Talk:Independence of New Zealand

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Section Inconsistency[edit]

Removed republic section as does not fit with the rest of this article. It is widely recognised that Commonwealth Realms are completely independent nations by definition. Including a discussion of a republic is thus entirely unwarranted within this article. It reads like an advertorial. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:09, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

There's no inconsistency. An element of the discussion of New Zealand's independence is becoming a republic. Irrespective of the legal independence of New Zealand as a Commonwealth realm the verifiable fact is that people such as Jim Bolger have used independence as an argument. --Lholden (talk) 21:15, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

Independence Day[edit]

"The concept of a national "Independence Day" seems foreign to the New Zealand psyche." --> ANZAC and Waitangi day crossed have the potential to become that day, imo Brian | (Talk) 10:10, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

I would add when the UK actually made a law binding on NZ, I for one have no idea when that was. Also, when did the monarch start appointing the Gov-Gen on the advise of the NZ PM rather than the UK PM? Oh, and saying good riddance bye to the Privy Council and hello to the SCONZ (honestly "scones" is our highest court!) would also be important in independence. --Midnighttonight 10:03, 7 June 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I was thinking also about the sillySC.
Re. GG- after the Balfour conference (1926). However we 'clung' on to the old way for a while. Brian | (Talk) 10:39, 7 June 2006 (UTC)
Midnight - there's a number of statutes that bound NZ. Our flag was acutally a product of one (the Colonial Navy Act or something) and of course the Colonial Laws Validity Act. Is that the one you meant?

Brian - yeah, although I think the change was basically because of the way the Colonial Office worked. Australia didn't appoint its first Aussie GG till the 60s as well. --Lholden 01:46, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

In Canada, the first non-British GG was appointed in 1952.--Mathew5000 09:19, 8 June 2006 (UTC)


"Bolger later argued that he did not believe the 'Queen of England' should be New Zealand's head of state."

New Zealand has never had the 'Queen of England' as our HoS, the last 'Queen of England' was Queen Anne in 1701, some 300 years ago. Brian | (Talk) 00:56, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

I know, that's the direct quote from Bolger however. However, the term "Queen of England" is used to describe Queen Victoria in the Treaty, which just goes to show how badly drafted the Treaty was... --Lholden 01:46, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

New Zealand citizenship[edit]

According to some quick research, New Zealanders gained their own citizenship under The British Nationality and New Zealand Citizenship Act 1948 from 1 January 1949. Prior to this Act (which came about as a result of the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1947) all New Zealanders were automatically British citizens. --Lholden 02:46, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

Be care full of the no Original Research rule Brian | (Talk) 02:59, 9 June 2006 (UTC)
I've just quoted the effect of the Act, so it's not research. --Lholden 03:14, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

I remember reading somewhere about, until early the 70s passports had NZ citizen/British Subject in them, can anyone confirm? Brian | (Talk) 11:47, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

It was in the movie The World's Fastest Indian, so it must be true.--Mathew5000 17:22, 20 June 2006 (UTC)
That would be right, the citizenship law was changed early in the 70s by the 3rd Labour govt. --Lholden 22:36, 20 June 2006 (UTC)


"New Zealanders overall have little interest in asserting a definitive independence break from Britain as a focus of national identity, preferring to stress ethnic co-operation and an independent foreign policy as marks of nationhood while maintaining a nostalgic connection with their former metropolitan power." Isn't this a little POV? Who's speaking on behalf of all New Zealanders here..? Alan Baskin 23:57, 8 July 2006 (UTC)

Yes it probably is Alan. Any suggestions to remove the POV? --Lholden 00:30, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

"New Zealanders overall have little interest in asserting a definitive independence break from Britain..." What links to Britain prevent NZ from being independent? --gbambino 16:58, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

The Head of state Gavin. --Lholden 21:42, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

