Notice of Motion re Queens Birthday

by Desk Editor on Wednesday, June 8, 2016 — 10:42 AM

Queen Elizabeth II—90th Birthday

Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): I seek leave to move a motion without notice to congratulate Her Majesty the Queen on the occasion of her 90th birthday.

Mr SPEAKER: Is there any objection to that course of action being followed? There is none.

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I move, That this House congratulate Her Majesty the Queen on the occasion of her 90th birthday.

On 21 April this year, Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her 90th birthday. New Zealand has marked this occasion in a number of ways—including in the naming of this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List, with 21-gun salutes on 21 April, and again yesterday, and with a service of celebration at Wellington’s Cathedral tomorrow evening.

The Queen’s life has spanned some extraordinary events, changes, and celebrations. She was born in 1926, when the New Zealand population was 1.4 million and Gordon Coates was the Prime Minister. She became Queen of New Zealand when she was 25 years of age.

Much has been said of the Queen’s lifetime of service, and she is widely respected for the grace and dignity she has brought to her reign. She has also been supportive and encouraging of some profound changes in society, technology, and culture over the years.

A striking example is the way the Commonwealth has altered since the young Princess Elizabeth made her pledge of lifelong service on her 21st birthday in 1947. That pledge was to the people of the “British Commonwealth and Empire”, which included the seven independent members of the Commonwealth—of which New Zealand was one.

This year, in her Commonwealth Day message, Her Majesty spoke of diversity, inclusiveness, and acting for the common good. The audience for that message was the populations of 53 independent countries. The Commonwealth today includes some of the world’s largest, smallest, richest, and poorest countries, spanning five regions. They have all chosen to join this organisation and retain a link to its shared inheritance and values. That is, I believe, a testament to the Queen’s stewardship of the Commonwealth family in a way that has enabled it to adapt and remain relevant through some remarkable changes.

The Queen has been a steadfast figure in New Zealand’s national consciousness: as the embodiment of our system of constitutional monarchy, and as a touchstone for our democratic principles and institutions.

Today I am pleased to announce New Zealand’s gift to the Queen to mark her 90th birthday. A new Education Centre at the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park has been chosen as the gift from New Zealand, to acknowledge this special event for the Queen and will be named the Queen Elizabeth II Pukeahu Education Centre.

I wish to offer my warmest congratulations to Her Majesty the Queen.

ANDREW LITTLE (Leader of the Opposition): I join with the Prime Minister in extending the congratulations of myself and the Labour Party to Her Majesty on the celebration of her 90th birthday—which we did over the weekend, but, of course, we know that it actually happened about 6 weeks ago.

As I have said before, Her Majesty has served with grace and dignity, and she has raised both the stature and the popularity of the monarchy here in New Zealand and right across her realm, even amongst ardent republicans like myself. Queen Elizabeth has a special connection to this House: she was the first reigning monarch ever to open a Parliament here in New Zealand.

As the Prime Minister has acknowledged, her reign has included or surpassed some of the major historic events of her 60 years: politically, from Churchill to Cameron; culturally, from the BBC at the Proms to Britain’s Got Talent; and, of course, from Home Guard and Home Watch to the Apple wristwatch. In her reign, she has appointed 13 Governors-General of New Zealand—and in September that will be 14. She has overseen 14 New Zealand Prime Ministers—and, of course, in November next year that will be 15. She has presided over 41 All Black captains and 610 men who have put on the black jersey. And she has superintended one attempt to remove the Union Jack from the New Zealand flag.

The fact that Her Majesty continues to do her duty with considerable vim and vigour at the age of 90 is a testament to her character, her dedication, and her sense of duty to all people in the realm and across the Commonwealth. We give her our warm congratulations.

Dr KENNEDY GRAHAM (Green): The Green Party shares in the nation’s expression of goodwill to Her Majesty on the occasion of her 90th birthday.

Our collective goodwill is due to an extraordinary and, indeed, quite unique life already lived, and, for us in this particular realm, her continuing reign in New Zealand. Her Majesty is the symbol of the unity of our country, something that is quite different from the composition and functioning of this legislature.

The Queen has reigned in New Zealand for 64 years. That comprises a long, not to say tortuous, flowing of the political rivers since 1952, when East Germany looked out on the West, when Churchill and Truman and Adenauer and Nehru led their nations, and when Yvette Williams won the gold for New Zealand in Helsinki.

The issue of New Zealand’s constitutional future is not the matter before us today; suffice it to say that this subject will inevitably be explored at the appropriate time, including in this House. That is entirely compatible with an expression of goodwill, respect, and affection for Queen Elizabeth of New Zealand.

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Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First): We join in celebrating 90 years of Her Majesty’s life, in this, the second Elizabethan era—one that would be made complete should Britain show its independence from an ungrateful European parliamentary yoke and come back to the Commonwealth.

Fourteen Prime Ministers of New Zealand have come and gone during her reign, some memorable and others, alas, far less so. But, thankfully, we have had but one queen. Indeed, that continuity means that she has worked with well over 150 Prime Ministers and others of her realms. Some in this House believe we should become a republic—maybe that will happen, or maybe it will not. This is because, if anything, our young recognise that although many countries have presidents, few have monarchies like New Zealand.

To our Sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II of New Zealand, New Zealand First joins with other New Zealanders in saying “Long may she reign.”

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL (Co-Leader—Māori Party):

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Hon PETER DUNNE (Leader—United Future): The British Queen, Queen Elizabeth II, would probably be one of the most well-known and popular people throughout the world. I venture to suggest that that is not necessarily because of the institution to which she belongs, but because of her unique values and service over the 64 years that she has occupied the British throne. She has come to epitomise dedication, humility, loyalty, service, and a number of other positive attributes.

Other speakers have drawn all sorts of historical allusions to the length of the Queen’s reign and how things have changed. I note that shortly after her coronation in 1953 was the last time that the Welsh beat the All Blacks. I note also that the Welsh play the All Blacks again this Saturday—and I hope that the gift that the Prime Minister announced as being New Zealand’s gift to recognise the Queen’s 90th birthday is all that we will give them on this occasion.

May she have an enjoyable year ahead, and may her lifetime of service continue to be recognised.

DAVID SEYMOUR (Leader—ACT): On behalf of the ACT Party, I would like to join with other leaders in congratulating Her Majesty, our Queen, on the occasion of her 90th birthday. Long may she reign.

  • Motion agreed to.

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