The poll asked the following question “Do you believe New Zealand should become a republic, or stay as it is, with a King or Queen as head of state?”
Three quarters of eligible New Zealand voters (73%) think that New Zealand should stay as it is, with a King or Queen as head of state. One fifth (19%) believe New Zealand should become a republic, and 8% don’t know. These results are comparable to those seen in 2012.
John Key must have been aware of the national mood because of the 2012 survey, yet despite this, the centenary commemorations of WWI and heightened tension in the world from terrorism threats, he decided this was a good time to push his personal agenda for a flag change with the idea of New Zealand becoming a Republic soon afterwards.
The flag debacle has laid bare his folly. It has also shown he is out of touch with most Kiwis. His enthusiasm for a republic and flag change has laid bare his hatred of the Union Jack, his loathing of his British ancestry, and his pride in thinking his opinion, and his opinion alone, matters to the majority of Kiwis. To put it bluntly, in good old fashioned terminology that he would despise, he has developed ideas above his station in life.
People must look a Key, a man who made his money in the global casino of foreign exchange trading, a man who tramples on his country’s flag, and then look at the Queen, a woman respected around the globe as the embodiment of the virtues most want in a head of state, and think to themselves ‘no contest’.
As the world becomes more unstable, nationalism is on the rise. Through the WWI remembrances Kiwis are reminding themselves of the virtues that brought them together to forge a nation of which they can be proud. They look to the stability the monarchy and their common British ancestry has brought. It is this stability, and the opportunities it has created, that immigrants crave in a troubled world. Links with the past matter, history matters. This is understood by Kiwis if not by John Key.