Arab Today, arab today royal visit fuels republican debate in new zealand
Last Updated : GMT 06:05:43
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Royal visit fuels republican debate in New Zealand

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Royal visit fuels republican debate in New Zealand

Wellington - XINHUA

Fog delayed the arrival of two of future heads of state in New Zealand Monday, but a small group of supporters welcomed Prince William and his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, as well as their infant son, Prince George, in Wellington. The young royals were about 20 minutes late when they eventually touched down just after midday, but they all appeared cheerful when they disembarked for the start of their first official visit to the country as a family. The party was met by Prime Minister John Key, Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown and Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae's aide de camp. The couple have been accorded celebrity status in the New Zealand media, with commentators discussing what the Duchess would be likely to wear, and much of the visit is expected to be widely televised as their arrival was. However, republican groups were also making their voices heard Monday with one poll showing support for a New Zealand head of state rather than the British monarchy had risen to 44 percent. Support for a New Zealand head of state from people aged 18 to 30 was at 66 percent and support for using the next British monarch as New Zealand's next head of state had fallen to 46 percent, according to a poll commissioned by the New Zealand Republic group. Public debate on a republic has also been fueled by the government's decision to hold a referendum within the next three years on changing the country's flag, which currently has the Union Jack in the top left corner, but Prime Minister John Key told Radio New Zealand Monday that he believed public support for the monarchy was strengthening. The royal family is in New Zealand until April 16, giving New Zealanders a rare chance to see their future heads of state in the flesh. The royal couple are to visit eight New Zealand centers and attend ceremonies to mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War during their stay while based at Government House in Wellington. The couple will go on to Australia before heading home to the United Kingdom. Prince William, the second in line to the throne, last visited New Zealand shortly after the Christchurch earthquake of February 2011.

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