Spot the odd one out? New Zealand, Australia, Solomon Islands, Canada, Papua New Guinea and the UK.

Yes, well done it’s the UK, it’s the only country out of that selection that doesn’t have a public holiday to celebrate the Queens birthday. I’ve always found it odd that here in the colonies we’re all celebrating the Queens Birthday with a day off whilst the poor old Poms are trudging off to work. I also remember as a boy getting quite excited that the queen had two birthdays, an official and a real one and wishing I could too.

Personally I’m a republican. I’m not in favour of unelected people from overseas being the nominal head of state for New Zealand. Yes I’m sure the Queen is a lovely person and does a remarkable job for a lady in her nineties and yes too, George does look cute in that pullover. But sorry, leadership by birth doesn’t work for me.

The republican movement in Australia seems to have some legs at the moment. It is headed up by Peter FitzSimons and has the long term support of Malcolm Turnbull, who has publicly stated that Australia should be a republic. The last referendum there in 1999 had 55% supporting the status quo.  Turnbull has now stated that there should not be another poll whilst the Queen is still on the throne. I suspect he’s just being pragmatic. I had it in my head that John Key was deep down a republican but given that from today he is now Sir John, I might have to rethink that.

The monarchists on a balanced National radio program this morning were pursuing the value added that the royal family provide and the limited cost to us as New Zealanders, how lovely of them to provide a head of state for so little cost. They were gushing about how the royal family had enthusiastically embraced social media and how each and every royal regarded it as a job for life. That is, they do at the moment, until of course, they choose not to. We also have approximately at least 80 years of a male head of state coming up, with Kings Charles, William and George already lined up for the job.

“Savage” was the level-headed spokesman for the republicans, how the royalists must love it that someone with a single name moniker like that speaks for change. If only their spokesman was called “Prince”.

So I’m not going to hold my breath about New Zealand becoming a republic, as the flag debate showed there is a deep seated conservatism in this country that avoids upsetting how things stand. In an increasingly secular society I suspect too that alternate traditions will be held on to even tighter.  I’m certainly not going to follow Peter FitzSimons’ lead in declaring himself alcohol free until his country becomes a republic.

Pete Carter is all over the place. He writes and takes photographs and runs an art rental business. He lives in Eastbourne in New Zealand with a wife (an artist) and two dogs, they have two grown up children, one lives in Bristol and the other in Sydney. Two books of poetry and prose are out and he has written a children's book by mistake that will be published in February 2017. This book as illustrated by his nephew. There is also a novel that rightly has not yet seen the light of day. He has had magazine articles published and poetry in anthologies. As a photographer he has had two solo exhibitions and work included in group exhibitions in NZ and overseas and has sold his work to corporate clients.

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