State & Ceremonial

Woman expected to become New Zealand’s next Prime Minister wants country to become a republic

She is widely expected to become Prime Minister of New Zealand in less than a month, and a few weeks before polling day, Jacinda Ardern says that the country should have a debate on whether to remove The Queen as Head of State.

Ms Ardern, who recently became leader of the Labour Party, has seen her party surge in the polls since she took over as Leader of the Opposition last month.

Expressing her Republican tendencies for the first time in the election campaign, the 37-year-old said that she was disappointed that the citizens of New Zealand had not carefully examined whether to end their constitutional relationship with Britain when they voted on whether to replace their flag which contained the Union Jack last year.

Speaking to The Times, Ms Ardern said: “I am a republican, but you will find there are people in New Zealand who aren’t actively pursuing that change.

“It’s certainly not about my view of the monarchy but my view of New Zealand’s place in the world and carving out our own future. So that is what drives my sentiment.”

The Queen and the governmental system of Constitutional Monarchy are becoming less popular in New Zealand as the years go by. A poll conducted last year suggests 60 per cent of people favouring becoming a republic.rising to 76 per cent among those aged 18 to 30.

The poll showed that young people, in particular, were keen to cut ties with Britain, with 76 per cent of those between the ages of 18 to 30 wanting to become a republic.

However, Ms Ardern does say that the debate on whether to lose the Monarchy will be an uncomfortable situation.

She said: “No matter when you have the conversation there’s a knock-on effect, there’s a much-loved monarch who will be affected by that decision.”

Even if she remains unelected, Ms Ardern’s comments no doubt reopen the conversation over The Queen’s role in modern day Australia and New Zealand.

It is thought the majority of citizens in both countries are currently in favour of a republic, and notably in Australia, both the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition wish to cut ties with the Monarchy.

A referendum in 1999 found that 55% of Australian citizens wished to retain constitutional ties with Britain. In the 18 years since then, republicanism has grown – particularly within the millennial generation.