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TVOne is broadcasting republican propaganda

Wed, 23 Feb 2005

Press Release of the Monarchist League of New Zealand Inc

23 February 20005

TVOne is broadcasting republican propaganda on 3 March, two days before the arrival in New Zealand of the Prince of Wales. The programme is entitled "Should Prince Charles ever be King of New Zealand?", and in the words of Richard Harman, the executive producer, is designed to provoke a debate about republicanism on the eve of the Prince's visit.

The Monarchist League is not opposed to debate on the question of whether New Zealand might chose to change its political structure from constitutional monarchy to some other form of government, such as a republic. However we do question the appropriateness of the timing of this programme and its format and provocative title. It focuses on personalities, and is deliberately timed to coincide with Prince Charles' visit.

The timing of the programme is not appropriate. At best it is impolite, at worst it is intended as an intentional insult to the Prince personally, or even a deliberate attack on the institution which he represents.

The idea of discussing a serious constitutional subject of this nature in the manner proposed is unrealistic. It is not a subject which is likely to provide much entertainment value. The really important issues are those of political and constitutional principle, not whether we like Prince Charles. It will not elicit serious debate, and is likely to descend into personalities. We strongly oppose the form of media circus which is likely to result, however well-intentioned the producers may be.

The programme is apparently intended to begin with a lengthy section setting out the constitutional situation. This section will include interviews recorded prior to the show going to air. The programme will be hosted by Simon Dallow. The studio audience is apparently to be chosen to allow the producers to cover the range of views within the community. They will also use groups of people around the country. It might be doubted whether this cross section will reflect the majority view that favour the monarchy.

Having a major programme based on the question of whether New Zealand should become a republic is an indication of a political agenda, whenever it is aired. There is no serious debate on this issue, despite the best efforts of elements in the media to create one. This is clearly an attempt to provoke controversy, and is therefore a dubious use of taxpayer money. If this is to be the approach taken by TVNZ under its Charter, I look forward to a similar programme asking whether New Zealand should abolish parliament (to be aired two days before the General Election).

ENDS

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