Barely one-third of New Zealanders want Prince Charles to be their next head of state, according to a poll taken after his million-dollar royal tour.
The verdict has shocked monarchists, who insist the royal family is witnessing resurgence in popularity thanks to the marriage of William and Kate and the Queen’s year-long Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
According to a Key Research-Herald on Sunday survey, 37.4 per cent of New Zealanders want Prince Charles to succeed to the throne and reign over New Zealand. More of the 1000 poll respondents – 43.3 per cent – oppose him ascending our throne. The remaining 19.4 per cent don’t know who they want. The group of supporters is, literally, dying off: more than half of respondents aged over 65 want to cheer the coronation of King Charles III.
New Zealand Republic Movement chairman Lewis Holden said there is still fondness for the Queen but the divorce dramas and celebrity culture of her offspring is putting many off. “There’s a lot of nostalgia and good feeling towards the Queen but with her children it just isn’t there. We just regard them as celebrities and sideshows.”
As New Zealand forged an economically and culturally independent identity on the world stage, Holden said, the popular perception of the monarchy is changing.
“During the 90s we saw the first signs of the Asian century which challenged the idea of New Zealand being just a former British colony at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.”
Figures obtained by the Republican Movement reveal taxpayers forked out more than $200,000 a day for last year’s royal tour – nearly $1.2 million in total. The air force bill for transporting the royal entourage came to $425,000, on top of the $760,000 met by the Department of Internal Affairs budget.
Monarchy New Zealand’s Sean Palmer said the poll results were surprising, and he was witnessing a new wave of monarchists born after 1980. The royal family was enjoying interest and affection, Palmer said, especially with a new baby on the way.