The republic debate

September 2nd, 2010 at 11:34 am by David Farrar

About to hear from and on . Dr Cullen described himself at morning tea as a “moderate monarchist” and not too far away from Dean Knight whom he called a “moderate republican”.

is the Chairman. He has been talking for around five minutes so far. I should run a book on whether he will end up speaking for longer than the actual speakers :-)

Heh. Dean just said that after reading in the Herald on Sunday that Dr Cullen now supports NZ becoming a republic, he wondered if he should just sit down and claim victory. Jim Bolger retorted that instead he should just not read the Herald, which got good laughs. It seems Dr Cullen feels they mis-stated his position.

Dean advocates a minimal change republic. Promote the Governor-General from being the effective Head of State to the actual Head of State – but with the same powers.

The selection of the Head of State should not be hereditary, discriminatory and foreign, Dean said.

The GG is currently effectively appointed by the Prime Minister. Dean advocates that Parliament should approve any appointment by a super-majority.

In terms of the Treaty obligations, Dean states these have already been transferred from the British Crown and Govt to the NZ Government, and these would not be affected by a move to the republic.

Dr Cullen has said that the GG is indeed our effective head of state. He points out the unusually, the selection is purely by the Government of the day.

He rejects the notion that the Queen is foreign, and that being a monarchy means we are not independent. He says countries like Australia and he UK are not fully foreign, as other countries are. Also says Canada shows you can be regarded as absolutely independent yet they have kept the Queen.

Cullen says if no change is made, Charles will become King of New Zealand automatically when he become King of the UK, even though he will probably be 80 when it happens.

Cullen totally against Judges being able to strike down laws on the basis of supreme law. Will lead to highly politicised Judges. Says if the move to a republic is dependent on having a written constitution as supreme law, then both Charles and Williams will have happy reigns as Kings of New Zealand.

Says if NZ Head of State has executive powers, then elect at large. But if they have no executive powers is silly to have an election for it, as they will have nothing to run on. I agree.

One amusing observation made by Bolger is that he and Cullen are old sparring partners, but now are the Chair and Deputy Chair of NZ Post!

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35 Responses to “The republic debate”

  1. Guy Fawkes (702 comments) says:

    A Republic is always going to be up for debate. Just wish the aforementioned all round losers and toerags were simply not given any creedence. They are all Yesterday Men.

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  2. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    The republic should be up for debate – I am disgusted that Keith Locke’s bill wasn’t allowed to reach select committee, effectively shutting down the debate.

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  3. Jimbob (641 comments) says:

    It will never happen while the country is in the toilet.

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  4. grumpyoldhori (2,361 comments) says:

    David, you want self serving politicians to pick our head of state ?
    You believe they can be trusted not to put one of their own in the job ?

    Nah, I prefer to keep the Monarchy with the GG being picked by a popular vote with the winner having to get over 50% of the vote.
    Hmm, a trust worthy person to be GG, Willie Apiata VC would fly in, legal knowledge needed, bollocks, mouthpieces are available for hire.

    [DPF: But why have an election for a position with no executive power? As for MPs, I have said numerous times it would be simple to exclude former and current MPs from being eligible for the Head of State role]

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  5. OTGO (538 comments) says:

    “In terms of the Treaty obligations, Dean states these have already been transferred from the British Crown and Govt to the NZ Government, and these would not be affected by a move to the republic”
    So what is the point of becoming a republic?

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  6. Graeme Edgeler (3,282 comments) says:

    I am disgusted that Keith Locke’s bill wasn’t allowed to reach select committee, effectively shutting down the debate.

    Keith Locke’s bill was so shoddily drafted that its making it to a select committee would have set back the cause of republicanism in New Zealand by a decade or more. I am disappointed it even got a first reading debate without being laughed out of Parliament.

    see: http://publicaddress.net/6588

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  7. Repton (769 comments) says:

    Cullen totally against Judges being able to strike down laws on the basis of supreme law.

    Suppose we have two laws that contradict each other. The law is sufficiently complex that I’m sure this is the case. What happens at the moment if it becomes an issue in a trial?

