Well said Phil

September 5th, 2010 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The HoS reports:

Becoming a republic would be the “making of New Zealand as a country” and we need to start talking about it now, according to Labour leader .

In the most direct call for change from any senior politician yet, Goff said the end of Queen Elizabeth’s reign was the logical transition point.

“Succession of the monarchy is the time to have a head of state who is a New Zealander,” said Goff. “We need to start the conversation now. Don’t rush it. Fully consult the people of New Zealand. It’s a major change and needs a reasonable consensus.”

Now, Goff has told the Herald on Sunday that when he was foreign minister and trade minister, people he spoke to, particularly in Asian countries, were often confused that New Zealand’s head of state was from another country.

He said discussion about becoming a republic would be a lengthy one that dealt with issues around the Treaty of Waitangi and the flag.

“Let’s begin a formal process now,” said Goff. “Where do we want to be in 20 years?”

It’s nice to have a political leader who will not just say this is a question for the future, but who recognises that we should be starting a process to decide now.

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80 Responses to “Well said Phil”

  1. Offshore_Kiwi (499 comments) says:

    Yes indeed. A Republic. With a Constitution. And a Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights. And an end to handouts to underserving minorities who believe they are entitled to handouts because of the most misinterpreted document in history.

    Bring it on, I say (and I’m a first generation kiwi!)

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  2. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    There is a special name for peoople who try to force a minority government onto the majority.

    It isn’t “democratic” by the way.

    But you keep thrashing that dead horse, doesn’t make you look myopic at all.

    [DPF: By force, you mean put it to a referendum??]

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  3. Pete George (23,476 comments) says:

    This sort of open, honest, common sense statement from Goff makes him look good. He is right on the button with this. It can’t happen straight away but the process needs to start now. The outcome is inevitable, it’s just a matter of time.

    A referendum on “Should New Zealand have it’s own head of state after the Queen dies” would be interesting. But a decent exploration of options first is needed.

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  4. tvb (4,364 comments) says:

    I simply cannot see Prince Charles having any appeal as our Head of State and as for Prince William he is far too charismatic to be a constitutional monarch. So the process needs to start. But personal insults about the Royal family from Michael Cullen and others are not going to get the process started.

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  5. peterwn (3,243 comments) says:

    Unfortunately, Offshore Kiwi, there are also going to be demands for a Beneficiaries’ Bill of Rights, a Worker’s Bill of Rights, etc, etc. It is these sorts of things that stuff up progress towards constitutional reform.

    The other thing is a constitution often aims to solve today’s problems and in doing so leaves open problems for the future. For example the US Constitution is regarded as excessively pro property rights and pro unrestricted gun ownership, this being to deal with concerns at the time, but whch are far less relevant today.

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  6. Bevan (3,923 comments) says:

    So what Phil is saying is, that the best way to celebrate Queen Lizzie’s death is to become a republic…

    Hang on a minute…

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  7. Don the Kiwi (1,706 comments) says:

    Probably the only time I will ever agree with Phill Goof.

    We should’ve started the process 20 years ago – even further back in the 70’s with the British East of Suez policy.

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  8. flipper (3,985 comments) says:

    Actually, if one takes philly’s comments as accurate, they say more about the quality of the briefing provided by other nations’ ‘crats (to their Ministers et al) than about our constitutional arrangements. Labour’s unilateral Privy Council descision was a costly disaster. Why should we now take notice of a professional politician (whose only other job outside academia was as a freezing works employee) who supported that move.
    Self aggrandizement dear philly, self aggrandizement………

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  9. eszett (2,401 comments) says:

    Murray (5,908) Says:
    September 5th, 2010 at 10:16 am
    There is a special name for peoople who try to force a minority government onto the majority.

    It isn’t “democratic” by the way.

    There is a special name for inheriting the position of the head of state

    It isn’t “democratic” by the way.

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  10. kowtow (8,323 comments) says:

    The political elite are hard at work here,and DPF is part of that elite.

    Before the republic debate why not a more pressing one on how undemocratic the sham Citizens Initiated Referendum process is and how it blocks what could be argued is true republicanism ie the will of the people.

    Sorry can’t have that ol’boy,we the elite like to tell you lot what to do,so fuck off.

    Note too how the momentum to this republican bullshit is building, the pack smell an opportunity.I wish they’d get on with the real problems we have.

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  11. Fot (252 comments) says:

    Damn well said Kowtow.

    We will be pushed into being a republic against the wishes of the majority by a small band of the political elite, these Bolger inspired morons will stop at nothing to have their way.

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  12. backster (2,152 comments) says:

    I also see this movement as akin to the Global Warming Movement and the overall Socialist Internationale aim of Global Government../If these movers and shakers truly believed they were acting out of the National Integrity interest they would first promote flag raising, anthem singing, and re-affirmation of an oath of allegiance daily in our schools, instead they are adamantly opposed to any such thing. More gravy is the ulterior motive.

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  13. Pete George (23,476 comments) says:

    We will be pushed into being a republic against the wishes of the majority

    It would only be decided be a majority via a referendum.

    they would first promote flag raising, anthem singing, and re-affirmation of an oath of allegiance daily in our schools

    That’s not for the many people who don’t like a foreign looking flag, a bombastic religious anthem, or swearing allegiance to a queen from the other side of the world.

