Republic bill looks set to flounder

Last updated 09:23 01/03/2010

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A Green Party attempt to initiate a debate about having an elected head of state in New Zealand isn't going to get very far.

MP Keith Locke drafted the member's bill, which is on Parliament's agenda for a first reading.

He had hoped it would get through the first reading so it could be sent to a select committee for public discussions, but Prime Minister John Key today ruled that out.

"We're opposed" was his brief response when he was asked about the bill on TV One's Breakfast programme.

Unless the Government supports members' bills, they have no chance of getting through a first reading.

However, there will be a first reading debate and it will be the first time Parliament has discussed republicanism in that way.

Mr Key has previously said it isn't on the Government's agenda.

Former prime minister Helen Clark had a similar attitude, saying that it would inevitably happen some day but her government wasn't pushing it.

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- NZPA

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