A poll by Fairfax-New Zealand/AC Neilson published in the Dominion Post, The Press and other papers finds that only twenty-seven per cent of voters think New Zealand should become a republic, but 63 per cent want to retain links to the monarchy.
The poll has been ignored by the Australian media, which is usually excited by the slightest suggestion of republicanism.
Perhaps some of our subscribers might tip them off!
In a finding consistent with polling in Canada and Australia, support for a monarchy is strongest among the youngest voters and the oldest voters – 68 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds oppose New Zealand becoming a republic, while 69 per cent of voters aged 55 plus oppose it.
That is something republicans just don’t understand.
Not do those who repeat the mantra :" A republic is inevitable."
It is not! We demonstrated that in 1999.
I was told soon after by a republican that it won’t be so easy for us next time.
We had most politicians, the media, money and platoons of celebrities against us.
But back to the NZ poll.
According to The Press the results show an apparent tailing off in interest in a New Zealand republic over the past year. The last major survey, a Sunday Star Times/BRC poll in May 2004, showed 41% of Kiwis wanted to choose their own head of state while 50% wanted to stick with the British Royal family.
Needless to say this question is ambiguous. It is weighted towards a Yes vote.
That is why the Australian referendum is so fair. It ensures all the details are on the table before the vote-not after.
Reporter Sean Scanlon points out that this latest poll was conducted in the aftermath of the London bombings and at the end of the British and Lions rugby tour which featured a high-profile visit from Prince William.
The reporter recalled that the young Prince charmed Kiwis during his brief visit and showed that a glamorous royal could still attract public interest, while the bombings stirred New Zealanders’ strong emotional links with Britain.
But there was probably other factors.
The poll was taken not long after the marriage of Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. In Australia this created major interest, with large TV audiences early on a Sunday morning.
The attempt of the republicans in Australia to besmirch the couple fell very flat indeed- they misread the decency of the Australian rank and file who believe in a “fair-go”.
The interest was probably equally high in NZ, where the NZ republican movement is weaker.
In addition, republics and presidents have not had a good press lately. Reflecting this the NZ republican movement president Dave Guerin conceded, as Malcolm Turnbull once did, that many people are repelled by the words “republic”and “president”.
He said that the number favouring a republic would be 5 per cent to 10 per cent higher if the question asked should the Queen be replaced by a New Zealander.
"Essentially, becoming a republic is about New Zealanders having a chance for the top job. We should be representing ourselves to the world"
That is not our experience.
The only president who gets any attention when he visits Australia is the President of the USA.
But if, say, the Prince and Princess of Denmark come, that is a different thing.
This is called the “magic of monarchy”, Mr Guerin. Monarchist League chairman Noel Cox said he was not surprised by the poll result.
"People place the emphasis on the system not the personalities. People like it that there is not a political aspect to New Zealand’s head of state."
"Most people recognise that we are talking about New Zealand constitutional arrangements which really don’t have all that much to do with our relationship with Britain today."
"A republic is quite an esoteric concept by itself."
As to the Australian media, imagine if the poll had said that New Zealanders overwhelmingly want a republic.
There would have been wallpaper headlines.
The commentariat would have been beside themselves.
Instead what do we have?
Until next time,