Dame Kiri Te Kanawa has been elected President of New Zealand in a mock poll by New Zealand’s republican movement.
The international opera star beat former Prime Minister Jim Bolger, former All Black captain and Carter Holt Harvey chairman Sir Wilson Whineray and James Belich and Claudia Orange in the race for the imaginary honour.
However, voter turnout wasn’t quite what we’d get in a real presidential election, with Dame Kiri needing just 1371 of the 3115 votes for the win.
The Republican Movement of Aotearoa New Zealand asked several other questions relating to our head of state if and when this country becomes a republic.
One of these was what we should actually call New Zealand's head of state, with 52% choosing President and 35% choosing Maori titles Ariki, Rangatira or Tuamaki.
The head of state’s term in office should be five years according to 51% of respondents, with 20% choosing four and only 12% opting for three-year terms like our parliament.
68% said New Zealand should be like the US and limit its head of state to two terms; 20% advocated a one-term limit.
Although 68% said the public should nominate head of state candidates, the numbers were evenly split on how the final verdict should be decided.
48% wanted our head of state chosen by public vote and 49% wanted it done by parliament.
Only 1% wanted our head of state chosen by the prime minister.
"The website proves New Zealanders are perfectly capable of selecting a New Zealander as their head of state,” says Lewis Holden, chairman of the republican movement.
“Voters expressed a preference for academic and cultural leaders over any former political leaders."
The Head of State (Referenda) Bill, sponsored by Green MP Keith Locke, is waiting to be drawn from the parliamentary ballot.
In the unlikely event that it passed, it would give New Zealanders a referendum on whether to keep the monarchy or replace it with our own head of state chosen by popular vote or parliament.
So it may not be long before New Zealand gets to elect its own version of Barack Obama.
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