New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins wants to ditch the monarchy but will still meet with King Charles III while in Britain for the Coronation.
Hipkins let slip this week that arrangements were being finalised for him enjoy a personal meeting with the King and members of the Royal Family while in the UK.
It comes as he affirmed his strong support for New Zealand becoming a republic.
“I believe we should ultimately be an independent country,” he told journalists at the weekend.
“I’m on record as being a republican, I think, I’ve never made any secret of that. But I’ve also indicated it’s not a priority for me, it’s not something I intend to push.”
His predecessor, Jacinda Ardern, held a similar position.
Hipkins desire for a republic goes against the trend in New Zealand where the last poll, held back in February 2022 by Reid Research, showed only 36.4% of Kiwis favoured the proposition.
Hipkins acknowledged that his personal preference was at odds with public demand.
“Honestly, I think it is something for New Zealanders to instigate a discussion on, and there isn’t a groundswell of support for having this particular debate right at the moment," he said.
“When New Zealanders are ready to have a debate about whether or not they want to become a republic, then I will just be one vote in that. But it’s not something that I intend to prioritise – I don’t believe it’s the right time to do it.”