Then, shouldn't the sentence read: "New Zealanders overall have little interest in asserting a definitive independence break from the other fifteen Commonwealth Realms"? The convention as laid out in the preamble to the Statute of Westminster states that any alteration to the line of succession relies as much on the consent of every realm beyond the UK as much as it does on the consent of the UK itself. However, as it's only a convention (ableit an important one), NZ can actually unilaterally alter the line, or become a republic. With the freedom to alter legislation as it sees fit, how then is NZ not independent? --gbambino 21:55, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

Firstly, the freedom to change the status quo does not mean New Zealand is independent; we have the freedom to ACT independently of the other realms, but that does not equate to independence under the status quo - freedom of action and independence are not one in the same things. East Timor had the freedom to become independent from Indonesia in 1999, that doesn't mean they were "independent" of Indonesia prior to voting yes to independence. Secondly, the "definitive break" from the Commonwealth Realms is a misnomer. We wouldn't be "breaking" from the Commonwealth Realms, anymore than we would be abolishing the Sovereign in New Zealand. The Queen would remain Head of the Commonwealth. --Lholden 22:06, 18 July 2006 (UTC)
Commonwealth Realms are the countries of which the Queen is head of state - the Statute of Westminster stipulates that the agreement of the fifteen others to adopt a parallel alteration to the line of succession should be sought before any one realm alters the line within their jurisdiction.
Your East Timor analogy is not pertinent. Before independence, East Timor was under the jurisdiction of a higher power. Since at least 1986 no country other than NZ has the power to legislate for NZ - regarding anything, including the monarchy. As I said below, voluntarily sharing the same head of state, by your own laws, does not make a nation dependent on, or subservient to another. Two people who willingly purchase something with the intent of sharing it do not suddenly enter into a stratified relationship - each remains equal and independent despite a link to one another through their shared object.
So, really, the sentence I quoted from the article is misleading. New Zealanders can't show an interest in asserting a definitive independence break from Britain because there is no more independence to be gained. However, saying New Zealanders don't show an interest in removing New Zealand from the shared monarchy relationship is something different all-together. --gbambino 22:29, 18 July 2006 (UTC)
First, on the East Timor point: You claim that a state is only independent when it has the freedom to act. That is exactly what East Timor had in 1999 prior to voting in a referendum for independence. You emphasised the freedom to act, which is analogous to New Zealand having the freedom to act. The analogy is pertinent.
Second: "New Zealanders can't show an interest in asserting a definitive independence break from Britain because there is no more independence to be gained". We are dependent on the United Kingdom for our Head of state, our law states so. We can gain more independence should be we become a republic; we would have our own Head of state. The "definitive independence break from Britain" refers to the fact that our Head of state, by our law, is the British Monarch. The fact that the other Commonwealth Realms share the same monarch is irrelevant. Your argument ignores the simple truth that the Sovereign of New Zealand is declared to be anyone under the Act of Settlement who is the Head of state in the United Kingdom. Should Britain become a republic, our Head of state would, under our law, become the President of Britain (And no, you wouldn't have to amend the Act of Settlement for Britain to become a republic). Your edit will make little sense to most New Zealanders, monarchists included, because the general populace view the Queen as Queen of the United Kingdom, and would find it perplexing that we're somehow breaking a bond with other Commonwealth Realms by becoming a republic.
Third: Your purchase argument isn't analogous. If two (or more) people who willingly purchase something with the intent of sharing it, they have entered into a partnership. The New Zealand situation is akin to a contract, whereby our law states that whoever is Head of state of Britain is Head of state of New Zealand, thus we have a contractual relationship. --Lholden 23:13, 18 July 2006 (UTC)
I suppose the question is: given that NZ law states the Monarch of New Zealand will always be the same person who is Monarch of the UK, and given that the UK no longer has the ability to legislate for NZ, if the UK parliament unilaterally altered the line of succession, would the change have effect in New Zealand? As no law passed in the UK extends to NZ, it would seem to me that if the UK altered the Act of Settlement without NZ's consent, the end result would be two Acts - one (altered) pertinent to the UK, and one (unaltered) pertinent to NZ.
Despite that, however, even if NZ did depend on the UK for its sovereign, a republic isn't necessary to end the situation. Canada is a Commonwealth Realm, but one which alone has control over the line of succession to its throne. If Britain altered its line of succession, or became a republic, the change would have no effect in Canada.
As for your point regarding my edit: articles aren't written to conform to what the general populace thinks - which is more often than not incorrect. If people find it perplexing that NZ's becoming a republic would split it from the shared monarchy relationship with the other fifteen countries under the Crown, then they've come to the right place to find out all about it. --gbambino 00:37, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
Heh? You mustn't have read what I wrote. I was making a legal point on the Act of Settlement. The last part was simply to note the public perception. I didn't say that that was the reason why I amended your edit. --Lholden 00:41, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
Yes, and I asked a question regarding the legalities around the Act of Settlement. I then made a comment about common perception, which wasn't necessarily tied to the preceding question. --gbambino 01:26, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
My understanding is that any change in laws pertaining the Queen/King of the Commonwealth Realms, such as Act of Settlement, must be agreed to by each of the Commonwealth Realms. Does that sound right? Admittedly, my background in law consists of Boston Legal... Sigh. -- Greaser 06:30, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
Yes, by convention that is the case - New Zealand's agreement is required to amend the law regarding the succession. However, we could unilaterally amend the Act ourselves, which is Gavin's point on independence. --Lholden 00:00, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

