27 Apr 2009

PM rules out referendum on NZ republic

8:02 pm on 27 April 2009

Prime Minister John Key has rejected United Future's call for a referendum before the next election on whether New Zealand should become a republic.

United Future leader Peter Dunne says New Zealanders are ready for a debate on becoming a republic and can be trusted to make a decision on the future of their country.

Mr Dunne says New Zealand could become a republic in less than 10 years if the process was started in this term of Parliament.

If enough people vote "yes", Mr Dunne says another binding referendum on whether New Zealand should have its own head of state could be held in the next term of Parliament.

Once that process was complete, he says the Republic of New Zealand could be initiated some time after the 2017 general election.

But Mr Key on Monday ruled out a referendum in this term of Parliament.

He believes New Zealand is likely to become a republic one day, but says it is unlikely to occur under his watch.