Banana republicans

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Republicans are bananas!

New Zealand Republic is the website for the Republican Movement of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Let’s check out the case for a New Zealand republic.

(But first, check out the Republican Movement’s logo above. What is it? A stylised letter ‘R’? A misshapen black nodule? Or a badly drawn smiling frog-face? Whatever it is, our people do not want it disgracing our national flag.)

The case for a New Zealand republic sets out the main arguments for why New Zealand should become a republic. They fall into three categories:

Independence — New Zealand should have a New Zealander as the head of state;
Nationhood — the constitution and head of state of New Zealand should reflect New Zealand’s national identity, culture and heritage;
Democracy — New Zealand should have a democratic and accountable head of state.

In this post, I’ll take a look at the Republicans’ argument that we need a New Zealander as the head of State, under the heading “Independence”.

Independence

New Zealand will not be fully independent until we have a New Zealander as head of state. New Zealand likes to think of itself as an independent country. However, it cannot objectively be argued New Zealand’s current head of state represents this.

Never mind the head of state. New Zealand will not be fully independent while half of its citizens are dependent on state welfare. That’s a much bigger problem to address.

As the United Kingdom’s one-time head of state, Margaret Thatcher, once said, “there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It’s our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour.” How are we to look after our neighbour when we, ourselves, are reliant on government largesse? New Zealand society will never be independent until such time as its men and women and families are no longer reliant on state welfare handouts and “tax breaks”.

Add to this the fact that the New Zealand’s external debt is the vicinity of $90 billion dollars. We have a long way to go before we can declare our financial independence from foreign lenders.

A republic means a New Zealander as head of state

“Is New Zealand to continue to have an appointed Governor-General… or should we move to an elected president? This will not happen because of any lack of affection or love for our Queen in London, but because the tide of history is moving in one direction.” – former Prime Minster Jim Bolger.

Do we really want someone like Jim Bolger as our head of state? Or Margaret Thatcher? Or John Key?

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I’m not a stalwart royalist like my mum, but I’m more than happy with the Queen. Next to spending time with my family, Her Majesty’s message is the highlight of my Xmas Day. (BTW, Happy Birthday Your Majesty!)

Our current head of state is not a New Zealander and does not represent New Zealand. When the Queen travels overseas, she does so in order to represent Great Britain.

The Queen works to strengthen British economic and political ties, and does whatever the British Government asks of her. In fact, whenever “our” head of state visits New Zealand, the Queen has to ask for permission from the British Government to leave Britain.

You have got to be kidding. She’s the Queen! Her subjects answer to her, she doesn’t answer to them!

If the Queen wanted to be a citizen of New Zealand, she would not meet the legal requirements to become a citizen. The Citizenship Act 1977 requires an applicant for New Zealand citizenship to have been resident in New Zealand for five years before citizenship is granted. The Queen has spent a total of no more than six months in New Zealand.

The Governor-General is not a proper head of state. While the Governor-General may increasingly act in ways that befit a head of state, the reality is that New Zealand is still not regarded as being fully independent of Great Britain. Appointing the Queen’s representative in New Zealand is inadequate. A New Zealand head of state will make it clear that New Zealand is an independent country. It will signal New Zealand’s independence and maturity to the world.

I’ll be honest. I don’t actually know who the current Governor-General is. And that’s exactly how it should be. A head of state so off the radar that only Wikipedia knows his or her true identity.

Deciding the rules for ourselves

In recent years, the British Parliament has attempted to amend the succession law. The problem is the Statute of Westminster 1931, the law which granted independence to Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Oops! Looks like the Republicans just shot themselves in the foot. By their own admission, New Zealand has already been granted independence!

The Statute requires “consultation” on changes to the succession before any changes to the succession law. While this provision is not binding, it is still an important constitutional convention. The most recent attempt in 2008 failed for this reason: the British Government did not want to have to consult with all the parliaments of the Commonwealth realms. New Zealand’s Parliament could change the law of succession unilaterally, but that would go against the convention established by the Statute of Westminster. Change can only be enacted if the governments of all the 15 Commonwealth realms are consulted, probably by Britain. In a republic, the rules governing New Zealand’s head of state will be made solely by the New Zealand Parliament. They will change as New Zealanders decide they need to, not because of events in Great Britain.

Er, well, that’s it. Pretty lame, huh. (Part 1 of 3.) So far, I’m fully not convinced that New Zealand needs to become a republic. And, as I commented on Facebook yesterday

Why do we need “a New Zealand republic with an independent head of State.” I can’t think of a good reason. Change? Why change? Haven’t you people got more pressing concerns?

If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.

25 thoughts on “Banana republicans”

  1. This would qualify as an ignorant rant using any measure you care to name…. A person who can’t even bother to find out the GG’s name, when his appointment was controversial, and talked about through the mainstream media really has no right to claim credibility on issues like this….
    This post amounts to badly cobbled together assumptions, and personal glorification of ignorance, and bigotry….coupled with small minded denigration, based on the arrogance personified by the supporters of the current political elite…

    I don’t have strong views on this particular issue, apart from considering it rather pathetic that every piece of legislation passed by parliament has to be “rubberstamped” by the queen before it can be enacted…So much for true independence….But this kind of second rate drivel being passed off as “informed comment” does no favors to any but the ignorant, and bigoted.. and that use is simply as an opportunity to practice their skill at personal denigration over debate…..