Act of Settlement[edit]

"Supporters of a New Zealand republic have often argued that because the Act of Settlement 1701 (the Act governing the succession to the British throne) is a statute of the United Kingdom, and because the position of New Zealand's Head of state is thus reserved for a person from that country, New Zealand is not fully independent. In response, supporters of the monarchy argue that New Zealand could amend the Act of Settlement if it so desired, and is thus fully legally independent of Britain. Amending the Act would mean that the succession of the New Zealand monarchy would differ from that of other Commonwealth Realms however."

Something's contradictory in this statement. If the Act of Settlement for New Zealand remains a statute of the United Kingdom then the monarchists are wrong that New Zealand can alter the act unilaterally. If the Act of Settlement is an inherited part of the New Zealand constitution (as it is in Canada) then the republicans are wrong that the Act is a statute of the UK. Which is correct? --gbambino 16:44, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

It's a statute of the UK that is effective in New Zealand as received law. The NZ Parliament can amend it, but any such amendment would have effect only with respect to New Zealand. --Mathew5000 17:17, 18 July 2006 (UTC)
Gavin, if you read the wording of New Zealand's Constitution Act 1986, you'll see that it refers to the "English Act" (the Act of Settlement). Moreover, so does the Imperial Laws Application Act 1988 (the New Zealand Act defining what Westminster statutes are effective in New Zealand). Unlike the Constitution Act (or first was an Act of Westminster) the Act of Settlement hasn't been patriated. --Lholden 21:46, 18 July 2006 (UTC)
I see, thanks. It would seem that if NZ has the power to amend the Act, with the amendment being only effective in NZ, then the country is independent. Willingly sharing the same head of state with another country does not automatically make either country subservient to the other. However, despite the fallacy of their argument, I suppose the opposite is a republican argument, and should be acknowledged as such. --gbambino 22:10, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

I’ll disagree with you there Lewis; the Constitution Act 1986 stated that the Parliament of the UK no longer had the authority to legislate for NZ. Also legislation by “request and consent” was also ended (as was allowed by the Statute of Westminster). So imo any change to the law of succession in the UK would have no effect here.

