, but one written now while the country is deep in the fatal mire of socialism?? Forget it.

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  32. Redbaiter (11,880 comments) says:

    “Perhaps the same consideration could also be given to the idea of putting a similar distance between New Zealand and that insufferable gang of crooks politely referred to as the UN.”

    You realise you’re risking a public flogging???

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  33. grumpyoldhori (2,205 comments) says:

    Hmm, interesting, you republican types want the Victoria Cross of New Zealand to be dumped as our top valor award.
    No more Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment etc etc.
    No more Knighthoods, hmm that may upset the Fay types.

    The above for the sake of parliament putting one of their hacks in as President.
    Do you really believe politicians would allow you mug voters the opportunity of voting for your president ?

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  34. Fale Andrew Lesa (473 comments) says:

    I don’t see the country any better off under a Republic, America has been for most of its existence and on most international indicators (including the democracy index and the corruption index) it performs rather poorly.

    In fact, New Zealand tends to perform perfectly on most international findings that deal with democracy, transparency, corruption, and so fourth.

    A move toward Republicanism would only encourage further separatism between Pakeha and Maori relations, the radical being Maori Sovereignty.

    Unless there are evident and widespread issues with our current system of governance, I see no reason why change should be encouraged merely for the sake of change.

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  35. E. Campbell (91 comments) says:

    It’s time for a Republic, short and simple. A Presidency wouldn’t be more expensive than a G-G. After-all, we already pay for that ourselves. Many monarchists are under the mistaken view that that Brits pay for any Vice-Regal representation they may have around the world, but that’s not the case. Having a defacto Head-of-State appointed soley by Prime Ministerial diktat is a flaw in our system and an elected Presidential model would be best. A legislative requirement that no former Parliamentarians be eligible for President would be sound.

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  36. V (765 comments) says:

    Amazing to think Cullen hasn’t any lost credibility after paying $1 billion for a train set just prior to one of the world’s largest collapses in asset prices ever?

    In regard to the bulletpoints, lets get the constitution in order first. That should take a good 50 years at the glacial pace of political discussion in New Zealand.

    Bear in mind 10 years later we’re still arguing over the drinking age.

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  37. Owen McShane (1,182 comments) says:

    Why do we need to become a Republic to break our ties with the English monarchy?

    Just appoint our own head of state. – with no more power than the current Queen.

    Anything else would be a massive distraction and the idea of drawing up a written constitution under MMP is fraught with risk..
    It would guarantee every UN right under the sun – except of course the right to the pursuit of our own happiness..

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  38. Fletch (6,529 comments) says:

    Sad, when DPF gives unaccustomed praise to Cullen for the reason of Cullen throwing off a couple of insults at our next king. I’m not a huge Charles fan, but I stand by NZ needing the Monarchy.
    Add to the fact that Cullen is strange and somewhat insensitive himself. I’d rather have dinner with a breakfast host than Cullen any day.

    AN IDEAL HEAD OF STATE

    So long as we believe in nation states and so long as we need governing systems to govern nation states, then we will continue to need Heads of State: people who can represent the nation to itself and to the world. A Head of State can provide a personal identity to an impersonal State, and a collective sense of itself.

    A Head of State who does not owe his or her position to either patronage or a vote can more properly represent all the people.

    Consider that a President who has been elected, often by a minority of a minority of the electorate, cannot adequately speak for the people who did not vote for him or her.

    It is even worse if the President has been appointed, because then he owes his position to a small clique.

    So, the accident of birth is the best means of appointing a Head of State. Someone who has no party political axe to grind, or special favours to repay to a vested interest.

    Someone whose allegiance is to the people. Not just allegiance to the people who voted for him or his political party, but allegiance to all the people of the country equally.

    Far from being “incompatible” with democracy, a Monarchy can thereby enhance the government of the land.

    A DISTINCT SYMBOL OF NATIONAL IDENTITY

    The Monarch is a national icon. An icon which cannot be replaced adequately by any other politician or personality. This is because the British Monarchy embodies British history and identity in all its aspects, both good and bad.

    When you see the Queen you not only see history since 1952, when she took the throne, but you see a person who provides a living sense of historical continuity with the past. Someone who embodies in her very being a history which extends back through time, back through the Victorian era, back into the Stuart era and beyond. You see the national history of all parts of our islands, together, going right back in time.

