Queen Elizabeth II—Diamond Jubilee
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister)
: I seek leave that this House congratulates
Her Majesty the Queen on the occasion of the diamond jubilee of Her Majesty’s accession to the Throne.
Mr SPEAKER: The Prime Minister is seeking leave. Is there any objection to that course of action being followed? There is no objection.
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I move,
That this House congratulate
Her Majesty the Queen on the occasion of the diamond jubilee of Her Majesty’s accession to the throne. On 6 February 1952—60 years ago yesterday—Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne and became New Zealand’s monarch. She was only 25 years old—younger, in fact, than any member of our Parliament today. In her speech as she ascended to the throne she promised to follow the example of service and devotion provided by her father, King George VI. For six decades the Queen has kept that undertaking. These have been decades during which the concept of the British Empire has receded and the importance of the Commonwealth has come to the fore. The realms over which Queen Elizabeth reigns have had their times of prosperity, along with times of turbulence and challenge. And over 60 years New Zealand has orientated itself on the world map differently: less the Antipodes and all that that implies, more a modern and assertive nation with a central role in the Pacific. We have developed our own distinct sense of identity. We value the things that make us unique, that make us Kiwis. We are a nation of many different peoples sharing a common belief in peace, progress, and a fair go.
The dignity, wisdom, and assurance that the Queen brings to her role as New Zealand’s head of State supersedes maps and distances. Throughout the changes of the past 60 years her status as our Sovereign has given many of us a sense of stability and confidence. Her role is a link with systems of constitutional government that have histories much longer than our own, and with traditions that move and inspire us.
In my time as Prime Minister, I have been fortunate enough to meet Her Majesty on a number of occasions, and I can say to members of this House, and, indeed, to New Zealanders, that she has a great care, concern, and passion for, and intimate knowledge and love of, this country, and, in my view, has done a wonderful job as the monarch of New Zealand. I know that in this Parliament there are a range of views on the future of the monarchy in New Zealand. I respect those views are sincerely held, while at the same time maintaining my own belief as both Prime Minister of New Zealand and as a
citizen of this realm that the monarchy continues to be both relevant and meaningful. Sixty years of service, and counting—let us warmly congratulate the Queen of New Zealand.
DAVID SHEARER (Leader of the Opposition)
: On behalf of the Labour Party, I join with the Prime Minister and other members of this House in paying tribute to, and thanking, Queen Elizabeth II, who marks the 60th anniversary of her ascension to the throne. New Zealand stands alongside many other Commonwealth countries in congratulating Her Majesty on this, her diamond jubilee. I also welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement earlier that New Zealand will host the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall later on, in November this year, and I know that will be welcomed by many New Zealanders.
I understand that Queen Victoria was the only other queen to have reigned as long as Queen Elizabeth II, so it is appropriate that Parliament marks this occasion. Her reign is perhaps best described by the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, who said that “in a churning and changing world” she is “an anchor for our age.” Her reign has been one of an unwavering commitment and dedication to service. It is a commitment that has spanned the service of 14 New Zealand Prime Ministers and 12 British Prime Ministers, and, as the Prime Minister just remarked, it is sobering that the weight of responsibility of the monarchy fell on her at the age of only 25. Perhaps most famously for New Zealand is our link to that coronation 60 years ago, when Sir Edmund Hillary conquered Everest and said that that feat was, in fact, a coronation gift. No one can doubt her dedication to Commonwealth countries. In our darkest hours she has stood by us. Her words of support, for example, in Canterbury were very well received, and her grandson’s visiting and saying the words “kia kaha” to Cantabrians perhaps best acknowledged the stoic resolve of Cantabrians at that particular time. She is the first monarch, in fact, to have ever visited New Zealand, and she has visited 10 times in her 60-year reign.
I had the privilege of meeting Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace some 15 or 16 years ago, and it is an honour I will not forget. I have enormous respect for her work and her service.
We acknowledge, of course, that over the last 60 years much has changed in New Zealand, and there will inevitably be some discussion about our future constitutional arrangements. But that is a debate for another day. Today is a day to mark her reign of service, commitment, and dedication, and on behalf of the Labour Party I congratulate Her Majesty.
Dr KENNEDY GRAHAM (Green)
: The Green Party pays tribute to our head of State, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth of New Zealand. As the second - longest serving Sovereign, the Queen has played a most significant and important role in the world through an extraordinary 66 years of tumultuous world history. She has honoured the institution of the monarchy through the natural dignity of her person and the grace with which she has discharged her duties. She has honoured this country in the genuine interest she has displayed in our history, our culture, our sporting prowess, our military sacrifices, our changing demographic character, and our hopes and aspirations for the future.