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  14. kowtow (8,323 comments) says:

    I love Phil’s in depth thoughts on the matter ; Treaty and flag and dumb Asian leaders who don’t understand.

    I’ll bet none of those Asians come from the Commonwealth!
    More likely “comrades” or kleptocrats!
    Why listen to them ? He should have taken the opportunity to tell ‘em “we have an ancient , democratic,longstanding and stable system of govt that goes back over a thousand years and evolves to the benefit of our citizens.Similar countries are Australia and Canada. Look at the prosperity and stability and unique ties these share and value. How are your coutries and people doin’?”

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  15. Guy Fawkes (702 comments) says:

    You presume that ER11 reign is going to end. Not sure that we can actually count on that!

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  16. kowtow (8,323 comments) says:

    I’m happy with the flag we have. It represents our history and heritage.

    I don’t want a foreign looking republican tricolour! Nor any minority appeasing tino wavy nonsense.

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  17. grumpyoldhori (2,362 comments) says:

    Add Goff’s name to those to be shortened up by Her Majestie’s loyal company of wood choppers.
    Put DPF’s name at the top :-)

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  18. redqueen (555 comments) says:

    Yes, we need to ‘start discussing’ it now. It’s interesting that if the answer came back as, ‘No, we like being a monarchy’ then those who support this would not be such happy bears. Also, I’d point out that the third option, that we have a New Zealand-based monarch, won’t be put to a vote, instead favouring a politician or a foreigner. What great options.

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  19. Guy Fawkes (702 comments) says:

    Think Princess Helen of UN would dearly like to be Queen of NZ or A.

    Just think how much fun that would be.

    An extra House or two for Klark.

    What happened to that big fuck off Station that Gummint bought so that she and the flat mate could walk around a lot?

    Besides killing off loyal German scouts/spies of course.

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  20. Fletch (6,295 comments) says:

    Goff is just jumping on the topical bandwagon of the time; it makes him look good.

    The Goff Recipe

    1) Read the paper.
    2) Choose a topical issue.
    3) Support/criticize said issue by mouthing what others have said
    4) Bake until the next election, or until golden brown

    If you really look into it, a Constitutional Monarchy is the best.

    Most of the stable and prosperous democracies in the world today are constitutional monarchies. On the other hand, most of the unstable countries in the contemporary world are republics, many of which have overthrown their monarchies.

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  21. Hagues (703 comments) says:

    “Becoming a republic would be the “making of New Zealand as a country” and we need to start talking about it now, according to Labour leader Phil Goff….”

    DPF “It’s nice to have a political leader who will not just say this is a question for the future, but who recognises that we should be starting a process to decide now.”

    Lets not kid ourselves and pretend that you think there is a question to decide the answer to. The problem with those who want a republic is that they have already decided it is going to happen and therefore the “process” that they want to start now rather that in the future, is the process of implementing their decision. They make out that it is definately going to happen sooner or later so might as well start doing it now.

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  22. Guy Fawkes (702 comments) says:

    If the switch to a Supreme Court from the Privy Council anything to go by. Then the Republicans are going to be pushing water uphill convincing the rest of us that Phil Goffs great new idea is a good thing.

    Interesting to see the sentiment in Oz has gone right off the Rep agenda.

    It is a subject matter dear, and close to the hearts of the liberal elite’s best chardonnay.

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  23. James Stephenson (2,153 comments) says:

    Phil G’s talking but all I hear is this kind of scraping barrels sound…

    As an import pom, I don’t have a particular opinion on NZ as a republic, but I’d love to see England as one.

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  24. Jack5 (5,053 comments) says:

    Told you all that Farrar had been kidnapped and brainwashed by a cult – of republican socialists and general commies.

    Politicians who dream of a republic – Klark, Gaffe and co, all dream of being one of the first presidents – limos, heads on coins, more-more-more power.

    NZ has too small an economy to thrive as an independent First World country. We need to start talking about how we can fix that now. By merging into Australia.

    If we don’t, the socialist-commies-and-others in the republicans will need to move before Will and Harry have got their hands on the sceptre. Young Kiwis will go with them.

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  25. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    “We need to start the conversation now. Don’t rush it. Fully consult the people of New Zealand. It’s a major change and needs a reasonable consensus.”

    These words, coming from any member of the Clark government, need to be treated with absolute distain.

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  26. Paulus (2,607 comments) says:

    The Maoris will not allow it, whatever.

    The 73 words of theTreaty will be interpreted so.

    So!

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  27. Jules Jewel (36 comments) says:

    NZ has too small an economy to thrive as an independent First World country. We need to start talking about how we can fix that now. By merging into Australia.

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  28. Jules Jewel (36 comments) says:

    Lets become an Australian state. Banks, Business, most of the population of NZ are in Aussie. We could be a Pacific ‘bloc’ and become republicans with them.

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  29. eszett (2,401 comments) says:

    If you really look into it, a Constitutional Monarchy is the best.

    Most of the stable and prosperous democracies in the world today are constitutional monarchies. On the other hand, most of the unstable countries in the contemporary world are republics, many of which have overthrown their monarchies.

    You mean like the US, Germany, France, Portugal, Switzerland, Italy, Ireland, Finnland, Austria, etc, etc.

    If you really look into it, a constitutional monarchy is an anachronism, mostly based in nothing but nostalgia. A constitutional monarchy does not make make a democracy more stable whatsoever, that very argument is inane and contradictory.