    A living continuity between the past, the present and the future.

    That’s something that no politician can provide. When we look at Tony Blair, for example — whatever you may think of him — we see nothing meaningful on a national scale, pre-1997.

    All politicians come and go, but Monarchy is forever.

    With its traditions, its history, its ceremonial, and with its standing and respect throughout the world, the British Monarchy represents a unique national treasure, without which the United Kingdom would be sorely impoverished.

    If you value national distinctiveness, you should be a Monarchist.

    If you are anti-globalist you should be a Monarchist because Monarchies represent the different national traditions and distinctions among the nations.

    The desire to secure, strengthen and promote your own distinct national icons, whether your Monarch, or your own unique national identity, should be your concern, whether you live here in St Andrews, or whether you live in St Petersburg, or whether you live in St Paulo.

    As the global financial system rushes us all towards a world intended to eradicate all local and national distinctions, the Monarchy stands out as different, distinct and valuable.

    Constitutionally, practically, spiritually and symbolically this nation would be impoverished without Monarchy.
    .

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  39. camrun (49 comments) says:

    E. Campbell,

    1. Why is ‘now’ the time for a republic? What has changed recently to make you hold that view?

    2. A presidency may not be more expensive than the G-G, but won’t we have to mint new coins every time the President’s term ends? I’m sure the cost will be minimal, but it’s something to consider.

    3. The G-G is not simply, “a defacto Head-of-State appointed soley by Prime Ministerial diktat”. Technically, the G-G is appointed by the Queen, on advice of the PM. The current G-G had support from all party leaders before the PM advised for him to be appointed.

    4. Why would an elected Presidential model be best? As I previously stated, an elected official is under external pressure from the interest groups who funded his campaign and the portion of the population who voted for them. Would this President be able to refuse to assent legislation or dismiss Parliament? Arguably they would have a mandate to do so. If so, that creates a shit-storm of a constitutional crisis, paralysis in Government, debate over who has legitimacy to govern. Who would rule on the issue? The Supreme Court? If they can’t refuse legislation or dismiss the PM, then what’s the point of having a President? Currently we have parliamentary sovereignty, and it works pretty well.

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  40. BeaB (2,164 comments) says:

    Why do we need a head of state at all?

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  41. tvb (4,556 comments) says:

    I agree BeaB. There is absolutely no need at all for a Head of State. The PM can be appointed by a Commission of 3 Judges – the Heads of Bench for the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. The Judicial Commission can also decide whether to Grant a Dissolution. Both decisions can be done in accordance with the Law and Custom for such decisions. Bills can be signed by the Speaker and Regulations. Gongs can be handed out by the PM. No one can style themselves as “HEAD OF STATE”. The job is redundant. Once you get people’s head around that, we can move to a Republic quite quickly once the Queen no longer reins over us. We would become citizens rather than subjects. There will be a few other bits and bobs but the jobs could be split between the PM, Speaker and the Judicial Commission.

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  42. Steve (4,537 comments) says:

    Ask Frank how it is done and how to continue to lead. I mean he has been the leader for a while and nobody seems to make a lot of noise about removing him

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  43. Fletch (6,529 comments) says:

    A nonelected part of government contributes to the separation of powers. By retaining certain constitutional powers or denying them to others, it can be a safeguard against abuses.5

    This is perhaps the main modern justification of hereditary monarchy: to put some restraint on politicians rather than let them pursue their own special interests complacent in the thought that their winning elections demonstrates popular approval. When former president Theodore Roosevelt visited Emperor Franz Joseph in 1910 and asked him what he thought the role of monarchy was in the twentieth century, the emperor reportedly replied: “To protect my peoples from their governments” (quoted in both Thesen and Purcell 2003).

    Similarly, Lord Bernard Weatherill, former speaker of the House of Commons, said that the British monarchy exists not to exercise power but to keep other people from having the power; it is a great protection for our democracy (interview with Brian Lamb on C-Span, 26 November 1999).

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  44. davidp (3,585 comments) says:

    camrun>A presidency may not be more expensive than the G-G, but won’t we have to mint new coins every time the President’s term ends? I’m sure the cost will be minimal, but it’s something to consider.