When the Queen was crowned in 1952, Sir Edmund Hillary was yet to conquer Mount Everest. Back home, half of New Zealand homes did not have a fridge, and one in five did not have a flushing toilet. No home had television. The idea of standing on the moon remained in the realm of heroic planning, if not science fiction. So times have changed considerably since our Queen ascended the throne as a young woman. We celebrate her 60th anniversary with a respectful message of gratitude and personal affection shared by all New Zealanders.
No discussion about the New Zealand monarchy occurs today without attention being naturally given to the nature of the institution of the head of State. We remain in a small minority of nations that share the same head of State with others. There are many who advocate a transition sooner or later to a republican institution—one based here in our own soil. There are others who are comfortable with the status quo and wish it to continue. Her Majesty will not be unaware of the somewhat desultory debate in the country along these lines. The Green Party does not have a formal position on this matter, and now is not the time to explore it. But equally it is inappropriate, even as we pay tribute to our respected monarch, not to acknowledge the future challenge we face as a nation on this matter. Let us send a message from this Parliament of Aotearoa New Zealand to Her Majesty thanking her for her gracious service and wishing her a long and fruitful life ahead.
Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First)
: New Zealand First wishes to be associated with the previous sentiments and to say that we agree with them in their entirety. New Zealand is one of only nine countries with an unbroken line of democracy these last 150 years, and the Queen being our head of State may be one of the significant reasons why we have that proud claim, which so few countries can boast as we do. Hence we send her our heartfelt congratulations.
HONE HARAWIRA (Leader—Mana)
: Tēnā koe, Mr Speaker. Huri rauna tēnā tātou katoa. E tautoko ana i ngā mihi atu ki te Kuini. I te mea hoki ka huri au ki te reo Pākehā, kia mōhio tūturu ai tātou, he aha pū ngā whakaaro kai roto i taku ngākau.
[Greetings to you, Mr Speaker, and to us throughout. I endorse the accolades to the Queen and immediately turn to English so that we understand fully what the thoughts within me are.]
On behalf of the Mana movement I congratulate the Queen on achieving this historic milestone, and I urge this Government to invite her to reaffirm her commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi as a guide to how this Government might act in all matters pertaining to the indigenous people of Aotearoa and the lands and resources that it holds on behalf of all New Zealanders. Tēnā tātou katoa.
Hon JOHN BANKS (ACT—Epsom)
: The ACT Party is glad to be associated with this motion. This weekend marked the 172nd anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. Rather than a day of national celebration, it has continued to be a time of angst and controversy. We continue to be lost in a mire of conflicted identity. The last time I attended Waitangi was in 1990, the year the Queen suffered an offensive affront to her dignity as our head of State when she was assaulted on the Treaty grounds. I vowed that day that I would not return until the behaviour improved. Two decades later the behaviour of many of those remains the same. It is my hope that 6 February can become a day when all of us can peacefully celebrate the greatness of our country and can recognise the important role that both the Crown and Māori have played in the development of our nation.
The sixth of February also marks the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s ascension to the throne. Today offers an opportunity for this Parliament to celebrate the Queen and everything her reign has meant to the country over the past six decades. Her commitment to the Commonwealth and the sense of duty with which she has carried out her role is to be applauded. Her reign has brought a common thread of stability and unity to our young country, and as a nation we should not be in any great haste to change such an important link to our past. The Queen has kept her solemn coronation oath to govern the people of New Zealand according to our laws and customs. Fourteen New Zealand Prime Ministers have served her, and she has always fulfilled her duty without becoming embroiled in the politics of the day. She embodies the principle that
constitutional monarchy is power constrained and upholds democratic government in New Zealand through the notion that policy is determined, finally, in this House.
Today this Parliament—this country—gives praise and thanks, congratulations, and warmest best wishes to Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of New Zealand, on her 60th year on the throne. Long may she live in good health, happiness, and contentment.
Hon PETER DUNNE (Leader—United Future)
: On behalf of United Future I want to join with others who have spoken in tribute to Her Majesty the Queen on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of her ascension to the throne.
It is sobering to realise that when that event occurred very few members of this House were actually alive, Winston Churchill was the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Harry Truman resided in the White House, and Stalin was still carrying on his murderous ways in Russia. Sidney Holland was our own Prime Minister. So much has changed, when one reflects upon those people and the character of their times, and yet the one thing that Queen Elizabeth has been able to provide through those intervening 60 years to the present has been a sense of continuity, a huge measure of dignity, and, in many senses, that portrayal of common sense and common wisdom that has held her own country together in times of great crisis, and, I think, has been a beacon of hope for many around the world. It never ceases to amaze me that republics like the United States, for instance, give the Queen perhaps the warmest welcome of all when she visits there, and I think that says a lot about her and her character.
As a republican, I acknowledge this is not the occasion to delve into that debate in any sense; this is the occasion to mark 60 years of service, commitment, and dedication to her people by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and to wish her and her family well as they celebrate this occasion and look forward to the future.