Sometimes a campaigner for handing over all power to the political class and turning us into a politician’s republic is at least honest enough to reveal the republican movement’s full agenda. The official line is usually limited to having a resident Head of State. One such campaigner is Sir Robert Jones.
Sir Robert, or perhaps Sir Bob, is a New Zealand property tycoon, who started the short lived New Zealand Party in 1983. He disbanded that after the 1984 election.
Sir Robert told Anthony Hubbard of the Sunday Star Times (28/2) that he approved of Green MP Keith Locke's bill for a referendum with three choices – keeping the Queen, replacing her with a president elected by popular vote, or with a president elected by 75% of MPs. If none of the choices gains half of the votes in the referendum, there would be a run-off between the two leading options in a second referendum.
Unfortuantely these are not real referendums as the Swiss or the Australians would understand them. Rather they are plebiscites, the sort of device the two Napoleons liked.
The difference is that with a referendum, the details are on the table before the people vote. With a plebiscite, the details are filled in later.
What New Zealanders would be asked, if this bill passes, is to give their politicians a blank cheque.
… blank cheque for a politicians’ republic, new flag, anthem and the end of…. New Zealand…
Sir Robert said he supported the Bill because the British monarchy was no longer appropriate in a country with such a broad range of cultures and races. When he walked down Auckland's Queen St last week,
"I said, God, I was the only European face around. I mean, I like that. You'd swear you we're in Hong Kong or something. These people are New Zealanders, [but] they don't relate to Queen and country stuff."
Then he revealed the republican agenda. New Zealand, he said, needed to change its "silly" name, its flag – "apart from the symbolism being wrong, aesthetically it is such a disgrace" – and the "embarrassing" anthem.
Keith Locke says he believes there will be enough support in parliament to send the bill to a select committee. Whether it ultimately passed would depend on the public debate, because many people were still uncertain about the issue. However, he said very few now believed that New Zealand should have a British monarch as head of state "forever".
…so predictable, but I'll keep the title….
This is all so predictable. As in Australia, the usual elites – celebrities and retired politicians – support the move. They all talk about having a New Zealander as Head of State. And again predictably, not one of them is talking about improving the governance of New Zealand.
And Sir Robert, ever so predictably, has not renounced his title.
But at least he has let New Zealanders know what else is on the elites’ agenda. All they are asking for is that New Zealanders sign a blank cheque.