    In countries like the UK, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Norway where the monarchy has been around for centuries such an institution may have some nostalgic value and some justification in history.

    In young countries like NZ and Australia is is completely outdated and certainly without any merit to our country or our democracy.

    Time to grow up.

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  30. Scott (1,780 comments) says:

    I am happy with arrangements as they are. I love the institution of the monarchy and the stability it has given us.
    I hate the immature rabble rousers that are at the heart of the republican movement.

    And more than anything I hate the idea of years and years of President Helen. Remember republicanism will bring in President Helen-that you can count on.

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  31. pq (728 comments) says:

    We are dreaming.
    Our dollar is a third world currency.
    We are insular, small and meaningless.
    Our children go overseas and earn real money.
    Why would a graduate earning $US, or $AUD, or Euro come back to the cold small country.
    We can forget about the Republic of smallness.
    We need to be the eighth state of Australia.
    peterquixote

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  32. pq (728 comments) says:

    Jules Jewel (36) Says:

    September 5th, 2010 at 4:15 pm
    NZ has too small an economy to thrive as an independent First World country. We need to start talking about how we can fix that now. By merging into Australia.

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  33. MT_Tinman (3,136 comments) says:

    F@%$ this republic thing.

    Let’s have a good ol’ dictatorship.

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  34. dion (95 comments) says:

    Yes, good idea. Let’s throw away another piece of our country’s heritage for no good reason.

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  35. Pete George (23,476 comments) says:

    I hate the immature rabble rousers that are at the heart of the republican movement.

    Unlike the “mature” scaremongering based on nothing like this?

    And more than anything I hate the idea of years and years of President Helen.

    No serious republic promoters have suggested any ex politician be president. It hasn’t got anywhere near the the stage of deciding if we have a president. Rabble rousers are trying spurious scare tactics

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  36. reid (16,290 comments) says:

    If you really look into it, a constitutional monarchy is an anachronism, mostly based in nothing but nostalgia. A constitutional monarchy does not make make a democracy more stable whatsoever, that very argument is inane and contradictory. In young countries like NZ and Australia is is completely outdated and certainly without any merit to our country or our democracy. Time to grow up.

    Someone summed up the arguments really well the other month when DPF again saw fit to put his perspective on this.

    I can’t do as well but my take is: it’s not currently broken, is it? Therefore, why change. It’s not the person in charge at the current moment that makes a monarchical democracy. It’s the whole framework. Was removing the Privy Council a good move, in terms of whether we got more or less legal horsepower available to us? This is precisely the same.

    We have access to a global empire with resources we don’t have. And some want to ditch it, why?

    All the republican arguments boil down to ‘mouse that roared’ syndrome: i.e. cause we can cause we’re allowed to. The last time this befell the nation we got the nuke-free legislation that fucked us up good and proper for ages for precisely zero benefit.

    And now some advocate a repeat of the medicine.

    You republicans aren’t lefties in drag, are you?

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  37. Pete George (23,476 comments) says:

    Kids leave home even though “it’s not currently broken”.

    Our democracy isn’t broken, maybe a bit chipped around the edges, a few tweaks should improve it enough – but why not look at growing up, untying the knot with mother England (who has mostly deserted us anyway) and organise to manage on our own completely?

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  38. kowtow (8,323 comments) says:

    PM John Key on the news tonight about who has been in touch over the quake…..

    Gillard, Cameron and other Gov Gens………

    Like I’ve said before these are our historical ,natural friends, family even in a constitutional way. They look out for us as we do for them. Why distance ourselves from them,we should be strengthening our ties with them.

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  39. trout (937 comments) says:

    The Brown Table are patiently waiting for impatient pakeha to come to them with a proposal for NZ to become a republic. As in the past they will exploit the impatience of pragmatic pakeha to extract maximum benefits ( a new treaty even) that will burden the country into the future.
    As an aside, Trout anglers have been camping and fishing at the Flaxy Lakes in the Kaingaroa Forest for years. As a consequence of the Central NI forestry settlement between the Govt and Maori, anglers were excluded for what seem to be spurious reasons. The local MP for Rotorua, Todd McLay, has expressed his dismay at this eventuality; his excuse is that “the settlement was rushed and the Govt. did not have time to settle access issues’. Think Foreshore and Seabed.

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  40. reid (16,290 comments) says:

    “…why not look at growing up, untying the knot with mother England (who has mostly deserted us anyway) and organise to manage on our own completely?”

    Because there has never been a knot to untie, Pete. We aren’t on the UK’s apron strings, we’re ruthlessly exploiting her access to Europe and the US to push our own interests.

    How do you think we’ll fare if we lose that channel?

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  41. reid (16,290 comments) says:

    “The Brown Table are patiently waiting for impatient pakeha to come to them with a proposal for NZ to become a republic.”

    trout I’d heard Maori actually want the Crown since it signed the treaty and they fear losing that direct connection.

    If the deal about a Republic involved re-writing Te Tiriti, it just wouldn’t happen, simple as that.

    So I recommend you Republicans push vigorously for that, at full steam.

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  42. Pete George (23,476 comments) says:

    I think most people accept that it wouldn’t make a lot of difference to our democracy if we dropped the monarchy, we are effectively governing ourselves now anyway. So either way it doesn’t seem to be a big deal.

    But shouldn’t the people of NZ be able to decide democratically whether it changes or not? Just because some don’t want change is not a good reason to deny the right of others to investigate, and to choose.

