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Dunne: NZ could be a republic within five years

Media Statement
Embargoed until 6pm,
Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Hon Peter Dunne
MP for Ohariu
Leader of UnitedFuture

Dunne: NZ could be a republic within five years

New Zealand could become a republic within five years, according to UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne.

Speaking at the launch of The New Zealand Republican Handbook at Parliament this evening, Mr Dunne said New Zealand could make the transition to a republic relatively quickly, if public and political will permitted.

He proposed a three-stage process:

• A binding referendum as early as next year on whether New Zealanders wished to have their own head of state.

• In the event of a positive outcome, a further binding referendum in 2012 on whether the head of state should be elected or appointed, and to confirm the powers of the head of state.

• The transition to the republic could then occur during the Parliamentary term commencing in 2014, when the new head of state would be chosen and take office.

Mr Dunne said this was a realistic and achievable timetable, which allowed for maximum public involvement.

“My strong personal preference is for an elected non-executive President, along the lines of the Irish model.

“This is very akin to our current situation with the Governor-General, but I passionately believe having our own head of state is a powerful statement of New Zealand’s independence and nationhood.

“At the same time, it would not compromise our Commonwealth status – India, Singapore and South Africa are already examples of republics within the Commonwealth,” he said.

Mr Dunne said he was “deeply frustrated” by politicians who seem to acknowledge that it is inevitable that New Zealand will “one day” become a republic, but who do not want to do anything to progress the issue.

ENDS

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