Majority of New Zealanders back ditching British monarchy

The majority of New Zealanders would rather have an elected head of state than continue to be ruled by the British monarchy, a poll has revealed.

59 per cent of those polled were in favour of an elected head of state after the Queen passes away. Picture: PA

The survey carried out by New Zealand Republic, a republican pressure group, found that 59 per cent of those polled voted in favour of having an independent head of state after present monarch Queen Elizabeth II passes away.

34 per cent said they would prefer to retain the monarchy when the next sovereign is crowned.

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The poll shows an increase in support for the republican movement in New Zealand since March 2014 when 47 per cent said they wanted to ditch the monarchy.

New Zealand Republic polled 1,000 people over the age of 18, asking: “What is your preference for New Zealand’s next head of state?”

Dr Sean Palmer, chair of the organisation Monarchy New Zealand, has questioned the poll data.

Of the 59 per cent of people who voted for an independent head of state, 44 per cent of people said they wanted one directly chosen by the electorate, while 15 per cent said they would be happy for parliament to elect them.

Dr Sean Palmer highlighted that the votes of these two groups had been added together “despite the fact that those two groups may not see eye to eye on anything”.

He told the New Zealand Herald: “They lump them together and declare a great victory.”

Peter Hamilton, chair of New Zealand Republic and the former deputy secretary of foreign affairs and trade, said he believed Brexit, the referendum on a change of national flag and the Queen’s age had contributed to the surge in favourable popular opinion.