Saturday, March 05, 2005

More on the republic debate

The Holden Republic has a detailed analysis of Keith Locke's Head of State Referenda Bill [PDF], which is currently in the ballot. The bill sets out a process for moving to a republic, involving a series of referenda to decide between the status quo, a directly elected head of state, or one elected by Parliament. Its biggest flaw is that it does not propose enough change - it is effectively aimed at introducing a "twink" republic, where the monarchy and Governor-General are simply twinked out and replaced by the head of state. I think that there are probably better options than this, and that the move to a republic also allows other constitutional changes to be made (such as limiting the power of Parliament with a justicable Bill of Rights Act, and possibly a more general "written constitution").

If this bill was drawn from the ballot, I'd want to see entrenchment of both the clauses governing the head of state's election and the Treaty clause (which states simply that "the rights conferred and obligations imposed by the Treaty of Waitangi continue as if this Act had not been passed" - a good compromise which recognises that the Treaty means something, but also recognises that exactly what it means is outside the scope of the bill). I'd also want to see an option for a Swedish style republic, along with some sort of push to codify exactly what powers the head of state holds (which would require seperate legislation). But like Lewis, I think that the bill is a good start, and as a picture of the simplest option available is a valuable contribution to the debate.


Isn't the Crown one of the parties to the Treaty? If we became a republic, wouldn't that effectively remove the Crown as a partner and nullify the Treaty?

Posted by Anonymous : 3/07/2005 06:22:00 PM

Haha that is indeed an opportunity - then maybe the maori can then sue England.

In reality the new system can pass the responsibility of the crown on to the new head of state or not whatever they want. It is likely that they would unless winston peters or maybe Rodney hide is elected primeminister.

Posted by Genius : 3/09/2005 09:59:00 PM