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Lefter #23 ~ The New Republic & the New Flag

March 4, 2010 by emweb

There’s talk of New Zealand becoming a republic. Now even some WII veterans are saying it’s time to move on, and some even agree it’s time to ditch our ridiculous flag.

That Union Jack in the corner drives me nuts. It’s irrelevant – a historical footnote, sure. Mention it in history books, then.

Worse, our flag looks like Australia’s. What’s the point of that? Aren’t we all 100% sick of being mistaken for Australians out there in the big wide world? I sure am.

But anyway, back to the republic. While I welcome any moves to become one, and a truly independent sovereign nation at that (which we act like, but technically we’re not), one thing I don’t get is all this agonising over ‘who would be the head of state’!

That’s rubbish. What’s the Prime Minister? Why would we need a largely symbolic heard of state (king, queen, president, CEO, oil baron …) with no real governing power anyway? It’s ridiculous.

“A republic is a form of government in which the head of state is not a monarch and the people (or at least a part of its people) have an impact on its government.” That’s from Wikipedia. Does that not sound like New Zealand?

Further, “The word ‘republic’ is derived from the Latin phrase res publica, which can be translated as ‘a public affair’.”

Machiavelli divided governments into two types: principalities ruled by monarchs and republics ruled by their peoples. He should have known.

So why on earth do we need a titular someone over the top of the person who is patently at the helm (or playing at it, as is the case with John Key) of the country?

It’s simple. We don’t. Can’t we think of something else to throw money at that’s worth nothing, does nothing, has no impact on the country’s affairs and is mostly ceremonial?

We sure as hell can – we can add an ugly architectural excrescence to Auckland’s waterfront for a sport which is declining in popularity, and whose followers don’t actually care what we build on the waterfront as long as they have a clear path to puke into the harbour after wasting their money on copious amounts of NZ lager.

Of course, if Labour was in power, the same amount that would be erstwhile wasted on a ceremonial Grand Poobah on a social service, or education, or health. Because a ‘president’ of NZ would just be a highly paid honorary position for one underserving crony or another.

We do need a new flag.

We do need to be a republic – it’s time New Zealand grew up.

But we don’t need a ‘head of state’ when we already have a Prime Minister.

It’s really simple, and really obvious.


  1. Hayespond says:

    The problem is then we don’t technically choose our head of state, so we’re not technically a republic. The prime minister is the leader of the arty who wins the election, they themselves are not elected to lead.

  2. Why fix things if they ain’t broke? You think NZ will be better off being a republic a ministerial form of gov’t?

  3. emweb says:

    Yes, Pizza – e already have, to all intents and purposes, a ministerial form of government, and you don’t think NZ is broke? It’s broke!
    And Hayespond – you’re right, but that’s what we have anyway. Seems fine.

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