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  8. RRM (9,784 comments) says:

    What I am finding hardest to comprehend here is the idea of Bolger as a funny bugger. Never would have thought that.

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  9. davidp (3,576 comments) says:

    >He rejects the notion that the Queen is foreign

    How could you possibly reject this fact? The Queen was born in the UK, lives in the UK, owns several properties in the UK and none in NZ, has never lived in NZ, rarely visits NZ, and all her children and grandchildren were born in and live in the UK and none are married to NZers. If she is actually a NZer then I’d like to know how that happened.

    On a different note… One aspect of becoming a republic is that our head of state would then be subject to NZ law. At the moment our head of state is subject to UK and European law, including succession laws that discriminate against catholics and women. It would be perverse if court rulings from London or Strasbourg governed aspects of NZ’s constitutional arrangements.

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  10. tvb (4,326 comments) says:

    I trusst Michael Cullen will have more substantive remarks to make beyond making pointed observations about the personality disorders of some members of the royal family. Cullen cannot resist playing the man rather than the ball.

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  11. kowtow (8,186 comments) says:

    A republic is a state “in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives…….”

    We are a republic in all but name.

    What we are now,a constitutional monarchy works for us now ,let’s leave it that way.

    Let’s honour our history,heritage and culture that has built a relatively wealthy,stable and decent society that through it’s ties to Britain and the Commonwealth was and is truely a player on the world scene.

    Let’s not allow Irish Republicans or English socialists influence our future and warp and distort everything that was and is good about New Zealand .

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  12. Fot (252 comments) says:

    Well said Kowtow.

    It is disingenuous of the Republican movement to say they want to “debate” the issue, if that idiot Bolger and his lot had their way there would be no debate at all, they would make NZ a republic “by lunchtime”.

    The very last people who should have a say on being a republic are those of Irish Republican stock, they can keep their mindless bigotry where it belongs.

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  13. SteveO (76 comments) says:

    I made the following suggestion on an earlier blog but not until a day or two after the initial posting so I suspect it will still be new to many here.

    With a non-executive HoS (which I suspect most people would be happy with) there is an alternative to electing them or having the politicians appoint them. Choose them by lottery. All of us who feel we could do a good job of representing New Zealand at State Banquets in exotic parts of the world – particularly when they coincide with major sporting events – could buy one or more tickets at say $20 each with the winner declared President for the next two or three years and the takings of the lottery going towards offsetting the costs of the position.

    It would be easy enough to limit entries to NZ citizens with no criminal or political history – or whatever other restrictions you may care to include.

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  14. Jack5 (5,014 comments) says:

    …One amusing observation made by Bolger is that he and Cullen are old sparring partners, but now are the Chair and Deputy Chair of NZ Post!

    No wonder the l postal system is going backwards. Snail mail all round.

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  15. s.russell (1,601 comments) says:

    grumpyoldhori ,
    I am 100% with your desire to have a non-political head of state. But I think your reasoning is exactly backwards.
    If we have an election for the job we will get a politician – by definition. None of the people you (and I) would like to see in the job would run for it. And you would have to become a politician to win it. We’d get Helen Clark or Jim Bolger or (God preserve us) Winston Peters.
    If politicians choose the officeholder, they will choose people who won’t overshadow them or try to steal their authority: ie they will avoid pollies like the plague – especially if a 75% majority of Parliament is required – because no politician is ever likely to get the endorsement of both sides.

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  16. grumpy (255 comments) says:

    Things must be getting a bit hot at the UNDP

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  17. Bill Bennett (31 comments) says:

    Britain may choose to become a republic before New Zealanders get to vote on the issue.

    What do we do then?

    Britain has been a republic in the past. Hopefully next time around there won’t be a civil war to decide the issue.

    I’ve always been a republican. I had to keep quite about it for years because the word is often confused with support for Irish terrorism.

    Today there’s a wider acceptance of the idea. It has moved on to the radar. Although it still isn’t hugely popular. The last opinion poll I saw – and I’ve been Googling to find it without success – found around 30% of poms are in favour of a republic.