Noel Cox has once noted “Any alteration by the United Kingdom Parliament in the law touching the succession to the throne would, except perhaps in the case of Papua New Guinea, be ineffective to alter the succession to the throne in respect of, and in accordance with the law of, any other independent member of the Commonwealth which was within the Queen’s realms at the time of such alteration. Therefore it is more than mere constitutional convention that requires that the assent of the Parliament of each member of the Commonwealth within the Queen’s realms be obtained in respect of any such alteration in the law”

I know that I’m a bit late to the above argument, but oh well that’s my two cents Brian | (Talk) 01:12, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

That doesn't change my argument Brian - the point is, New Zealand's Head of state is so because our law states "whoever suceeds under the English Act of Settlement is Head of state in New Zealand". Noel Cox may very well be correct that changes to the succession might not be effective in New Zealand but - say for example Westminster changed the male primogenture rules but NZ didn't; we'd still have the same Head of state. --Lholden 01:49, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
We might with Charles, but who knows down the track, if the UK changed the male primogenture rules, the UK would have one person, however the other 15 realms will share a different HoS. Brian | (Talk) 07:29, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
You know that that is not likely; the alternative is to break the constitutional convention on the succession; which would of course ignite the republic debate. --Lholden 08:38, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

Supreme Court[edit]

Should the establishment of the Supreme Court in 2004 be noted somewhere? Ending appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London would seem to be relevant to any discussion of NZ independence. Lisiate 01:38, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

Ever since 1947, the New Zealand government and parliament had it within its own power to decide on the issue of appeals to the privy council in London. Hence it is not an independence issue.
In 1986, when the Australian states ended such appeals, it was an independence issue because the commonwealth government in Canberra didn't have the power to terminate those appeals. The 1931 Statute of Westminster reserved such powers to London. David Tombe (talk) 05:48, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

World War II[edit]

Hae amended the bit about NZ forces in Middle East not under NZ control which is not true, see Ian McGibbon in Kia Kaha: New Zealand in the Second World War Hugo999 (talk) 20:33, 3 March 2008 (UTC)

Divisibility of the Crown[edit]

Regarding the citation request for the meeting of commonwealth prime ministers following the death of King George VI in 1952, I won't be able to provide a citation. I read it years ago and I can't remember where. The then commonwealth prime ministers came from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, Ceylon, and of course the UK. The Indian prime minister did not attend because India had recently become a republic. It was agreed that each dominion could have its own royal title for the new Queen Elizabeth, providing that the title adhered to a basic common format.

Australia and New Zealand did not favour the concept of divisibility of the crown until the Whitlam administration of the 1970's, and it was only in 1973 that Australia decided to exercise its rights, based on that 1952 decision, to officially style the Queen as 'Queen of Australia'. New Zealand followed suite the next year. But the principle of divisibility of the crown had already been established in 1952. If you do not believe this, then by all means revert. But the reversion will be inaccurate. David Tombe (talk) 05:44, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Going back in time and shooting your grandfather before you were born[edit]

Gadfium, I hope that you didn't think that I was basing my observations surrounding the 1986 Constitution act, purely on what it said in the Investigate magazine. I realized that anomaly years ago, and I only discovered that Investigate magazine article very recently.

It was well known after the passing of the Canada Act in 1982, that the only residual UK powers left under the 1931 Statute of Westminster were in relation to Australia. Australia terminated those powers in February 1986. I couldn't believe it when I noticed that New Zealand had purported to do the same thing later the same year, even though we all knew that the residual powers had already been terminated in 1947.

It is obvious on reading the 1986 act, that in purporting to repeal the very UK acts which gave New Zealand its independence in 1947, that New Zealand were attempting to declare independence for a second time. David Tombe (talk) 05:55, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Here's the problem: apart from an article in Investigate, there's nothing to back your views. The Investigate article itself is based on an article by Lord Cooke of Thorndon, which the journalist has badly misconstrued. --Lholden (talk) 07:38, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Mr.Holden, the 'Investigate' article doesn't matter. Your problem will be in explaining exactly what the residual powers were that were supposedly repealed by the 1986 act. What exactly could the UK parliament do in relation to the law of New Zealand prior to 1986, that it couldn't do after 1986?

