Even Prince Charles says NZ should be a republic

Chris Laidlaw writes in the NZ Herald:

There has never been much clarity as to Charles’ attitude towards countries like New Zealand – older Commonwealth dominions which are still ostensibly loyal to the Crown – but which are increasingly seeking their own identities out from under the old British cultural blanket.

An opportunity arose to talk to him about this when he visited New Zealand early in 1997.

A dinner had been arranged in Christchurch for him to meet a variety of outdoor-oriented people, mainly Canterbury farming grandees and captains of local agro-industries. I was included as a conservationist.

The conversation was not scintillating. Not even the best of Canterbury’s new pinot noir could liven it up, although I noticed the Prince of Wales was downing more than his fair share.

Pretty soon I was able to engage Charles in what amounted to a private conversation and I steered the subject round to constitutional matters.

Because he seemed to be particularly open and affable I asked him what his reaction would be if, as King, he was told that New Zealand wished to remove him as Head of State and become a republic. One eyebrow shot up. Had I gone too far?

“I take it you assume that will inevitably happen,” he replied, with just the hint of a wry smile.

“I do, and I support it,” I said.

“Well, to be frank, I think it would come as a great relief to all of us,” said Charles. “It would remove the awful ambiguity we have at the moment. It seems to me that it would be a lot easier for everybody if you all had your own completely independent head of state.

“I certainly never want to be dragged into any constitutional disputes in New Zealand or anywhere else. I simply can’t imagine how difficult it would be to be faced with having to dismiss a New Zealand Prime Minister.”

Prince Charles is right. It would be easier for everyone for New Zealand to have our own independent Head of State.


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