    This may change when Queen Elizabeth dies and Prince Charles moves up to the big chair.

    The old girl is getting on a bit, so if I was in charge of New Zealand I’d at least start thinking about what comes next.

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  18. eszett (2,396 comments) says:

    We are a republic in all but name.

    What we are now,a constitutional monarchy works for us now ,let’s leave it that way.

    How does that make any sense? We are a republic, but let’s pretend that we are not. How does that work well?
    Arguments for preserving that status quo are mostly nostalgic and emotional and not based on any facts or rwality.
    If not they play some obscure fear that it could be this person or that person (insert anyone you dislike).

    It is remarkable how the same people who loudly call upon democracy on every occasion defend such an undemocratic, obsolete and antiquated institution. It continues to amaze me how little pride and confidence they take in our nation and our democracy

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  19. Murray (8,844 comments) says:

    At some point you republican thrashers are going to have to work out the difference between resuscitation and necrophilia.

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  20. Viking2 (11,368 comments) says:

    One amusing observation made by Bolger is that he and Cullen are old sparring partners, but now are the Chair and Deputy Chair of NZ Post!

    Birds of a feather fly together!

    Hard to tell them apart. Both arogant pricks.

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  21. RRM (9,784 comments) says:

    Fot: Well said Kowtow.

    x2

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  22. backster (2,141 comments) says:

    S RUSSELL……..”especially if a 75% majority of Parliament is required – because no politician is ever likely to get the endorsement of both sides.”

    Don’t kid yourself mate how else did CULLEN and CLARK get to where they are today….They do deals.

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  23. kowtow (8,186 comments) says:

    I’ll spell it out for you eszett.

    The quote is a dictionary definition. By that def. we are in effect a republic ie the people are supremewe elect our govt.

    But of course we are not “constitutionally” a republic,we are a “constitutional monarchy”,a mechanism that has served Britain well since the late 1600’s and indeed the other English speaking democracies since then to today. .

    The British system has seen it and Europe and indeed the Commonweath through major international crises like WW2 and the Cold War,real threats to democracy and freedom,and NZ was a part of that, we can be proud of that.

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  24. Guy Fawkes (702 comments) says:

    I think the idea of NZ actually becoming a Monarchy will rely largely on immaculate timing.

    ER11 is not looking like hanging up her boots right now. She makes Victoria look like a part -timer.

    If Charles ever gets the top job, I will eat my hat and show my bum on the steps of Bolton Town Hall.

    It is safe to assume that William will get the big Chair, and with that combination of youthful charm and the

    older generation being happy with the status quo. The current system, much preferred by Maori will be retained for the

    forseeable.

    That Cullen has shifted position is no real surprise. He would love his old Boss Helen to get the Prezzi Job here.

    Shower Pressure regulation all around, and more control than a flight simulator in ‘Safe Mode’ for multiple destinations in the

    Root Directory.

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  25. John Ansell (874 comments) says:

    In Switzerland, the (largely part-time) politicians refer to the people as the sovereign, such is their respect for that stable country’s direct democracy.

    This is the system we should be working towards.

    The Swiss politicians can pass whatever laws they like, but those laws don’t come into effect for 100 days.

    In that time, anyone can get up a petition to overturn the law, and with only 50,000 signatures (25,000 in NZ terms) it triggers a binding referendum.

    Have a read of Amy Brooke’s ‘100 days – Claiming Back New Zealand’ site here: http://www.100days.co.nz/

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  26. eszett (2,396 comments) says:

    The British system has seen it and Europe and indeed the Commonweath through major international crises like WW2 and the Cold War,real threats to democracy and freedom,and NZ was a part of that, we can be proud of that.

    I believe the US had a large part to do with Britain making it through WWII and the cold war. I can’t see that the monarchy defended Britain against anything in the last century. Democracy, sure, but the monarchy? How would have Britain been worse off if it hadn’t had a monarch as the Head of State?

    It is an absolutely deadbeat argument, based on nostalgia, nothing more.

