Friday, September 09, 2022

Bring on the republic

When I was a child, the foreign monarch visited New Zealand. They marched us all out from school and had us stand by the side of a road to watch a car go past, and it was absurd and boring and meaningless, pretty much like the monarchy itself. For most of my adult life, Aotearoa has been sleepwalking towards a republic, with every recent Prime Minister saying its "inevitable", but never doing anything to make it happen. The conventional wisdom, spouted by most politicians, has been that the time for change was when the incumbent died, and not before.

Well, that just happened. And once the body is buried, its time for politicians to fulfil their promise and let us make the move.

Obviously, such a change would need to be endorsed by a referendum, so the process will take a couple of years. As for the nuts and bolts, Dean Knight helpfully provided a guide for the minimal reform - which changes nothing while changing everything - in his 2020 paper A Republic for New Zealand: A Possible Blueprint in the Tradition of Minimalist Reform. That would rid us of the foreign monarchy and replace the appointed Governor-General with a government-nominated, Parliament-endorsed Head of State, clearing away the royalist baggage without the distraction of other issues, and leaving us free to decide what other changes we might want to make later.

The archaic ideology of monarchy is completely at odds with the values of modern, democratic Aotearoa. And now the incumbent is dead, it is finally time for us to move on.