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Modernising the Monarchy

Modernising the Monarchy

Dr Sean Palmer, Chair of Monarchy New Zealand, welcomes the introduction of the Royal Succession Bill as announced today by the Minister of Justice.

“The much-needed changes to the royal succession will remove gender discrimination by allowing women equal right to the throne,” says Dr Palmer. “New Zealand’s monarchy is an incredibly important part of our constitution and society. Making sure that it reflects kiwi values is common sense.”

The bill will also end the centuries-old prohibition on heirs to the throne marrying Catholics. “This requirement came out of 17th century European conflicts and is completely unnecessary today. The religious divisions of the old world have no place in New Zealand. Anything that can be done to remove this discrimination is a positive step,” said Dr Palmer.

All of the Commonwealth Realms, the countries which share Queen Elizabeth II as their monarch, have agreed to make the same changes. As a fully independent nation, New Zealand is not actually obligated to make any changes and could set any succession rules it wished. However, to preserve the present arrangement, in which one monarch is shared by several countries, it is not only making the changes, it is coordinating them among the other realms.

“It is fitting that the nation which led the charge for women’s suffrage is coordinating the change for equal succession rights,” said Dr Palmer. “This international effort to modernise the crown is remarkable. The monarchy has been evolving for centuries and will continue to do so far into the future. That adaptability is just one of its great strengths."

Women have reigned in New Zealand for 70% of the time since the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. No nations beyond the Commonwealth Realms can boast such a gender balance.


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