I can find endless articles which confirm that 1947 is the date of New Zealand independence. David Tombe (talk) 07:47, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

David I presume that the date 1947 coincides with NZs adoption of the Statute of Westminster .. here are a couple of quotes ... in regard to the Statute of Westminster .
K C Wheare - " Consider first the method by which the sovereignty of the United Kingdom Parliament has been dealt with . The Conferences accepted ' the existence of a legal power in the Parliament of the United Kingdom to legislate for the Dominions ' . They did not attempt to abolish that legal power , and the Statute of Westminster nowhere purports to do so . " --- " But it is necessary to emphasise that in enacting section 4 , the United Kingdom Parliament has not attempted in strict law to diminish or abolish its power to legislate for the Dominions . Section 4 as has been emphasised is not a rule restricting power ; it is a rule of construction . " --- " It is not necessary for the United Kingdom Paliament to repeal section 4 of the Statute explicitly . It has merely to legislate for a Dominion and that legislation frees it from the restriction voluntarily accepted and expressed in section 4 . "
Later Wheare states - " This sovereignty is indestructible by Parliament . And the Courts have accepted this . Sovereignty may belong to the United Kingdom Parliament by nature but it is effective only in so far as and for so long as the Courts recognise Parliament to be Sovereign ."
Professor Bailey , Australian Law Journal 1932 - " As a strict matter of legal theory , the Statute of Westminster does not bind the Imperial Parliament at all , and is merely declatory in effect . It can in strict legal theory , be repealed or even ignored at any time . " -- " To give to a Dominion Parliament legal equality of status with the Imperial Parliament is thus in legal theory , impossible . "
After the Statute of Westminster and its adoption the question is - after following ' manner and form provisions ' ( ie: S.4 ) could the Westminster Parliament pass an Act that would be recognised and enforced by the Courts of New Zealand ?
If the answer is Yes - then Westminster law - could - still apply to all Newzealanders .
On the other hand - after the 1986 (?) Act could an Act passed by the UK Government be recognised by the NZ Courts ?
If the answer is No then that is the point of legal separation .
In my view the Statute of Westminster gave an increased ' autonomy ' to certain self-governing British Dominions but it was not independence as in ' Sovereign Independence '.

A rough indicator is the point at which ' British subject ' status ceased to apply to New Zealanders under NZ law . Was it in 1947 or close to 1986 ? Lejon (talk) 02:24, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

Legon, to the best of my knowledge, under the newest New Zealand citizenship legislation, which is 1977, unless I have missed a newer act, New Zealand citizens are still British Subjects under New Zealand law.

However, in all these matters, we must clearly distinguish between law and practice. In practice, New Zealand evolved to independence gradually. It emerged after the second world war as a fully independent nation in close relations with the UK. That close relationship was somewhat watered down when the UK joined the European Community in 1973.

If we want to establish a precise legal date for New Zealand independence, the best that we are going to get is 1947, when New Zealand adopted the relevant provisions of the Statute of Westminster. But it could be equally argued that effective independence had already been granted in 1931 when the UK enabled New Zealand to take up that offer.

The year 1986 is somewhat irrelevant because although the New Zealand Constitution Act of that year, purported to remove the residual constitutional relationship which had enabled the UK to legislate for New Zealand at New Zealnd's request and consent, the reality is that it still should have required legislation from the UK to alter that remaining residual constitutional link. Hence those aspects of the New Zealand constitution act are inoperative on the grounds that New Zealand didn't have the authority to pass such legislation.

Having said that, the matter will never be resolved in practice because the only way to put the matter to the test in practice would be for New Zealand to request Westminster to pass some legislation for New Zealand, and then to blatantly defy the new legislation and see what the UK courts intended to do about it. That is not going to happen. David Tombe (talk) 20:20, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

The Act which created New Zealand Citizenship independently of the UK was the British Nationality and New Zealand Citizenship Act 1948 - see New Zealand nationality law. The 1977 Citizenship Act simply declared NZers as "New Zealand Citizens" rather than British subjects, since the term had ceased to have any legal standing due in the mid-1970s.
The New Zealand Parliament did have the authority to repeal the residual right of the UK Parliament to legislate on New Zealand's behalf, under the New Zealand Constitution Amendment Act 1947 (UK), passed following the New Zealand Constitution Amendment (Request and Consent) Act 1947 (NZ). These are the enactments that allowed the Parliament of NZ to amend the Constitution Act 1852, and ultimately replace it with the 1986 Act. --Lholden (talk) 22:38, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