    If it was looked at in detail, options suggested and then put to referendum I’d happily accept the decision which ever way it went.

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  43. reid (16,290 comments) says:

    And don’t mind any torpedoes, it’s for the cause.

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  44. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    I think we have more pressing democratic issues than the constitutional headship. Our elected leaders routinely lie, ignore the will of the people and transact in a ways designed to shore up their continued rule. We have an electoral system that allow the minor parties to negotiate backroom deals that lead for formation of governments. Fix these things then perhaps, just perhaps constitutional headship would make my radar.

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  45. reid (16,290 comments) says:

    I think most people accept that it wouldn’t make a lot of difference to our democracy if we dropped the monarchy, we are effectively governing ourselves now anyway. So either way it doesn’t seem to be a big deal.

    Point is Pete this is not an emotional decision it’s a rational “what’s in our best long-term interests” decision. Emotion and mouse that roared democratic have a say touchy-feely emotive considerations don’t enter into this question in anyway whatsoever.

    My problem is, this is the only argument the Republicans have.

    Face it, we will be worse off in terms of access to world markets, high circles and sheer diplomatic cache (and don’t underestimate the value of that) if we ditch the U.K. We will be. There is no argument.

    And for what?

    A nice warm feeling in our tummy’s, is all I can make out.

    Tell me something actual, ongoing and long-term in the real world, that would happen, which is a direct beneficial outcome of us becoming a Republic.

    But shouldn’t the people of NZ be able to decide democratically whether it changes or not?

    Why? We haven’t ever done it before.

    Just because some don’t want change is not a good reason to deny the right of others to investigate, and to choose.

    Yes it is.

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  46. eszett (2,401 comments) says:

    How do you think we’ll fare if we lose that channel?

    Just how does our constitutional monarchy exploit any access to the US or to europe? What access would we not have if we had our own head of state

    I can’t do as well but my take is: it’s not currently broken, is it?

    Depends what you define as broken. In what way does our Head of State represent us as a nation? What’s the connection and how does the head of state relate to us. How do we see ourselves represented in our head of state?

    Come King Charles it will be time to decide those questions,it is certainly necessary to start that discussion now.

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  47. eszett (2,401 comments) says:

    Face it, we will be worse off in terms of access to world markets, high circles and sheer diplomatic cache (and don’t underestimate the value of that) if we ditch the U.K. We will be. There is no argument.

    How? Just what will we not have if we change?

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  48. Pete George (23,476 comments) says:

    Face it, we will be worse off in terms of access to world markets, high circles and sheer diplomatic cache (and don’t underestimate the value of that) if we ditch the U.K. We will be. There is no argument.

    Your view. I think it can be argued. I’m sure others would argue it too. Shouldn’t it be argued? Or do you just want to shut down anything you disagree with?

    I think we have more pressing democratic issues than the constitutional headship.

    I agree, but I think countries can multi task. There were things far more pressing than a child discipline law tweak.

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  49. eszett (2,401 comments) says:

    A nice warm feeling in our tummy’s, is all I can make out.

    Actually that’s more a monarchist argument.

    The argument for a change is very rational. The head of state should be legitimised in some democratic form through the people of new zealand, be a representatative of new zealand and above all be a new zealander.

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  50. reid (16,290 comments) says:

    Just how does our constitutional monarchy exploit any access to the US or to europe? What access would we not have if we had our own head of state

    As I understand it, being a member of the Commonwealth opens doors otherwise closed. NZ is indeed a long-standing member of the international community and maybe her reputation will carry the day, but why risk it, when there is no pressing need?

    Depends what you define as broken. In what way does our Head of State represent us as a nation? What’s the connection and how does the head of state relate to us. How do we see ourselves represented in our head of state?

    That’s what I meant by the framework, which is everything. You have to admit, the British Colonialists were brilliant at designing lasting and benevolent institutional frameworks that have withstood the test of time. They are arguably the best in the world, superior even to the US’s. Why ditch it? Show me something that would change for the better, if we did.

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  51. reid (16,290 comments) says:

    Or do you just want to shut down anything you disagree with?

    Absolutely.

    Why?

    Don’t you?

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  52. reid (16,290 comments) says:

    The head of state should be legitimised in some democratic form through the people of new zealand, be a representatative of new zealand and above all be a new zealander.

    Even if it costs us a fuck of a lot in the long term with what precise ROI? As I said, show me a real actual long-term positive outcome that will eventuate vis-a-vis our national wellbeing that we don’t already have, arising as a direct result of our turning into a republic. It’s a simple question.

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  53. eszett (2,401 comments) says:

    reid, you can remain a member of the commonwealth even if the monarch is not the head of state.

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  54. reid (16,290 comments) says:

    Yes absolutely you can, but why even go that far if there is no benefit?

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  55. Tauhei Notts (1,692 comments) says:

    If each and every hori bludger agreed and spelled it out in incontrovertible terms that their grievances were with the Crown and there was absolutely no argument with that;
    Then, and only then, would I want a republic;
    but only so that we could tell the bludgers to take their complaints to the Crown, and us New Zealanders would have no more worries.
    As a republic we would have nothing ever more to do with the Crown and people who have grievances with the Crown could then carry on with powhiris, koreros, hangis, tangis, huis and whatever else with the Crown, their kaumatuas and their heifer matuas. And you know what, I don’t think King Charles III would give a tuppeny half penny stuff about it all.
    footnote; I think a heifer matua is a young kaumatua.

