Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Monarchist League of New Zealand

Monarchist League of New Zealand

23rd May 2004

The oath of allegiance is a short and dignified statement of loyalty to the constitutional order. It involves affirming loyalty to the Queen of New Zealand. This does not mean that we do not owe allegiance to New Zealand, for the oath is to the Queen in her constitutional position as Sovereign of New Zealand.

It may be that the oath of allegiance for new citizens in Australia no longer refers to the Queen. But this was a change motivated by the republican campaign then raging in that country and was bitterly fought by supporters of the constitutional status quo.

Do we want to emphasise New Zealand's independence by denigrating the constitutional role of the Queen and the Crown, one of the few unifying elements in this country which is above racial and political controversy?

An oath of loyalty to New Zealand would be constitutionally meaningless, impressive though it might appear to be in a shallow way. The concept of such an oath is at odds with a national culture which finds saluting the flag of even flying the flag difficult.

The nature of the oath of allegiance is better understood in the uniformed services. The police oath is a good example of why the current oaths are important.

Constables swear to uphold the Queen's peace. This ancient concept is based upon the idea that the Crown maintains and preserves law and order.

It also emphasises that the constable's duty is to the law and not to the Government or any sector or group.

In his address to the Golden Jubilee parade in Auckland just over a year ago, the Commissioner of Police drew attention to the policeman's oath and emphasised its practical importance.

Public office holders, and members of the Armed Forces, also swear an oath of allegiance. This is not understood as a pledge of purely personal loyalty (though this forms a part), but rather as loyalty to the office of Sovereign, and to the constitutional system which it represents.

This is far more meaningful than a vague pledge of loyalty to the country, which has been used in a number of countries to justify military coups. Loyalty is to the Sovereign, who holds the supreme constitutional office in trust for the people, not to the Government of the day. Governments come and go, but the Crown remains.

Oaths are taken seriously by the armed forces, which appreciate that their allegiance is to the Queen of New Zealand, not to the Government, although it is from that they receive their orders.

Like the Commissioner of Police, at the Golden Jubilee parade in October 2002 the Chief of Naval Staff emphasises the importance of the relationship of between the armed services and the Crown.

New citizens ought also to take an oath of allegiance to the existing constitutional structure. This structure may be changed by law as the oath recognises, but we all owe our allegiance to the constitutional government.

Politicians also serve in the Queen's name; it is the Queen's Government of which they form a part.

Removing the Crown without referendum, which is what numerous recent changes have been designed to do, is improper. Public support for change is clearly absent, since some 70 per cent of people support the retention of the constitutional monarchy which has given us peace and democracy for so long.

The real motivation for abolishing or eviscerating the oath of allegiance is republicanism. To suggest that removing reference to the Queen would emphasise New Zealand's independence is spurious. It could be seen as another slight to the Queen, and as offensive to those Maori people who appreciate the personal link between Maori and Crown.

The constitutional position of the Crown is particularly important because of the Treaty of Waitangi. It is also at the core of our political, legal and constitutional heritage.

Abolishing the oath of allegiance would be another example of an ongoing programme to reform the constitution without a referendum.

Dr Noel Cox

Chairman

Monarchist League of New Zealand Inc

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Scoop 3.0: How You Can Help Scoop’s Evolution

Entering into its third decade of operation, the Scoop news ecosystem is set to undergo another phase of transformation and evolution.

We have big plans for 2018 as we look to expand our public interest journalism coverage, upgrade our publishing infrastructure and offer even more valuable business tools to commercial users of Scoop. More>>

 
 

Foreign Affairs: Patrick Gower Interviews Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says discussions have already begun on how to bring climate change refugees into New Zealand under a Pacific seasonal employment plan... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Centre Right’s Love Of ‘Nanny State’

You’d almost think it was 2005 again. That was a time when the rugged individualists of the centre-right were being beset by government regulations on the nature of light-bulbs, the size of shower heads, the junk food available at school tuck shops and other such essentials... More>>

Speaking Of Transport: Public Engagement On Wellington Scenarios

“Our work on possible solutions for Wellington’s transport future is ongoing, but has progressed to the stage where we’re ready to share our ideas with the public and seek their feedback to help guide our next steps...” More>>

ALSO:

Parental Leave: National's Time-Sharing Change Fails

National has proposed a change to the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Bill that would allow both parents to take paid parental leave at the same time, if that is what suits them best. More>>

ALSO:

Train Free Thursday: Workers Strike To Defend Terms Of Employment

"They signed up to these conditions a year ago when they got the contract for Wellington's rail services. Now they're trying to increase profits by squeezing frontline workers." More>>

ALSO:

Seclusion: Ombudsman Emphasises Importance Of Monitoring

Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero says that while there have been changes to the Education (Update) Amendment Act 2017 to prohibit the use of seclusion, the report is an important reminder of the importance of regular monitoring of schools. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election