Of course, I think the old rules are daft and should be changed (but I think the whole idea of hereditary succession based on a family in a foreign land is stupid anyways).
What's most striking, though, is John Key's unilateral commitment of New Zealand to such constitutional change without any involvement of the public. But this government has been all over the place on the question of whether New Zealanders should have a say on who our Head of State should be.
On the one hand, the government has said, in the context of the constitutional review, there needs to be widespread public endorsement of any constitutional changes. Bill English said specifically:
“Of course, we will keep in mind that enduring constitutional changes generally require a broad base of support. Significant change will not be undertaken lightly and will require either broad cross-party agreement or the majority support of voters at a referendum."On the other hand, the government shuts the people out of discussions about the Head of State. First, government MPs blocked Keith Locke's Member's Bill on the Head of State at its first reading – preventing the public from having their say on whether or not they wanted to retain or ditch the monarchy. Secondly, the government failed to expressly include the republic issue in the terms of reference for the constitutional review, even though they noted there was some support for this. It seems they didn't want "popular" changes overshadowing their – arguably, less popular – other ideas for constitutional reform. And now, this week, John Key unilaterally announces New Zealand's support for changes to the line of succession – changes that are being negotiated behind closed doors amongst the British Monarchy's various realms.
This is all disappointing – and inconsistent.