New Zealand PM says no republic plan following queen’s death

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addressing a press conference after the news of the passing of Queen Elizabeth II at the Beehive in Wellington, New Zealand, Friday, September 9, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability in a turbulent era for her country and the world died Thursday after 70 years on the throne. She was 96. (Mark Mitchell/New Zealand Herald via AP)

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday that her government will not pursue any moves to change the country into a republic following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

Ardern said she thought New Zealand will eventually become a republic, and it would probably happen within her lifetime, but that there were more pressing issues for her government.

The remarks were her first about the New Zealand republic debate since the queen’s death, and reflect previous comments she has made on the issue.

Ardern has also previously expressed her support for the country eventually becoming a republic.

Under the current system, the British monarch is New Zealand’s head of state, represented in New Zealand by a governor-general.

The governor-general’s role these days is considered primarily ceremonial.

Still, many people argue that New Zealand won’t fully step out from the shadows of its colonialist past and become a truly independent nation until it becomes a republic.

“There’s been a debate, probably for a number of years,” Ardern said.

“It’s just the pace, and how widely that debate is occurring. I’ve made my view plain many times. I do believe that is where New Zealand will head, in time. I believe it is likely to occur in my lifetime.

“But I don’t see it as a short-term measure or anything that is on the agenda any time soon,” Ardern said.

She said that becoming a republic was not something her government planned to discuss at any point.

“As I say, in large part actually because I’ve never sensed the urgency,” Ardern said. “There are so many challenges we face. This is a large, significant debate. I don’t think it’s one that would or should occur quickly.”

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