    This is the spaciest thing I’ve read in a long time. Did it never occur to you that we could mint coins WITHOUT a person’s head on one side?

    Or would that interfere with “heads or tails” coin tosses? We need to maintain the monarchy so that coin tosses aren’t confusing?

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  45. camrun (49 comments) says:

    davidp,

    Yeah it was pretty ‘out there’ wasn’t it? I’ll admit it wasn’t the strongest point of my argument. Honestly, it never occurred to me that you could put something other than a person’s head on one side of a coin. Of course it would interfere with the whole “heads and tails” toss.

    How about if we go to a republic we pick five famous New Zealanders and give them a coin each? Off the top of my head, Don Clarke, Billy T. James, Charles Upham, Dame Whina Cooper, Sir Peter Blake. Other suggestions?

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  46. F E Smith (3,307 comments) says:

    I still think that New Zealand gaining a directly elected upper house is far more important than moving to a republic. I certainly can’t see how the PM’s powers would in any way be limited by such a move, as I would expect the powers of any President to remain those of the G-G. And it would cost more than present because I would hope that we would have an election for the post every 5-7 years, rather than having him/her elected by Parliament.

    I like the idea of having a constitution and I don’t see why NZ needs to become a republic to have one. The only fear I have is that it would not be a US style one that limits the government. But I agree that MP’s and former MP’s should not be elgible for any presidency.

    And every country needs a Head of State. That is one way in which a country is known to be a sovereign nation.

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  47. tvb (4,556 comments) says:

    Why a “head of State”. The concept of it is at best an irrelevance or a dangerous nuisance to the democratically accountable “Head of Government.” The position defies logic and threatens the position of the Democratically accountable “Head of Government.”

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  48. fatman43us (163 comments) says:

    Good God!

    Have we forgotten this soon who gave us the Supreme Court? The lack of consultation on that? The fact that most pollies seem to think they will appoint the President?

    Have you had a look at the Obamantics in the USA? Do you really want a RM Nixon, or worse still a Teddy Kennedy?

    Redbaiter you are so right! Until we have grown somewhat wiser, someone needs to grab this toy out of hands and destroy it now!

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  49. krazykiwi (8,040 comments) says:

    The only fear I have is that it would not be a US style one that limits the government

    I share your concern FE Smith. I see a constitution constructed today being one overflowing with ‘rights’ that invite state intervention to assure compliance.

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  50. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    A little personal anecdote for your amusement before I give my view on this.

    One sunny March day in 1970 I was on my way down Symonds St heading to uni and saw people lining the road expectantly. I was vaguely aware of a royal visit in progress, and figured this had to be them, especially when I heard the racket from the Engineering faculty a bit further on.

    So I got myself roadside and lo and behold car containing the Queen and her hubby rolled up about one metre or even less in front of my good self with the Duke’s window wound down. Being an avid republican on principle since, well, about the time I decided I was an atheist, which was about aged 7, I leaned forward and yelled to the Duke: “Get back to Britain!” I know, sad really, but it was the best I could come up with at the time. Anyway, I was rewarded with a broad smile and friendly wave from the Duke, a reprimand from a little old lady I had pushed in front of, and, best of all, I wasn’t arrested. These days, I would probably end up at Gitmo!

    Anyway, my current view is that the system works. It ain’t broke. And we have more important things to worry about.

    And sorry, FE, I can’t share your view that the way to improve our political system is to add yet more politicians!

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  51. GPT1 (2,021 comments) says:

    A republic would provide greater limitations on the role of the Prime Minister – how? Or worse it does and we elect a President type figure with more than titular powers.
    I believe our head of state should be a New Zealander – jingoistic nonsense. Besides the Monarch is the Queen (or King) of New Zealand.
    Hereditary selection for a role is inferior to democratic selection – for a essentially titular and conventional role there is little to be gained in democratic selection and much to be lost. Still, Jim Anderton, Helen Clark, Roger McLay would all, no doubt, make or have made good democratic selections for head of state. Any New Zealand Head of State will lack any of the gravitas of state embodied by our royal family.
    A move to a republic will probably lead to a written constitution, which would generally be desirable – Treaty as supreme law, Courts making policy decisions and a political constitution ahead of 100s of years of democratic eveolution? Any other bright ideas?