David Tombe I can't find were it says in the 1977 Act that New Zealanders are British subjects ? Unless the definition of aliens as not British subjects counts ? " we must distinguish between law and practice " not sure how that could work . I would think the two go hand in hand . As I said above New Zealand didn't evolve its independence gradualy - the British Dominion of New Zealand gradualy was granted a very high level of autonomy which included legislative equality but not legal or Sovereign equality . I think that the ' practices ' you describe were the rights to autonomy granted to the British people of New Zealand which when viewed from our perspective would equate to the rights of an Independent nation .

I realy can't see any evidence to support the idea that the 1986 Act is inoperative . Has there been any successfull legal challenge ? If not a piece of legislation that was unanimously passed by the NZ Parliament and was given the Royal assent would still be valid I think . I am also puzzled as to why if in 1931 or 1937 New Zealand was a " fully Independent nation " it would require British legislation to validate NZ legislation ?

LHolden - If the British Nationality and New Zealand Citizenship Act 1948 was written in similar terms to the equivalent Australian Act then far from removing British subjecthood it reinforced it ! Only by sighting the original copy of the Australian Act does that become plain . Australians had the legal status of British subjects until the Australia Acts of 1986 terminated all British jurisdiction over Australia . ( in fact in 1973 an authorised officer who issued an Australin passport to a person who was not an Australian citizen AND a British subject was liable to imprisonment of up to 2 years ! ) .

Having the right to terminate British jurisdiction is not the same as doing it . Lejon (talk) 10:20, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

No, legally New Zealand Citizenship became separate from British subjecthood with the 1948 Act. There is no legislation pertaining to New Zealand Citizenship before 1948, only legislation to deal with "aliens". The use of the term "British subject" in the New Zealand Act was essentially a legal fiction, in actual fact New Zealanders were only really New Zealand Citizens from 1 January 1949 onwards. That's why the term disappeared in the 1977 Citizenship Act - the NZ Government had come to realise being a "British subject" was meaningless because of the myriad of restrictions the GB government had put on Commonwealth citizens.
British legislation wasn't required to "validate" New Zealand legislation. What was required was an enactment which granted the Parliament of New Zealand the power to amend the New Zealand Constitution Act 1952, which was a UK Act. That could only happen if first the Parliament of New Zealand was able to amend all UK Acts considered part of NZ law - which is why the Statute of Westminster 1931 was adopted.
By the way, the title of this section doesn't make that much sense. If I went back in time and shot my grandfather before I was born, it's still possible I'd be alive... --Lholden (talk) 19:40, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

OK - are you saying you would be alive in the past but dead in the present ?

Are you saying that a UK Act was not required for NZ to pass the 1986 Act ?( as I think David Tombe was implying ) If so - then there is no reason or evidence to say that the 1986 Act is inoperative .

Therefore when that Act became effective on the 1st of January 1987 All jurisdiction of the UK parliament ceased . Lejon (talk) 23:29, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

Haha, no I'd be alive in the present. So long as my parents still met I'd be fine.
There wasn't a requirement for a UK Act to "validate" the Constitution Act 1986. That already happened with the 1947 New Zealand Constitution (Amendment) Act (UK). There's no evidence 1986 is inoperative in any way. --Lholden (talk) 00:28, 23 March 2009 (UTC)

Let's deal with the nationality issue first. Until 1947/48, there was only one nationality for all the colonies and dominions. Australians, New Zealanders, and Canadians were all 'British Subjects' under an act passed by Westminster in 1914. If an Aussie lost his passport in Toronto, he would have been issued with a Canadian passport describing him as a 'British Subject'.