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  56. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    There were things far more pressing than a child discipline law tweak

    I’m not sure turning 100’s of thousands of good parents into unconvicted criminals was a tweak, but I take your general point.

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  57. reid (16,290 comments) says:

    “footnote; I think a heifer matua is a young kaumatua.”

    Thanks for that clarification, Tauhei. I was confused until that came along.

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  58. eszett (2,401 comments) says:

    reid (4,794) Says:
    September 5th, 2010 at 8:51 pm
    Yes absolutely you can, but why even go that far if there is no benefit?

    the is no economic benefit, nor is there an economic downside.
    the argument is certainly not about economics.

    it’s about nationhood and democracy

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  59. reid (16,290 comments) says:

    “nor is there an economic downside”

    Maybe not but there is a definite diplomatic downside so where’s the compensatory upside?

    “it’s about nationhood and democracy”

    Which is touchy-feely warm tummy stuff. I’m very surprised how many conservatives are also republicans, given this obvious equation.

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  60. Pete George (23,476 comments) says:


    Or do you just want to shut down anything you disagree with?</blockquote"

    Absolutely.

    Why?

    Don’t you?

    No, I’m happy to explore, test, discuss, and go with the majority, you know, sort of democratically.

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  61. reid (16,290 comments) says:

    “No, I’m happy to explore, test, discuss, and go with the majority, you know, sort of democratically.”

    Fuck that Pete. That’s no fun at all.

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  62. eszett (2,401 comments) says:

    Maybe not but there is a definite diplomatic downside so where’s the compensatory upside

    what diplomatic downside?

    And what would be not touchy- feely for you then?

    Keeping the monarchy is equally touchy-feely by that standard

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  63. reid (16,290 comments) says:

    OK so the degradation if not complete loss of reliable access to an inner voice on the security council, is a real example.

    How’s about you giving one positive, then I’ll give another negative.

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  64. Jeremy Harris (319 comments) says:

    If you really look into it, a constitutional monarchy is an anachronism, mostly based in nothing but nostalgia. A constitutional monarchy does not make make a democracy more stable whatsoever, that very argument is inane and contradictory.

    In countries like the UK, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Norway where the monarchy has been around for centuries such an institution may have some nostalgic value and some justification in history.

    In young countries like NZ and Australia is is completely outdated and certainly without any merit to our country or our democracy.

    Time to grow up.

    Hear, Hear..!

    We have access to a global empire with resources we don’t have. And some want to ditch it, why?

    That explains why my NZ passport works in the UK with no visa requirements and we have an FTA with the UK… Oh no, wait…

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  65. Gwilly (158 comments) says:

    King Hide.

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  66. reid (16,290 comments) says:

    Yes I understand Jeremy that a lot happens behind the scenes, in the diplomatic world.

    My simple point remains. Why do this if there is no benefit?

    So far, there has been utter and total silence on this point from all of you republicans.

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  67. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    reid, I wouldn’t call myself a republican… but could be convinced to become one if faced with honouring a head of state who has said:

    The heir to the throne told an audience of industrialists and environmentalists at St James’s Palace last night that he had calculated that we have just 96 months left to save the world.
    Prince Charles

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  68. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    Sorry, bit mangled. Original text is here.

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  69. eszett (2,401 comments) says:

    there is a benefit. quite a big one as i have outlined before.
    one additional one is to rid ourselves of a completely undemocratic institution

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  70. Bevan (3,923 comments) says:

    there is a benefit. quite a big one as i have outlined before.
    one additional one is to rid ourselves of a completely undemocratic institution

    And to what detriment is that ‘institution’ causing us?

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  71. MT_Tinman (3,136 comments) says:

    Face it, we will be worse off in terms of access to world markets, high circles and sheer diplomatic cache (and don’t underestimate the value of that) if we ditch the U.K. We will be. There is no argument.

    I agree, arguing against utter bullshit is a waste of time.

    Nope, I’m for an elected dictatorship.

    Elect a man for three years, let the bastard do what he wants (except extend that dictatorship) then re-elect him or not.

    It is, after all, what we do now without the crap (local or Pom).

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  72. reid (16,290 comments) says:

    “reid, I wouldn’t call myself a republican… but could be convinced to become one if faced with honouring a head of state who has”

    kk, to me, in this arena, you’re saluting the uniform, not the person currently occupying it.

    I agree Charles hasn’t covered himself in glory over the years. I don’t care. To me, the occupant’s character is neither a positive nor a detriment. It’s a plus when they’re good as has been the incumbent. What other person in global politics has had such longevity and institutional memory. Tapping into that is a plus and who knows if William might not achieve the same?

    I don’t care mostly because the Sovereign exercises little to no practical decision-making power in that it’s exercised only under and after the most careful scrutiny and advice on very rare occasions the last time I believe being Gough Witlam.

    The very fact its rarely exercised means to me, that its safe: i.e. not abused, and we’re OK. So it’s not a downside.

    Whereas, as I keep asking, the upside is what?

    “there is a benefit. quite a big one as i have outlined before.”

    So which one is that, eszett?

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  73. Jeremy Harris (319 comments) says:

    From the Republican webiste to Reid’s eyes:

    http://www.republic.org.nz/debate

    Monarchies are much more stable and far more successful at protecting democracy than republics.

