About to hear from Michael Cullen and Dean Knight on republicanism. 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”.
Jim Bolger 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!