In 1947, Canada acted unilaterally and introduced Canadian Citizenship for the first time. The other commonwealth countries' prime ministers had a meeting that same year to talk about a new formula in which each dominion would have its own citizenship, but that a common element would be retained for all the dominions. As such, The UK, South Africa, Southern Rhodesia, Australia, and New Zealand all passed new nationality acts between 1948 and 1949. The New Zealand act was very similar in its form to the UK act. The principle behind these new acts was to introduce citizenships for each individual dominion and that this citizenship would take primacy. The new acts also made provision to retain the status of British subject as an umbrella term, but the actual significance of this status was to be very quickly watered down over the next few years. By the 1960's, the significance of being a British Subject was reduced to the fact that British subjects already resident in the UK would find it easier than foreigners to become citizens of the UK and colonies. By the late 1970's the distinction between non-UK British subjects and foreigners resident in the UK was becoming lesser and lesser.

In 1977, Canada got a new citizenship act which dropped the term 'British subject' altogether. In the UK a new British Citizenship act was passed in 1981 (coming into effect in 1983)which dropped the term 'British Subject' in relation to commonwealth citizens, and in 1984, Australia passed an act which dropped the term 'British subject'.

The 1977 New Zealand citizenship act retained the term. See the second line down in Section (2) of the act at [1]. But it had become totally insignificant by that stage.

On the other point, The 1947 constitutional amendment act passed by Westminster did indeed give New Zealand the right to amend its constitution. It put New Zealand into the same category that South Africa was in immediately after the 1931 act was passed. New Zealand is free to amend its constitution in any way it sees fit. The point that I was making was that it was totally pointless to repeal the 1947 adoption act and to purport to repeal the 1931 act. A constitutional amendment could have been done without mentioning those two acts which had actually been the very basis for New Zealand's independence in the first place. It is pointless to purport to repeal the very act that gave independence, and if there are some aspects of the 1931 act which it is felt cast some doubt over the totality of the independence, then the only legal way to remove that issue is by getting Westminster to remove it, as Canada and Australia did. If New Zealand felt that it was already independent enough to have the authority to remove that aspect itself, then the aspect in question clearly didn't interfer with that independence, and there should have been no need to remove it. If it did interfer, then they needed London to remove it. You can't remove all doubt about the issue of independence by declaring it yourself if you want to do it legally, because if you could do that, then there wasn't any doubt in the first place. And I don't think there was any doubt in the first place. David Tombe (talk) 02:03, 23 March 2009 (UTC)

The 1977 Act only uses the term "British subject" in its interpretation section, defining the term as being the same as "Commonwealth citizen". That doesn't mean that New Zealand citizens were also British subjects under the Act - as I've pointed out before, New Zealand Passports ceased using the words "British subject" after the 1977 Act. In any case, as you say, it's meaningless. --Lholden (talk) 23:24, 23 March 2009 (UTC)

Yes. It is pretty meaningless nowadays and has been since the 1970's. It was a technicality which I wanted to correct because it had been brought up in the discussion and the facts given were wrong. In the late 1940's the term 'British Subject' became interchangeable with 'Commonwealth Citizen', and pretty well all of the newly emerging independent commonwealth nations used the term 'Commonwealth Citizen' in preference to 'British Subject' in their new nationality laws. But in law, the two terms meant the same thing. The countries which used the term 'British Subject' were the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Southern Rhodesia. I could never find any more in addition to those, but I didn't check every case. Only New Zealand now retains it officially as an alternative word for 'Commonwealth Citizen'. Therefore, New Zealanders, being commonwealth citizens under their own law are still technically British subjects. But it wouldn't have said this in a New Zealand passport since 1977, and New Zealand passports stopped having the word 'British Passport' on the front cover some time in the 1960's. David Tombe (talk) 12:10, 24 March 2009 (UTC)

Jeez , I am realy confused now - the term ' Commonwealth Citizen ' is " the same as " and interchangeable with " - British subject . So under New Zealand law is an Indian citizen a British subject ? Lejon (talk) 21:39, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

