Labour apears to be inching closer towards republicanism, with delegates at its annual conference in Christchurch giving the green light to a proposal to hold a binding referendum on whether to ditch the monarchy on the death of the Queen.
At yesterday’s conference the party agreed to send a remit on the proposal from prospective Wairarapa candidate Kieran McAnulty, who is also treasurer of the Republican Movement, to a full vote from delegates today. Sources say it is likely to pass without dissent.
That’s good to see. Whether we retain the monarchy or have a New Zealand Head of State is a decision that should be made by the people through a referendum – not by politicians.
The move comes as a new poll shows a small majority of New Zealanders are in favour of such a referendum.
The Republican Movement poll, conducted by pollsters Curia, showed 47 per cent of New Zealanders supported the idea of a referendum on the Queen’s death, with 44 per cent against and 9 per cent uncertain.
A poll in June on support for a republic found 40 per cent support to 53 per cent against.
Note they are two very different questions. The latest poll is on whether people think there should be a referendum. The June poll was on whether people think we should move to a republic. One could well support remaining with the monarchy, yet also support there being a referendum to decide the issue.
Personally I think there would be a vote to change to a republic, if there is a referendum. The recent debate on The Vote showed a dramatic change in preferences from the studio audience after they had listened to the issues for an hour. They started in favour of retaining the monarchy and ended up fairly strongly backing moving to a republic.