Sydney, Australia, Sep 12 (EFE).- New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday that her government was not going to pursue moves to make the country a republic following Queen Elizabeth II’s death.
“There’s been a debate, probably for a number of years,” Ardern said.
“But I don’t see it as a short-term measure or anything that is on the agenda any time soon,” she said.
The prime minister continued to say that while her government was not planning to discuss becoming a republic, it was a “significant debate”.
“There are so many challenges we face. This is a large, significant debate. I don’t think it’s one that would or should occur quickly.”
Ardern said however that she believed New Zealand would become a republic in her lifetime.
“I do believe that is where New Zealand will head, in time. I believe it is likely to occur in my lifetime.”
A survey conducted in February found that just over 36% of Kiwis supported a move to a republic while 48% said they wanted to maintain ties with the British monarchy.
Unlike Australia, New Zealand has never held a referendum on whether to become a republic.
Ardern will travel to the United Kingdom this week for Elizabeth II’s state funeral, which will take place in London on September 19.
She also announced a public holiday on September 26 when a state memorial service will be held to mark the death of the queen.
“The decision to hold a one-off Public Holiday in the Queen’s honor is also in line with similar holidays in the UK and Australia, and is in keeping with what is an historic event,” she said.
Elizabeth II died on Thursday at the age of 96 in her Balmoral estate in Scotland.EFE