Newshub was among the many media who seized on Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s accusations directed at the royal family to put the spotlight on the Queen’s role as New Zealand’s head of state.
Many here and throughout the Commonwealth think it’s another step towards severing the ties, Newshub reported, especially in the light of a remark that triggered the belief the Royal Family is racist:
But The Daily Blog’s Martyn Bradbury took considerations beyond whether New Zealand should become a republic and proposed entrenching the so-called “Treaty Partnership” into an overhaul of our constitutional arrangements.
An Upper House would be established. Half the seats would be filled by Maori, giving governmental expression to what “partnership” really means.
The clamour for constitutional change largely stemmed from remarks that were highlighted early in the Newshub report:
During the pair’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, Meghan claimed there had been “concerns and conversations” about how dark the colour of baby Archie’s skin would be when he was born. The Duchess of Sussex said that the issue had been raised with Harry, who relayed the information back to her.
So somebody unnamed said something to Harry, who mentioned it to the duchess, who now has told the world, but without identifying the person who made the remark or explaining the context in which it was said.
Never mind. That was sufficient reason for many media commentators and MPs to insist this proves yet again that New Zealand needs to break ties with the monarchy (or with one of the Treaty partners, because the Treaty of Waitangi was a deal between Maori signatories and the Crown).
“Fundamentally, as it is a colonialist institution which does have racist overtones. And I am very uncomfortable with the fact that they provide our head of state,” Green Party co-leader James Shaw says.
Labour’s Willie Jackson and Māori Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi shared their support for New Zealand to part from the royal family.
“I’ve always been a republic supporter, it’s always been a sort of kaupapa for me,” Jackson says.
“I absolutely agree that there’s a new Aotearoa on the rise,” Waititi says.
Indeed he does. He (or someone on his staff) said so in a tweet which he hastened to delete before apologising. In the tweet he referred to Caucasians as being archaic and becoming “more extinct”.
“The cau casity [sic] of Caucasian’s [sic] and their ‘active assimilation agenda’. Pay them no attention, their archaic species is becoming more extinct as a new Aotearoa is on the rise. Tangata Whenua + Tangata Tiriti = Aotearoa > Tangata Whenua + Pakeha = Old Zealand.”
Stuff columnist Glenn McConnell – like the politicians – wasn’t waiting for more corroborative evidence to emerge. He set out his thoughts under the headline A Crown that tolerates racism and cruelty cannot be New Zealand’s head of state
He seemed aware he was dealing with allegations by mentioning accusations:
The Firm has been accused of blatant racism and inexcusable cruelty from within and against their own ranks.
But he was dissatisfied with the Palace response (“they do not seem to care”, he contended) before concluding:
“These accusations seriously challenge the British monarchy’s already feeble claim to rule, especially over countries such as New Zealand.”
In McConnell’s curious opinion, furthermore, it was the Queen’s job to name whoever it was who said something to Harry who told Meghan.
“As head of the family, and the monarchy, the Queen should name names. Harry has said he will not do so, because the damage caused would be too great.”
Martyn Bradbury, on the Daily Blog, spotted McConnell’s column and registered his scorn in a post headed MEDIA WATCH: Here comes the woke cancelation of the Queen
“Fresh from his appallingly trite podcast to reform all men, gelded Stuff Millennial columnist Glenn McConnell calls for the cancellation of the Queen…”
Bradbury’s post featured these aspects of the interview which sparked the denunciation of the royals as racists:
Right at the start of the interview, Meghan said she was unprepared for the reality of being a working royal when she married into the family.
“I went into it naively, because I didn’t grow up watching the royal family,” she said.
“It wasn’t something that was part of conversation at home. It wasn’t something that we followed.
“I didn’t do any research. I’d never looked up my husband online. Everything I needed to know, (Harry) was telling me.
“What does it mean to be a working royal? What do you do? What does that mean?
“I didn’t fully understand what the job was, what was needed of me. There was no way to understand what the day-to-day was going to be like.”
At Point of Order, we were bemused by the hapless duchess’s failure to do any research and wondered why she didn’t ask Harry for guidance on what the job entailed.
But Bradbury is taking issue with calls for cancelling the Queen
“ … because an actress who didn’t do any research at all married into the Royal Family and split it up because, you know, it was hard and it made her sad not to do whatever she wanted.
“What the Nazi’s couldn’t do, the woke will!!! Cancel Queen Elizabeth the Second!
“The Queen fought the Nazi’s FFS, Meghan starred in Suits. Hashtag feminism. Hashtag solidarity.
“In the subjective post MeToo world where insufferable Millennials get to cancel anything that triggers them, it’s looking less like progress and more like Mao’s Cultural Revolution.
“To hold up an unattributed comment about the skin colour of Archie as proof positive there is rampant cross burning racism within the Royal Family and that a 1200 year legacy must be abolished because of that comment is so high pitched and hysterical only dogs can hear it.”
But don’t be gulled into thinking Bradbury has become a royalist.
His fundamental complaint is that “woke outrage” overshadowed McConnell’s legitimate point about there being an urgent need to review our constitutional arrangements.
“I don’t care about some branding publicity spat that has been remodelled into a woke Millennial moment of truth between the Queen and Meghan, but I do care about our Constitutional arrangements.”
Bradbury then brings Maori sovereignty and modern-day notions of a Treaty “partnership” into play.
He suggests we consider an Upper House for our Parliament with 50-50 representation between Maori and Pakeha.
“If Sovereignty was never signed away, then the Government of today has a responsibility beyond paltry compensation for past injustices , it must provide real power sharing solutions between the Crown and Māori.
“Having a 50-50 Upper House with the power to delay legislation that was not in the best interests of the Nation when it comes to Treaty issues would stop Government’s from fire sales of national assets and prevent things like the Foreshore and Seabed legislation from becoming law.”
An Upper House, furthermore, would be seen as a guardian of the Treaty for the maintenance of public wellbeing over private gain, it would show real power sharing and, for Pakeha, it would represent a political body that protects their public interests as much as Maori interests.
“So let’s proceed with Constitutional amendments because they are the right thing to do, not because triggered Millennials feel sad sad.”
It’s a bold idea. And it reinforces our reasons for recently posting Barrie Saunders’ article headed Democracy or partnership – which do we want, because we can’t have both?
Saunders spelled out the constitutional and governance implications of further embracing the comparatively recent notion of a “Treaty partnership”.
Bradbury has given a potent pointer to where our governance systems are headed if we keep following the partnership path.
Bob Edlin is a veteran journalist and editor for the Point of Order blog HERE.