TV3's The Vote asks if we should ditch the royals

TheVoteTV3’s The Vote will next week debate New Zealand’s relationship with the royal family.

Duncan Garner and Guyon Espiner will lead teams debating whether or not New Zealand should part way with the royals.

This month, Duncan Garner and Guyon Espiner are heading to Wellington’s Soundings Theatre (Te Papa) to lead a debate on whether we should ‘ditch the royals’.

A coin toss has determined Guyon will lead the ‘For’ and Duncan the ‘Against’ teams, with broadcaster and lawyer, Linda Clark charged with keeping the debaters in line and on topic.

Once in a generation a child is born to rule over us; a King or Queen in waiting. Any day now the Duke and Duchess ofCambridge – William and Kate – will have a son or daughter destined one day to be King or Queen of New Zealand.

But will that child ever make it to the throne? Prime Ministers from Jim Bolger to Helen Clark and John Key have all said it’s “inevitable” that New Zealand will become a republic. Many expect us to abandon the monarchy in the next few decades and opt for a home-grown head of state as we mature as a nation.

Yet ‘Kate and Wills’ and the prospect of a new heir have rejuvenated public interest in the royal family and the fairytale of “The Firm”, no more so than in New Zealand. Under six sovereigns New Zealand has remained a stable democracy, complete with links to a heritage and family of nations bigger than the sum of its parts. If we abandoned the monarchy, what would that mean for the flag, the Treaty of Waitangi, even our OEs?

So with the birth of a new heir comes a once in a generation chance to ask – is it time to ditch the royals?

Guyon Espiner says: “It’s absurd that our head of state inherits the position, which is based on the other side of the world and must be an Anglican! It would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious. Do people realise that we can’t pass any law without the consent of the Queen’s representative, who is also the Commander in Chief of New Zealand?

“Come on New Zealand it’s time to finally grow up, cut the apron strings and ditch the royals. It’s our country – we need a home-grown head of state.”

Duncan Garner says: “It ain’t broke so why fix it. The Queen is hugely adored and loved by Kiwis. Why replace her with a new head of state? It’s a ridiculous proposition supported by people who want Helen Clark, Sue Bradford or even John Minto to be our first President.

“It’s simple. Wills or Keith Locke as our future head of state? I know who I am with. We’re already a modern, mature and grown up society without having to change how we are governed – or who governs us. I’m with the Queen on this one. And she doesn’t cost us a cent.”

Joining Duncan and Guyon next week are six panellists:

FOR – Led by Guyon

• Sir Bob Jones is a property investor, author and former politician. He was knighted in the 1989 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to business management and the community. Jones believes the British monarchy is irrelevant because New Zealand has developed a new cultural identity. He says many new migrants have no affinity with the Queen and it’s time to abandon not only the monarchy, but our current flag and anthem as well.

• Shane Jones is a Labour MP and spokesperson for Maori Affairs, Regional Development and Forestry as well as associate spokesperson for Finance. Born in Northland, Shane’s tribal links are to Te Aupouri, Ngai Takoto and he has Welsh and Dalmatian heritage. Jones thinks we should become a republic as soon as we can sort out how the Treaty of Waitangi would work under a new constitutional make-up.

• Laila Harre is a former lawyer, trade unionist and was an MP for the Alliance Party between 1996 and 2002. During this time she was a Cabinet Minister for Women’s Affairs, Youth Affairs and Statistics. In 2010, she returned from a position with the International Labour Organisation to become an adviser for the Green Party in New Zealand. Harre finds the monarchy anachronistic and feels they’ve turned into a celebrity family rather than our nation’s rulers.

AGAINST – Led by Duncan

• Simon O’Connor chaired Monarchy New Zealand before becoming National’s MP for Tamaki in 2011. His background includes work in both Auckland’s commercial and community sectors. O’Connor trained to be a Catholic Priest, but chose instead to work hands-on in environments such as prisons and schools. He worries about the dangers of electing a political New Zealand President as head of state which could destabilise what is now a solid, reliable and democratic system of government.

• Louise Wright is the editor of the New Zealand Woman’s Weekly. She has a wealth of experience in publishing as former editor of New Idea and Woman’s day, as well as former editor-in-chief of The Australian Women’s Weekly (NZ). Wright has covered the royal family for many years, both the farcical Fergie years and its resurgence since the wedding of Kate and Wills. She believes the role of the monarchy is stronger than ever, as it evolves to reflect modern times.

• Ron Mark is the Mayor of Carterton and formerly a New Zealand First MP between 1996 and 2008. Mark has a strong military background, serving in the New Zealand Army as well as for the Sultan of Oman. As a former Major, he swore allegiance to the Crown to protect the democratic rights of New Zealanders. Mark believes the monarchy is an integral part of our whakapapa. Ditching the monarchy would undermine the Treaty of Waitangi, our founding document signed between the Crown and Maori.

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Brad
  • a knight of the ni

    if you ditch them, what happens to the big OE.. wonder if the visa privileges Kiwis enjoy would disappear.

  • pea.brain

    sounds like a borring debate to me, knowing tv3 i am surprised that it wasnt about home and away being poached over to tv2 hahaha

  • Daniel

    This is one of the easiest topics that they could choose for a debate. Also, it’s one of the lamest topics.

    I think most NZers couldn’t care less and just keep it the way it is. I think there are far more important topics that are worth more of a debate.

    • David

      I agree 100%. I think most NZers don’t care either way. Whether we have royals or not makes no difference to my day to day life.