Prince Charles 'wouyld make a fine king' says John Key. (AP
Prime Minister John Key reckons Prince Charles would make
"a fine king", but Labour leader Phil Goff has stopped short of
singing his praises, saying only that he would "do his very
The comments come as New Zealand pushes for changes to the
discriminatory rules of royal succession. Under the current
law of primogeniture, male heirs accede to the throne before
any older sisters.
Mr Key said today that New Zealand had been championing
modernisation of the law, which would allow a first-born
woman to accede to the throne.
"We've been putting on the record our case why we think that
makes sense, why we think modernisation of those rules is
important, and we are making it quite clear to anyone who'll
listen we think this is an important step," he said today.
Asked if New Zealand was leading the way, Mr Key said he was
"not uncomfortable with that description".
"My belief is that's a cause New Zealand should continue to
champion, so we are a strong voice in that debate and if
there's change I think that will be change for the positive."
Mr Key said he was opposed to gender discrimination.
"I think in this area New Zealand's got a great track record
and true credentials, and it's my view that we can lend our
voice in this area and actually make positive change," he
"As far as I'm concerned, and I think the majority of New
Zealanders would agree with me, we judge people on them as
individuals and their ability and their values, not on their
Mr Key said he was also supportive of changes to allow
non-Anglicans to accede to the throne.
The British monarch is head of state of 16 Commonwealth
nations and any change to the line of succession would
require legislation in all those countries.
The current heir to the throne is Prince Charles, who Mr Key
said he was "super impressed with" when he met him before the
"He was, I thought, very in touch with issues around the
world, he was extremely personable and the reality is that
there's automatic succession anyway, at the point that the
Queen passes away, to Prince Charles.
"I think he'd make a fine king and from that perspective we
look forward to welcoming him to New Zealand some time in the
future, hopefully he'll come and visit us."
Mr Goff said he would not personally comment on the
suitability of individual heirs like Prince Charles.
"I'm sure he'd do his very best," he said.
Mr Goff added he had "enormous respect" for the Queen.
"I think as long as she's alive she will be Queen of New
Zealand. At the point that she is no longer queen, New
Zealanders will probably want to think about what they do for
"But that's a decision for New Zealanders, it's not a
decision for individual politicians -- it's a decision that
all of us will need to make about what our future head of
state might look like."
Mr Goff said the monarchy was very popular at the moment and
if the issue went to a referendum New Zealanders would likely
"But as time passes, attitudes change and one day New Zealand
will want to repatriate the head of state position to a New