Vote over republic falls at first hurdle</a>
By Audrey Young
4:00 AM Thursday Apr 22, 2010
A bill setting up a referendum on republicanism was defeated in Parliament last night at its first reading, 68 votes to 53.
The Head of State Referenda Bill in the name of Green MP Keith Locke provided for a referendum with three options on how New Zealand should select its head of state.
The three options were the status quo of the British monarch being the head of state, a New Zealand head of state determined by a 75 per cent majority in Parliament or a head of state directly elected by the people under a preferential system.
The bill allowed for a second referendum if none of the three options got 50 per cent of the vote.
The two top options would have had a run-off referendum.
Mr Locke said the debate was about national identity, not like or dislike of the Queen or the royal family.
"The present Queen has been competent in the performance of her duties and she turns 84 this very day. I wish her a happy birthday."
But he pointed to the inherent conflict of interest in the Queen being head of state of two independent countries which had different foreign policies.
"When Britain sent troops into Iraq, the Queen, as Queen of Great Britain, went down to the barracks in military dress to support the soldiers.
"That was in conflict with her role as Queen of New Zealand - a country which opposed that same war."
He said it was important to have a head of state who could operate with true independence under MMP.
National's Tauranga MP, Simon Bridges, said he had been "chuffed" to see Prince William have a barbecue and beer with the Prime Minister recently, but who was New Zealand's head of state was not an issue with which he concerned himself.
Labour supported the bill, MP Charles Chauvel saying New Zealand could be an independent country and stay in the Commonwealth.
Hat tip: <a href=http://madmonarchist.blogspot.com/2010/04/monarchist-victory-in-new-zealand.html>The Mad Monarchist</a>