Dunne: Time to have our say on republic issue
26 April 2009
Hon Peter Dunne
MP for Ohariu
Leader of UnitedFuture
Dunne: Time New Zealanders had say on republic issue
UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne is calling for a referendum on whether New Zealand becomes a republic.
Commenting on the Republican movement’s recent poll showing a sharp increase in the numbers of people favouring a republic, Mr Dunne said it is time for New Zealanders to have their say.
He proposes a two-stage process over the next decade.
Mr Dunne says the first step should be a public information programme about the pros and cons of becoming a republic, culminating in a binding yes/no referendum on whether we have our own head of state.
He said this should be done during the term of the current Parliament.
“If the result of that referendum is no, then the issue stops there and then.
“If the answer is yes, then a full proposal, including how the new head of state should be selected, should be developed and put to a second referendum during the term of the next Parliament.
“If that proposal is endorsed then, the Republic of New Zealand could be initiated some time after the 2017 general election,” he said.
Mr Dunne says he personally favours New Zealand becoming a republic, with a non-executive president along the lines of the Irish model, and directly elected by the public every five years.
“I think New Zealanders are ready for this debate, and should be given the opportunity.
“I am tired of politicians who say it is probably inevitable we will become a republic at some stage, but who are unwilling to do anything to bring it about – that is extremely weak.
“It is time to trust New Zealanders to make a bold decision about the future of their country,” he said.