Republic Referendum Bill selected in ballot

Keith Locke’s bill which would allow the public to vote in a binding referendum on our head of state has been selected from the ballot, after many years on the ballot paper.

I remarked a couple of weeks at the launch of the Republic of New Zealand handbook that Keith seems to be the only Green MP without the luck of the ballot, but this has changed now!

Keith’s bill is online here.

I hope all MPs will support it at first reading, regardless of their personal views on the merits of the monarchy vs a republic. This is about letting the public have a debate and a vote. Or at the least, all parties will allow MPs a conscience vote on it.

The bill would trigger a referendum at the next general election after it is passed, on whether to “continue with the Sovereign as head of State, or to change to either a head of State appointed by a vote of at least 75% of the House of Representatives, or a head of State directly elected by the people.”

If a majority vote for change, then a year later a second referendum is held between the two most popular options. So the first ballot would be a choice of three options:

  1. Vote for the Sovereign to continue as NZ’s Head of State
  2. Vote for a Head of State to be appointed by at least 75% of the house of Representatives
  3. Vote for a Head of State to be directly elected by the people

And the two most popular options would go forward to the second referendum. In all probablity this would be option (1) and one of the two other options.

The bill is not perfect, but is totally deserving of select committee consideration, so the public can have their say on whether they want there to be a binding referendum, and if so what form that should take.

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