Prince Charlie has a lot to commend him. He’s quite a greenie, with his own organic garden – and he’s dead against GE foods. But he shouldn’t be King of New Zealand.
Surely, we’re big enough and old enough to have our own head of state. It’s embarrassing that our proud, independent nation in the South Pacific is still an appendage of Mother England. Why not just cut our tie to the British monarchy?
It’s not difficult to do. I have drafted a Private Members Bill (which is not a Green Party Bill) called the Head of State Referenda Bill which would allow New Zealanders to make a choice between the present system and a republic.
The bill gives you three options: the present monarchy, a directly elected head of state, or one appointed by 75% of Parliament. I am not suggesting an all powerful American-type President, just a Kiwi head of state with the same powers as our current Governor General.
Royalty runs against the grain for many New Zealanders. The Kiwi way is to treat everyone the same. It’s not in our nature to glorify someone just because they have the right Mum or Dad. In some ways I pity Charlie because he has to live up to some mythical idea of how a Prince or King behaves. He can’t do it. At bottom, he is just an ordinary person, with his own shortcomings and foibles.
Prince Charles, an upper-class Brit, hardly symbolises our vibrant multi-cultural nation. Even many Britons think the monarchy, as an institution, is a bit weird. According to the Laws of Succession, Catholics are forbidden to sit on the throne, and women rarely get a look in. Even if Princess Anne had been older than Charlie she wouldn’t have become Queen.
The present monarch is first and foremost Queen of England, not Queen of New Zealand, as we found out during the Iraq war. Queen Elizabeth went off to a military barracks hailed the British troops going off to Iraq. She didn’t back our government’s opposition to the invasion. One Queen (or King) can’t serve two masters.
At bottom, being tied to the monarchy offends my sense of nationhood. I want New Zealand, a confident multi-cultural nation, to make its own way in the world. My father migrated here from London, and I respect our British heritage. But in the 21st century we have to move and become fully independent.