By the letter of the law, 'yes'. But it will have absolutely no significance in practice. New Zealand seems to be the last country to have this status on its statute books. But although the 1977 act retained the status as per the letter of the act, the spirit of the act essentially removed that status. David Tombe (talk) 18:49, 31 March 2009 (UTC)


While I think the new introduction is an improvement, it's now a bit too long winded. I think it would make more sense to include most of the intro text to the background of New Zealand's independence (i.e. influences within the British Empire) in a "Context" section - the emphasis should be on the (verifiable) fact that New Zealand's independence was largely driven by outside influences rather than an internal desire for independence. The introduction should reflect the reason this article was started in the first place: to show international readers why there isn't one, single date of independence for New Zealand. --Lholden (talk) 04:37, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

It's fine. It's all beginning to fit. The UK joined the European Community in 1973 and abrogated its preferential trade agreements with New Zealand. New Zealand was very hurt about this. Indeed there were many in the UK who were also upset with Ted Heath for doing this. Because of the particularly close trade links that had existed between the UK and New Zealand, New Zealand was given a special extension of its preferential trade agreements until 1977.
It's interesting that it was in 1977 that New Zealand introduced its new citizenship act, which did away with the status of 'British Subject' in spirit, if not by the actual letter of the act.
Therefore, the act of the UK joining the European Community played a major role in the changing attitudes of the younger generations in New Zealand towards the UK, as compared to the attitude held by their forefathers. David Tombe (talk) 18:44, 31 March 2009 (UTC)


Re the paragraph “With Dominion status, New Zealand did not have any control over its foreign affairs or military; these issues remained the responsibility of Britain.” I think it should read “With Dominion status, New Zealand had limited control over its foreign affairs, which largely remained the responsibility of Britain.” Earlier governments were not interested in changing New Zealand’s foreign policy (though challenged parts of it, eg the low importance given by Britain to the Singapore Naval Base in the 1920s), but the First Labour Government challenged the policy of appeasement in the 1930s, particularly over Abyssinia. New Zealand had an Army in 1907, and an Air Force was established in the 1920s. The New Zealand Division of the RN did not become the RNZN until 1941, but this could be from both reluctance to pay for a navy, and realising that naval defence needed to be extended further than the waters around New Zealand, hence the interest in the Singapore Naval Base. Hugo999 (talk) 12:40, 26 September 2011 (UTC)

Example of the Sorites Paradox?[edit]

This is not a good example of the Sorites Paradox. And even if it was, this has no relevance or importance and should not be mentioned in the opening paragraph. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:09, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

Lacking early detail and the situation of Maori[edit]

Article lacks all detail of Captain Cook claiming NZ for King William 111 on 15 Nov 1769 in Mercury Bay, NZ. At this time Maori lived in scattered isolated villages normally of hapu size but also lived for long periods of time in small whanua groups. Groups did band together for the purposes of war but they retained their own immediate leaders. There is no evidence that Maori ever cooperated on a national level.Indeed the evidence is that hapu saw themselves as totally independent. A local chief had very limited powers apart from force of personality and the threat of violence. Without the general cooperation of the hapu members a chief could do little.

It should be noted that the Treaty of Waitangi legally came into force in NZ 6 days before it was first signed at Waitangi, when Hobson issued a printed proclamation. The same proclamation had already been passed in NSW by the governor. Only after this did he seek to meet with chiefs to seek their consent to the proclamation.

It should be noted that although a healthy number of chiefs signed the treaty-some 600 plus -it seems now the lack of signatures from other chiefs(some significant figures) did not preclude legal sovereignty passing to Britain. A curious observation . Of the 600 plus "signatures" only 12% actually signed their own name-the vast majority of these few in a very shaky unconvincing hand. The rest put X. or a bit of their moko. This tells a story in itself about literacy and the ability of Maori to comprehend subtle difference in either written Maori or English. Its pretty obvious they relied almost totally on what was said rather than what was on the paper at Waitangi and afterwards. Maori remained an oral culture well after the treaty period. (talk) 00:32, 16 January 2016 (UTC)