    And I DO have strong antipathy to this sort of dishonesty being used as a debating tool…time to grow up guys….Our future is too important to be left in the hands of limited thinkers…

  2. On a more positive note I think the Republican party has done itself proud with their work for Fathers Rights.
    This is a seriously neglected issue. The Tyranny of the feminist Nanny state is particularly horrible for separated Fathers who bear the full brunt of IRD Rape.

  3. A person who can’t even bother to find out the GG’s name, when his appointment was controversial, and talked about through the mainstream media really has no right to claim credibility on issues like this….

    I think you’ve missed the point. The GG doesn’t affect my daily life. Or yours. In any way. I don’t need to know who the GG is. I don’t obsess about the fine points of NZ’s constitutional arrangements.

    I have more important things to worry about. Don’t you?

  4. Lewis Holden responds.

    Puerile and childish

    Submitted by LJ Holden on 3 June, 2013 – 09:44

    Eternal Vigilance is a libertarian blog for which Richard Goode is a contributor. Last night he wrote a strange diatribe on our Facebook page. He claimed he would demolish our case for a New Zealand republic – instead in the blog post he’s written he’s made a number of fundamental errors.

    The first is that he thinks our logo is a proposal for a New Zealand flag. It isn’t – that is clear from our first statement that we are not campaigning for change the flag (which is obviously a related issue, but not one we’re campaigning on). Second, he clearly doesn’t understand the difference between a head of State and a head of government. Third, he doesn’t understand the difference between full independence (a head of State of our own) and the legislative independence the Statute of Westminster 1931 granted.

    Instead, there’s the usual puerile and childish name-calling that our opponents always seem to engage in. I would’ve been inclined to write a proper response to Richard had he not been so childish (as he was last night on our Facebook page). He’s promising a three-part demolition, if that’s the case then his first effort falls short of the mark.

  5. All I care about is an elected Governor General. It’s ridiculous that this position is effectively appointed by the Prime Minister of the day. That’s the fox in charge of the henhouse.

  6. Hi Richard,

    Last night I had a conversation with Lewis Holden on his Facebook page.

    No, you wrote a series of strange comments on the Republican Movement’s page. I can’t see how asking the same question over and over, even after it was answered, is in anyway a conversation. You asked if I was open to debate, I said sure, but somehow you missed that.

    Today, his half of the conversation seems to have disappeared. Could it be that Holden deleted his remarks to make the conversation look like a strange diatribe?

    No, we hid all the remarks. Only you can see them. We (there’s four admins on the RM page) decided this was best as in 22 comments all that was proven was that you hadn’t read a single word confirming your question.

    As for the title of the blog I wrote in response, I stand by it. Calling us names is puerile. Repeating the same question over and over despite getting an answer is childish.

    I’m happy to debate with anyone who wants to be reasonable. People who name-call and generally act like children, not so much.

  7. You asked if I was open to debate, I said sure, but somehow you missed that.

    That’s not my recollection of our conversation. Is it yours?

  8. My recollection is that our conversation went like this.

    [Richard] Would you like me to go through your arguments one at a time and demolish them?

    [Lewis] Richard – sure, but since you’ve already shown your mind is closed on the issue, what’s the point?

    [Richard] My mind’s not closed on the issue. Is yours?

  9. Hi Richard,

    There’s your answer. Not sure why you keep re-litigating that point. I actually expected something along the lines of what you’ve written above to follow, but instead you were unable to move on from the question above.

  10. Lewis, I’m happy to go through your arguments one at a time and demolish them (already demolished one) … but since you’ve already shown your mind is closed on the issue, what’s the point?

  11. Hi Richard,

    I figure this is either very dry satire or you really do believe asking the same question over and over constitutes an argument. Either way it’s pointless.

    As for the substantive point you made, I concede that you have in fact completely and utterly demolished our argument. Scarily without knowing the difference between a head of State and a head of Government. I’m not sure what we’re going to do when you demolish all the others. Maybe start name-calling?

  12. What’s your version of republicanism (and your argument for it), Reed?

    I don’t have a version of republicanism but here are my musings: starting with this question… “perhaps I am supposed to submit to the Crown but what about people that refuse to be subject to Crown rule?”

    How is the Crown’s authority established?

    Someone once said to a supposed authority – “You have no authority over me at all, except what was given to you from above.”

    Has the Crown been given special (God given) authority or does it just have the same (God given) authority that we all can exercise over people when the situation justifies it. God didn’t give authority to anyone to act unjustly. Anyone doing what is just is acting justly.

    My conclusion is that we are all supposed to be peers – not subjects.
    The rightful authority of the Crown is that of a peer. A strong peer. The Crown should serve the just and dominate the unjust. But the nature of the Crown is that it dominates over everyone and serves itself. The “Crown” represents absolute authority.

    The problem is that the Crown presumes to have authority that it doesn’t.
    An election won’t fix that problem.
    Replacing the Crown with a president won’t fix the problem either.

  13. Reed, that’s brilliant! 🙂

    You might make a republican out of me yet. Or, more likely, an anarchist. 😉

    My conclusion is that we are all supposed to be peers – not subjects.

    What are your thoughts on Romans 13? I feel a blog post coming …

  14. Does the govt have more pressing concerns? I don’t think so.
    The anti- smacking bill
    Changing the definition of the word ‘marriage’
    ‘living wage’
    That bill which slightly altered how public holidays are treated re weekends
    Bills which say which Iwi gets official title over what resource

    Clearly, these examples show that the govt is either bored and filling in times with trivial matters, or simply dumb! Waiting for the day the govt realizes these policies are ad hoc solutions which heavily detriment any prospect of economic success. This bullshit is what’s keeping the NZ welfare poverty cycle and exploding debt going as strong ad ever!

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