    Not true. Whether a country is politically stable has got little to do with whether it is a republic or a monarchy. A nation’s political history, wealth and geographic location are more accurate indicators. The Economists’ Democracy Index of the most democratic countries in the world, 13 of them are republics. Two, Finland and Iceland, out rank New Zealand. The Global Peace Index 2009 found 10 of the 20 most peaceful states are republics. The 2007 Freedom House survey of democracies found that of the 28 functioning democracies in the world, the majority (16 countries) were republics. The Global Peace Index 2009 found that 10 of the top 20 most peaceful countries were republics.

    Trying to taint all republics by pointing to weak and failed examples (which are often just republics in name only) is silly and simplistic. New Zealand is politically stable and has an exemplary democratic record. We have high levels of wealth, education and literacy. Corruption is low; the rule of law is respected. Fairness and good governance are expected at all times. We share these traits with Switzerland (a republic) and Sweden (a constitutional monarchy).

    New Zealand’s monarchy has a team of three people working at the top level of government, not just the usual one or two.

    No. The three people referred to, the Monarch, the Governor-General and the Prime Minister, are not a team. They do not work together and do not manage government business together. New Zealand is run primarily by the Prime Minister and cabinet. The cabinet is chosen by the New Zealand voters via their selection of the House of Representatives.

    The Monarch and Governor General are duplicate roles and neither of them plays an active role in the maintenance of good government. The Queen is an absent head of state and is very seldom in New Zealand. The Queen’s own website states on Her Majesty works as head of state of Britain and “represents Britain to the rest of the world.” Both the Queen and the Governor General are figureheads with no effective power to control parliament or the government. It would be easier and cheaper to simplify this arrangement and remove one of the roles altogether.

    Monarchies select their heads of state based on a fair and neutral process, not based on personal popularity, wealth, or through political scheming.

    No. This statement is clearly false. The selection of the monarch is not a fair and neutral process at all. Members of only one family are eligible and the entire selection process is predetermined by a range of discriminatory practices. Unless we become a republic then Prince Charles will be the next Monarch. New Zealand voters currently have no say as to who the next head of state will be.

    Overall, this type of argument is a cynical attempt to undermine the notion of a republic by characterising all political campaigns and elections as shallow and disreputable. It relies on the stereotype that all politicians and parliamentarians are all, ultimately, self-serving, dishonest and manipulative. It implies that if New Zealand were a republic, the head of state will have a lot of power, that he or she will be prone to corruption and/or that he or she will interfere in the running of government.

    There is no reason to expect this. If the office of head of state has a clear constitutional role with powers and responsibilities well defined in law, then there is little chance the office’s neutrality will ever being called into questioned. New Zealanders are fully able to elect good people to public office. Stereotyping parliamentarians and ‘politicians’ and denigrating democracy in this way does not encourage good political debate.

    Monarchies are more gender balanced, multi-cultural, and inclusive than republics.

    No. As with notions of political stability and democracy, it is problematic to link measures of gender equality to whether a country is a republic or monarchy. On gender balance republics outrank monarchies – of the top 20 countries in the world for gender gap, 11 are republics, including the first and second countries, Iceland and Finland.

    As for multiculturalism, it is true that Governors-General within the Commonwealth are often from diverse ethnic backgrounds. However, this masks the reality that the Royal family is a culturally exclusive institution, based on primogeniture (that is, males first) and by design is limited to heterosexual English males. This means that for all the diversity of culture and gender at the Governor-General level, the constitutional apex is still held by a family of exclusively English extraction.

    The claim republics are less diverse than monarchies in their leadership is simply not fact. Of the Republic of Ireland’s 8 presidents, two have been women, two have been protestants (in a Catholic country) and one has come from Northern Ireland. India, a country with a number of deep religious and social divisions, currently has a female President, and has previously had three Muslims, and a Sikh President. Despite what the monarchists say, republics are culturally inclusive. The issue is, however, not who the head of state (or their conduit in the Governor-General) is, but how they got there.

    In a world full of divisions and selfishness, New Zealand shares its head of state with 15 other countries.

    This is another subjective claim. The world is divided by many things, but to argue that it is characterised by a sense of selfishness among nations is debatable. It could just as easily be argued that the world is linked by shared interests and by notions of co-operation and interdependence.

    Irrespective of how the world is characterised, New Zealand is clearly a country that seeks out connection and agreement. Examples of this include New Zealand’s membership of the United Nations, The Commonwealth, the Pacific Islands Forum, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, OECD, the International Monetary Fund, and the International Olympic Committee.

    New Zealand is linked to all the other countries of the Commonwealth by our membership – regardless of whether we share their head of state. Having a head of state that divides her time between sixteen countries (and who prioritises, above all else, the affairs of the UK) does not work for New Zealand.

    The Queen is a completely apolitical head of state. She represents all New Zealanders regardless of their political views. This cannot happen in a republic.

    It is true the Queen is “apolitical” when it comes to New Zealand, but only because Her Majesty never intervenes in New Zealand politics – rendering the institution of monarchy as useless to New Zealand in any constitutional sense.

    Our Governors-General are, however, political, and often make political statements and attempt to influence governments behind the scenes. However, since governments have no reason to listen to them, and the Governor-General has no real policy-making powers, they are often ignored.

