PM rules out merger with Australia

Prime Minister John Key says New Zealand needs to fix problems itself and merging with Australia is no answer.

A UMR poll conducted for Television New Zealand's Question and Answer programme yesterday showed most New Zealanders were against the idea of New Zealand becoming an Australian state.

Of those polled, 71 percent of New Zealanders were opposed, with 45 percent strongly opposed.

Australians were less strongly against the idea, with 52 percent opposed with 26 percent strongly opposed.

When asked if New Zealand would be better off if it joined with Australia, 37 percent of New Zealanders said yes, 27 percent said no and 25 percent felt it would make no difference.

Speaking on the programme former deputy prime minister Don McKinnon said he believed union was "probably inevitable", but felt it would be the next generation who would look into it as links between the two countries continued to grow.

Mr Key told NewstalkZB the debate was pointless.

"It's not going to happen and I don't think we should waste any time even thinking about it. The reality is what will make New Zealand a successful country are the same things that would make it a successful state of Australia."

New Zealand needed policies to encourage investment and tackle issues around education and bureaucracy, areas the Government was tackling.

"In my view we would be fools to think there is some sort of illusionary goal of merging with Australia would solve problems that New Zealand faces."

Australian politician Peters Slipper told Question and Answer Australians were more relaxed about the prospect of union than New Zealanders but proposals such as a joint currency should be looked at instead.

Labour leader Phil Goff believed that New Zealanders would never consider submerging their identity with Australia and more work should be done on building on a single economic market.

When Australia was formed, its constitution was drawn up to allow New Zealand to join the federation of states, but New Zealand backed away from the idea then.

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