(Bloomberg) — New Zealand will eventually become a republic and drop the British monarch as its head of state, but not anytime soon, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.
Asked if Queen Elizabeth II’s death would spark a debate over whether the South Pacific nation should become a republic, Ardern said: “I do believe that is where New Zealand will head in time.”
“I believe it’s likely to occur in my lifetime, but I don’t see it as a short-term measure or anything that is on the agenda anytime soon,” Ardern told a news conference Monday in Wellington. Her government would not be discussing it, “in large part because I’ve never sensed an urgency,” she said.
New Zealand, along with former colonies of the British Empire such as Australia and Canada, still counts the monarch as head of state, with the Queen’s face adorning coins and banknotes. Her passing, and King Charles III’s ascension to the throne, has already revived the republic debate in Australia.
Ardern said now was not the time to discuss such a significant shift.
“There’s so many challenges we face,” she said. “This is a large, significant debate. I don’t think it’s one that would or should occur quickly.”