    The office of head of state exists to oversee the political process in accordance with constitutional law. In a parliamentary republic, the head of state is therefore a neutral political office. The person (or people) chosen for the role will be bound by law to uphold the responsibilities of the office. While they will have political viewpoints of their own these will be known to the public before they take office. Like all public servants the head of state will be obligated to put their own views aside in undertaking their official duties.

    A person who demonstrates their ability to act objectively and make judgments independent of their own political preferences is more likely to be chosen as the head of state than someone who hasn’t.

    Monarchies have statistically proven to foster greater trust between citizens.

    Try as we may we can’t find any actual evidence that monarchies foster greater trust between citizens. There is evidence from studies by the UN that trust between citizens and their governments has substantially decreased over the last thirty years. This is the same for monarchies and republics.

    Our monarchy is the least expensive political system available to the NZ taxpayers, and definitely provides the best possible value.

    This claim simply isn’t true. The 2010 Budget utterly disproves the claim – the Governor-General costs the New Zealand taxpayer around $7.6 million per annum. The President of Ireland, a country with about the same population as New Zealand and a parliamentary system of government, costs about $6 million per annum. The claim that the monarchy is cheaper is nonsense, as is the claim it’s a better system of government and provides “best possible value”, another subjective claim.

    Monarchy is government by a person, for the people, not government by a document for a document.

    This argument is an attempt to taint all republics as being like the United States, with a “written constitution”. But when it comes to written constitutions almost every constitutional monarchy around the world is subject to a written constitution. Only the United Kingdom and New Zealand are without one, while the only republic in the world that has an unwritten constitution is Israel.

    The monarchy adds more colour and ceremony to government. It is the art in government.

    This is a vague argument but one often used. In essence it is a claim that pageantry ceremonies and traditions are an important part of the way parliament and government operates. Regular ceremonies (particularly those held at the opening and closing of parliament) are seen as links to the past. The celebrations, costumes and rituals are symbolic and used to invoke important historical and cultural values.

    While all of this true, it is not the case that such things will disappear in a republic. Ceremonies, traditions and rituals that express our shared history will still be important but rather than relying on British traditions they will reflect the wider diversity in the New Zealand experience.

    I think this summary is good:

    – A republic will empower voters
    – A republic will get rid of outdated succession laws
    – A republic will make New Zealanders citizens, not subjects
    – A republic will clarify New Zealand’s foreign policy
    – A republic will affirm the separation of Church and state
    – A republic will bring the head of state home
    – A republic will signal New Zealand’s maturity to the world

    On a personal note, I think a post like this is great evidence how inevitable the change is… A largely conservative blog has about a 50/50 level of support and opposition – unthinkable even a generation ago, even the Monarchists are relatively low key in opposition…

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  74. reid (16,290 comments) says:

    Jeremy.

    Newsflash.

    We live in a monarchy, right here, right now. Are you trying to tell us we’re somehow oppressed, in some way? Somehow, less than free? Somehow, enslaved?

    – A republic will empower voters
    more than we already are? Precisely how? Which precise powers will the President have that the combination of the Sovereign and the PM don’t already have and successfully exercise such as this weekend, during this emergency?

    – A republic will get rid of outdated succession laws
    Who cares since it’s not broken?

    – A republic will make New Zealanders citizens, not subjects
    Who cares since it’s not broken?

    – A republic will clarify New Zealand’s foreign policy
    How?

    – A republic will affirm the separation of Church and state
    How and who cares, etc?

    – A republic will bring the head of state home
    Touchy-feely warm tummy.

    – A republic will signal New Zealand’s maturity to the world
    Touchy-feely warm tummy

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  75. eszett (2,401 comments) says:

    newsflash, reid. we live in a constitutional monarchy,reid.
    and the only institution that is not democratically legitimised is our head of state.
    The fact that the may be a King Charles of New Zealand for as long as he lives does not bother you?

    It seems to me that your only argument is that you want to keep holding on to your touchy-feely warm tummy.

    Why are you so against a democratically legitimised head of state? You could so far bring no arguments for keeping the monarchy other than that you like it.

    The fact that it is utterly and totally undemocratic dies not bother you?

    Bevan, that you even have to ask what the detriment is? How sad. So you are not interested in democracy, just because something suits you the way it is?

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  76. Jeremy Harris (319 comments) says:

    I notice you’ve only responded to the bullet points – not the points in full…

    I love the “it’s not broken” argument, I remember in debating our teacher told us that was the equivalent of saying, “Yeah, yeah well you’re a stupid face”… Even if I accept your premise (and I don’t) the absence of reason does not equal reason…

    A republic will empower voters

    A republic will empower New Zealanders by increasing their democratic rights. Having the right to choose the head of state is a basic and fundamental right. At present, the office of head of state is supposed to embody the state yet voters have no say in choosing who that person is. Becoming a republic will give power to voters and reinvigorate the democratic process.

    A republic will get rid of outdated succession laws

    A republic will give the state new legitimacy and encourage a wider culture of egalitarianism — the idea that no one is born ‘better’ than anyone else. The principles of a republic apply to all of the institutions of the state without exception. Equality in a republic will exist as a fundamental and irrefutable principle.

