It is "inevitable" that New Zealand will ditch the
monarchy and become a republic, Sir Don McKinnon says.
Speaking on the eve of the royal visit by the Duke and
Duchess of Cambridge, the former deputy prime minister said
the country has been moving towards republicanism "for a long
"I'm quite certain the royal family understands that
completely," Sir Don said.
"[There are] 54 countries in the Commonwealth, only 16 are
realms, and I can tell you now that one Caribbean publicly,
and three Caribbean, privately are probably going to give up
that relationship with the monarchy when the Queen dies. So
it is a diminishing group of countries, and the important
thing is for us to openly and candidly debate the issue."
Sir Don, who sat as the secretary-general of the Commonwealth
of Nations for eight years, said he believed New Zealand
would eventually become a republic.
"I think it's inevitable," he told TV One's Q+A programme
"I don't know when, and I'm not going to campaign actively
one way or the other. I have a great respect for Her Majesty
and I have respect for [Prince] Charles, but it's a debate
that will continue and it's important we have a good debate
about this and about the flag."
Prince William and Catherine are due to arrive in Wellington
tomorrow with their baby Prince George, on his first royal
tour since his birth last July.
They will carry out a number of engagements across the
country before flying to Australia to continue the tour.
Sir Don said he believed Kiwis will come out to see the royal
"There's the celebrity side of it, these are two very
attractive young people, and wherever they go, in the United
States or elsewhere, they get crowds, so yes I believe people
will come out," he said.