Debating republicanism

Dan Moskovitz blogs on why he doesn’t support a republic. They’re valod points but I thought I would respond with my views:

It risks giving a political party too much power. If a president is aligned to a political party, they will have every reason to block bills that their party does not support. This could result in political deadlock.

The easy way to prevent this is to require the appointment of the President to have a 75% majority in Parliament. This would ensure non-partisan appointments.

It makes sure we still have good ties with the UK. The fact that we are still technically under the control of the crown means that the UK and us will still have good relations. As the UK is still absolutely a world power, this is very advantageous.

I think we will have good ties regardless. We will remain members of Commonwealth and still have royal tours etc. We will still be in Five Eyes. We still will have a shared cultural heritage and language. And nothing will change that the UK founded the modern New Zealand (recognising Aotearoa existed before that).

It reminds us of our history. Both the good and the bad when New Zealand was a colony was done under the name of the crown. While the Queen is our head of state will be forced to both confront the bad and embrace the good of NZ history. If there was a president, there would be an easy excuse.

I don’t think having the Queen as head of state has any significant impact on us confronting our history. The US no longer has the British Monarch as head of state and they know their history.

The Treaty was signed between the Maori tribes and the crown. The treaty is what makes sure we treat both Pakeha and Maori equally. If we get rid of the monarchy, what happens to that agreement?

There is no change at all. The NZ Government many years ago become the Treaty partner to Maori, replacing the British Government. The Crown has always been symbolic, not actual.

The Queen doesn’t have a political opinion. Ok, well she probably does, but she probably doesn’t have a political opinion relevant to New Zealand. A president will. Especially if they are a party based, their political views may influence their actions.

Prince Charles has plenty of opinions and shares them widely. But regardless the Queen is represented by a Governor-General and the GG does sometimes express some political (not partisan) views.

At present the GG is appointed on the sole discretion of the PM. In a republic the President would need the support of 75% of Parliament (in my preferred model) so would be less likely to be political.

Finally, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

I prefer to look at it this way. Why not have a New Zealander as the Head of State of New Zealand, instead of someone born into a German-Greek family that lives in the UK?

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