New Zealand would choose to keep the monarchy in a referendum tomorrow, according to new research from Lord Ashcroft Polls.
However, a majority think the country would become a republic if a referendum were held in 10 years’ time and most Kiwis reject the idea that the King can unite everyone in the country whoever they voted for.
Key findings from the survey
- 44% of New Zealanders said that in a referendum tomorrow they would vote to keep the monarchy; 34% said they would vote to become a republic.
The remainder said they didn’t know or would not vote. Support for keeping the monarchy was more than twice as high among those aged 65 and over (63%) as among those aged 18 to 24 (31%).
- A majority of New Zealanders (56%) thought a referendum tomorrow would result in the status quo. More than one third (34%) of those voting for a republic thought the country as a whole would decide to stay with the monarchy in an immediate referendum.
However, a majority of all New Zealanders (53%) thought that if a referendum were held in 10 years’ time the country would choose to become a republic.
- Among those voting to keep the monarchy, only a minority (41%) said this was because it was a good thing for New Zealand.
Most said either that the alternative would probably be worse (31%) or that the process of changing would probably be too disruptive (25%).
- Among those voting for a republic, only just over half (51%) thought the move would bring real, practical benefits to New Zealand; 41% of them said the monarchy was wrong in principle and should be replaced whether there are practical benefits or not.
74% of those choosing a republic said they were happy to continue with the monarchy under Queen Elizabeth, but now it was time for change.
- Three quarters of New Zealanders, including 85% of those saying they would vote for a republic, agreed that “in an ideal world we wouldn’t have a monarchy, but there are more important things for the country to deal with”.
- Asked to choose between the two, New Zealanders were exactly divided (42% each) as to whether they would rather have the King as head of state even though he was from the UK, or a head of state elected in NZ even if they disagreed with what he or she stood for.
- New Zealanders were more likely to see the monarchy as a valuable force for stability and continuity (56%) than as part of a colonial past that has no place in the country today (44%).
They disagreed by 58% to 42% that “the King can unite everyone in NZ no matter who they voted for”.
- Asked where their sympathies lay between Prince Harry and other royals, 18% said they felt more sympathy for Prince Harry and Meghan, and 26% for the King and Prince William; 18% said they had sympathy for both, and 35% for neither.
- The polling found six countries in which more said they would vote to become a republic than to keep the monarchy: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Canada, Jamaica and the Solomon Islands.
2,012 adults in New Zealand were interviewed online in February and March 2023, and four focus groups were held in Auckland and Christchurch.
A total of 22,701 people were interviewed in the 15 countries in which King Charles is head of state. The full report, Uncharted Realms:
The Future of the Monarchy in the UK and Around the World, together with full data for each country, is available for free at LordAshcroftPolls.com