    At present, the Monarchy represents a system of social hierarchy and privilege. Its existence at the centre of New Zealand’s constitution upholds the belief that some people are innately better than others and so deserve more rights. The Monarchy represents a class system that promotes the idea that some people are born ‘better’ than others. Our current head of state is still chosen under archaic laws of succession. The Monarchy discriminates against all New Zealanders on the basis of gender, religion, birth, nationality, ethnicity, family status and political opinion. This contradiction highlights the irrelevance of the Monarchy to New Zealand. The Monarchy’s supporters have shown little support for reform of the succession laws governing the selection of the Monarch.

    A republic will make New Zealanders citizens, not subjects

    A republic will demonstrate that New Zealanders are committed to egalitarianism. A clear majority of New Zealanders believe in appointment by merit. It is a better system and achieves better results. New Zealanders would not accept a hereditary Prime Minister or a hereditary captain of the All Blacks — so why should New Zealand accept a head of state determined on the same basis? Even the Kīngitanga, New Zealand’s own monarchy, elects its head rather than choosing them solely by birth.

    A republic will clarify New Zealand’s foreign policy

    New Zealand is respected amongst the members of the United Nations as a country that obeys international law. We are a small nation but because we show respect to other countries and cultures, New Zealand’s views are listened to. New Zealand’s constitutional ties to the Monarchy interfere with and confuse this perception.

    For example, New Zealand’s Government did not support the US led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Yet New Zealand’s head of state authorised the invasion of Iraq by “Her Majesty’s Armed Forces”, as the head of state of Great Britain. If an Iraqi asked you to explain why New Zealand’s head of state supported the invasion, what would you tell them? The Monarch’s position is not a symbol of New Zealand’s political independence.

    A republic will affirm the separation of Church and state

    Most New Zealanders believe in the separation of church and state. New Zealand’s constitutional arrangements should reflect this. New Zealand is a diverse country with people of many different faiths and beliefs. The Monarchy is a barrier to New Zealand’s secular principles. Part of the Queen’s title declares Her Majesty as “Defender of the Faith”. In Britain she is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England. There is no reason why the head of a church should hold such a position. A republic will affirm that New Zealand’s head of state will be neutral on matters of religion.

    A republic will bring the head of state home

    In a republic, the head of state will live in New Zealand. They will work on behalf of all New Zealanders. They will be accessible and will remain connected to the concerns of ordinary New Zealanders. Having a New Zealander as head of state ensures that, politically, the buck stops here. The head of state will answer to, and speak on behalf of, the people of New Zealand. Becoming a republic would bring the head of state “home”, much like creating New Zealand’s own Supreme Court in 2003, removing the right of Westminster to legislate for us in 1986, or gaining legislative independence in 1947.

    A republic will signal New Zealand’s maturity to the world

    New Zealand needs to demonstrate and signal to the world its uniqueness and independence. There are plenty of people around the world who do not think or perceive New Zealand as being independent. Some think New Zealand is still a British colony; others think New Zealand is a part of Australia. For example, it is not easy explaining to many Japanese tourists why New Zealand’s $20 note has a picture of the Queen of Great Britain on it. The Japanese understand monarchy; they have one of their own. What they do not understand is why New Zealand keeps Great Britain’s as the head of state yet calls itself independent.

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  77. Pete George (23,476 comments) says:

    # Scott (694) at 5:57 pm

    And more than anything I hate the idea of years and years of President Helen. Remember republicanism will bring in President Helen-that you can count on.

    This sort of scare tactic keeps being repeated by some of the anti democratic head of state promoters. I’d hate the idea of years and years of President Graeme Burton, but that’s irrelevant and just about as ridiculous.

    Should we have laws preventing Helen Clark from becoming Prime Minister again? That is possible (but improbable) now.

    If New Zealanders democratically decided they wanted to become a republic,
    if a head of state separate to the standard political structure was a chosen option,
    if Helen Clark is still alive when this comes into being,
    if past politicians and prime ministers were allowed to stand for the position of head of state,
    if Helen Clark puts herself forward for the position,
    if Helen Clark is democratically elected to the position,
    what would be the problem with that? In a good democracy you need to accept the principle of majority vote.

    Obviously some people (a minority) wouldn’t like the result, but some people don’t like a foreign queen, and some people don’t like the idea of King Charles of NZ, and we have no say over who will be our head of state at the moment. What if the Brits revolt and throw the Windsors out of the palace and replace them with Tony Blair? That’s about as ridiculous as threatening Monarchy or Helen Clark.

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  78. david (2,556 comments) says:

    We are often told we punch above our weight by any global measure. IMHO this is because we are on the inside of the tent pissing out. Isolating ourselves as just another tin-pot republic (lets face it that is all we can ever be physically, morally and economically) will put us outside the tent pissing in and we will have lost our credibility bigtime.

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  79. KevinH (1,219 comments) says:

    To a large extent we are a republic now,so really it is just a case of formalising the situation by drafting a constitutution. The issues to be sorted would be finalising the Treaty claims and then negotiating with Maori the shape the new constitution would take.Before anyone jumps on their high horses regarding Maori just remember that they too have a significant interest in this country as well and are a part of the political and social landscape and to ignore that would be ignorant.

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  80. Bevan (3,923 comments) says:

    For example, New Zealand’s Government did not support the US led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Yet New Zealand’s head of state authorised the invasion of Iraq by “Her Majesty’s Armed Forces”, as the head of state of Great Britain. If an Iraqi asked you to explain why New Zealand’s head of state supported the invasion, what would you tell them?

    Well I for one would say to that Iraqi, that NZ’s head of state wasn’t the only person who supported the invasion.

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