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  52. GPT1 (2,021 comments) says:

    Oh and do you really want your arguments associated with someone who thinks we should become a republic because he thinks Prince Charles is a bit strange? This from a chap who thought blowing the books on a train set was a good idea.

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  53. Stuart Mackey (336 comments) says:

    My motivations are not so much the personal characteristics of certain royals. They are:

    A republic would provide greater limitations on the role of the Prime Minister
    **********************

    Bullshit: Honestly DPF who are you trying to kid? The moment politicians foist a republic of their making on this country that is the time when the head of state becomes political or a comfortable sinecure for the best arse licker in the Parliament. Moreover who the fuck are politicians to drive such a debate? such basic matters in our constitution is none of their fucking business, its for us to decide, the people. If Lewis Holden wants to start a referendum on a republic, and it gets 75% support, then bring on the republic, a republic chosen by us, for us, the people.

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  54. berend (1,690 comments) says:

    DPF: Hereditary selection for a role is inferior to democratic selection

    Really? Like to see your arguments for it. At least history has demonstrated your argument is false. And wouldn’t the first 100 people in the Boston phone book not govern the US better than the current lot?

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  55. berend (1,690 comments) says:

    Cullen: Prince Charles is strange and his father so insensitive and prejudiced that he could be a breakfast TV host, says New Zealand’s former deputy prime minister.

    And how would we describe someone who bought a 700 million trainset for NZ?

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  56. BeaB (2,164 comments) says:

    Spare us a constitution and judge-made law. We are far better off as we are. I am still not convinced we need a head of state. If it is just the title give it to the PM. The US President manages to combine all these roles but we don’t need all their other structures because we have not set up our system to ward off tyranny as they did. Too many of these ideas look backwards. We should be looking forward at ways to run this country in efficient, nimble and intelligent forms to meet present and future needs.
    Then we might be spared our lumbering government and constant tinkering with trivia like when someone can buy a drink.

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  57. RRM (10,099 comments) says:

    4. A move to a republic will probably lead to a written constitution, which would generally be desirable

    That rather depends on what the written words are.

    Our current system seems to work. We elect a parliament, and the parliament makes laws, and the courts (which we don’t elect because they are merely technicians not policy makers) expertly uphold those laws. GG is a more or less meaningless rubber stamp on said laws.

    What value would a President add?

    And LOL, got to admit Cullen’s a funny bastard…

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  58. Bob R (1,421 comments) says:

    ***A move to a republic will probably lead to a written constitution, which would generally be desirable ***

    Why?

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  59. SteveO (77 comments) says:

    I agree with those commenters who are asking why we need a Head of State. However, if it turns out that we do need one – either because Australia has one already or there is some IMF loan that we can’t get without the HoS signing the application papers – how about filling the position by lottery. All of us who fancy three years swanning around the world being wined and dined in style could chip in $20 to buy a ticket and, with the obvious qualifications that you have to be on the electoral role and neither a politician nor a criminal, whoever wins the lottery gets the job with the costs offset by the entry fees.

    You could even have the drawing live on TV, hosted by Jason Gunn, Paul Holmes and a Page 3 girl from Huntly.

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  60. RRM (10,099 comments) says:

    ^^^ SteveO’s onto it. Best suggestion so far.

    Inevitably there’d be a bit of fallout when 21yo NZ President Shane “Mush” McSmith gets snapped looking down Michelle Obama’s front at a diplomatic dinner with the G20 or whatever, but other than that it sounds like a pretty sweet system.

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  61. burt (7,428 comments) says:

    So when Dr. Cullen was trampling roughly over the conventions that define our democracy so his precious Labour party wouldn’t need to stand in court for stealing $800,000 worth of tax payers money and he arrogantly stated ‘where is it written we can’t’ – the answer would have been – In our constitution… the one that states you are not above the law and the one that prohibits you from using parliament as a play thing for your own best interests.

    Bloody typical response from Cullen though, when in Govt the unconstrained power of the half Westminster system was perfect for him but now that other people are in charge he has woken up and thinks that perhaps it is time we had a bit more control. What complete self serving muppets he and his team were for 9 years.

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  62. wikiriwhis business (4,200 comments) says:

    No one wants change. Everyone is too scared of the economic conditions.

    Anyway, why can’t we have a monarchy and a constitution

    Is it unconstitutional??

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