New Zealand Prime Minister: I would prefer my country to become a republic

New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hepkins said he personally would prefer his country to become a republic, but it is not a change he intends to push as leader.

Hipkins made this statement to reporters, hours before he was due to leave for Britain to attend the coronation of King Charles III next Saturday in London.

New Zealand, a former British colony, is self-governing, but Charles retains a largely ceremonial position as head of state and king, and a governor-general represents Charles in New Zealand, according to the Associated Press.

“In time, New Zealand will become a fully independent country, and will stand on its own two feet in the world, as we generally do now,” Hipkins said. I don’t think replacing the governor-general with another form of head of state is necessarily an urgent priority right now, though,” he said, adding, “I think we should eventually be an independent country.”

He noted that the existing constitutional arrangements were working well and that he was not interested in pushing the debate of republic onto New Zealanders.

“Honestly, I think it’s something that New Zealanders should have a discussion about, and there isn’t a lot of support for having that particular discussion right now,” Hipkins said.

Hepkins also admitted, inadvertently, that he had plans to hold a meeting with Charles during the visit, but refused to say what would be discussed.

While in London, Hipkins also plans to meet British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to advance the two countries’ free trade deal in 2021.

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