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  27. Stuart Mackey (337 comments) says:

    eszett (686) Says:
    snip
    It is an absolutely deadbeat argument, based on nostalgia, nothing more
    *******************************

    In my case its also based on absolute distrust of politicians, whom I would not trust to set up a PTA committee without rigging it to keep them selves on it, alone alone anything to do with the nations constitution.
    Republicanism in this country is nothing more than a symptom of our headlong rush into self inflicted international obscurity and irrelevance, Samoa writ large. The Monarchy gives us a semblance of class, style and the memory that we used to be able to see beyond the end of our own collective nose.
    Oh, and keeps the politicians from potentially making things worse, I wouldn’t rust that lot of spavined sack lickers with the constitutional nuclear option with a ten foot barge pole.

    This of course being up another issue, who are Bolger et al and the current crop of politicians to push this issue? I am sure that the public will get barrages of propaganda as a softener, then be asked to rubber stamp one of a number of self serving ‘choices’ that the politicians will have drawn up by themselves or otherwise rigged in their favour by a chosen proxy. I say that such matters should not be in the hands of politicians, they can only be trusted to deliver government of the poltiicans by the politicians for themselves and their chosen mates.
    Sadly politicians are a necessary evil, to mitigate their behavior its not them who should be drawing up the rules of the game, but us, the people.

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  28. Pete George (23,434 comments) says:

    In Switzerland, the (largely part-time) politicians refer to the people as the sovereign, such is their respect for that stable country’s direct democracy.

    This is the system we should be working towards.

    The Swiss system has shown to have obvious flaws, eg:

    Women were granted the right to vote in the first Swiss cantons in 1959, at the federal level in 1971 and, after resistance, in the last canton Appenzell Innerrhoden in 1990.

    Hardly a model democracy.

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  29. bobux (349 comments) says:

    Fot, kowtow

    “The very last people who should have a say on being a republic are those of Irish Republican stock, they can keep their mindless bigotry where it belongs.

    You don’t do irony, do you.

    I look forward to your ‘debate’ where only those who can prove English heritage and loyalty to Her Royal Highness are permitted to speak.

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  30. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    Nothing will be gained for communities by becoming Republican

    The Nat/Lab coalition have us so used to living on a shoe string there will be no economic iniatives offered.

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  31. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    And hey Viking….

    both arrogant rich pricks!

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  32. kowtow (8,186 comments) says:

    Bobux; I don’t deny anyone their right to an opinion. I am pointing out what may be the motivation for these attacks on our constitution ,history,culture and democratic way of life.

    eszett; I did not say the monarchy as such,you twist and turn ,I said the British system,and that is a constitutional monarchy with all the law ,history and traditions that go with it. Churchill was well aware of that.The British people were too. Where did they go to celebrate their victory,to church and the palace.A symbol of unity ,strength ,continuity,loyalty, even piety and tradition.

    Funny that,in 1940 the French with their huge land army couldn’t summon any strength or spirit to withstand the Nazis ,maybe that’s what republicanism can do for a nation.

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  33. bobux (349 comments) says:

    Kowtow

    I suppose I should be grateful you don’t mind other people having opinions. As long as they don’t get to “influence our future”. Presumably that privilege is reserved solely for people who you agree with.

    And your argument that being a republic caused the collapse of France is laughably weak. At the same time as Germany (not a monarchy) conquered France (republic), they also defeated Denmark (monarchy), the Netherlands (monarchy), Belgium (monarchy) and Norway (monarchy). You could argue things were going all their way until they invaded the USSR (not a monarchy), and the USA (republic) entering the war put the final nails in the coffin.

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  34. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    John Ansell :

    The Swiss politicians can pass whatever laws they like, but those laws don’t come into effect for 100 days.

    In that time, anyone can get up a petition to overturn the law, and with only 50,000 signatures (25,000 in NZ terms) it triggers a binding referendum.

    That does sound like a model democracy to me. Yet Pete (7:20am) screws his nose up at the length of time it took for Swiss women to get the vote. They are unrelated issues.

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

    The republic debate

    What debate? I haven’t heard this come up in the staff cafe recently. Just another media beat up?

    Or is it just amongst the mysterious “elite” that FoxFiction keep referring to?

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