New Zealand's monarchists and republicans are in agreement over one thing - the Sussexes' surprise announcement won't move the needle much on the republic debate Down Under.

Monarchists see the move as being over-hyped in the media, while republicans say it highlights the essential irrelevance of the British royal family to Kiwis' lives.

Former United Future leader and staunch republican Peter Dunne said the move would not be a trigger point for a republican uprising.

"It just highlights - as far as New Zealand's concerned, anyway - the increasing irrelevance of the British royal family's travails to daily life in New Zealand. I think it will just be one more nail in their coffin.

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The Royal Family "lives in a world of its own", he said. "It's admired and adored by the British people but I don't think it really has any great significance for New Zealanders any more."

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, and Meghan the Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry watch a flypast of Royal Air Force aircraft pass over Buckingham Palace in London. Photo / AP
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, and Meghan the Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry watch a flypast of Royal Air Force aircraft pass over Buckingham Palace in London. Photo / AP

Lewis Holden, campaign chair of lobby group New Zealand Republic, believed the move would contribute to the death of the monarchy "by a thousand cuts", particularly added to the scandal swirling around the Queen's son, Prince Andrew.

"None of this has anything to do with us. They might nominally hold the position of head of state of New Zealand but in actual fact we're completely irrelevant to this whole thing...so we say it's time for our own head of state."

Harry stepping back would remove one of the more relatable members of the family from the limelight - inevitably making people think more about whether there was an alternative.

"I think most New Zealanders see the monarchy as a bit of an anachronism - one that we can't be bothered getting rid of but we will, eventually."

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle walk away after posing for the media in the grounds of Kensington Palace in London. Photo / AP
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle walk away after posing for the media in the grounds of Kensington Palace in London. Photo / AP

Sir Don McKinnon, former deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon said the Sussexes' move would likely not have much impact on the view of New Zealand's relationship to the Crown.

"Our attitude to the Royal Family - I wouldn't call it volatile, but it does go up and down and depending on who the various incumbents are, usually. So I think what [Harry's] done is something that is quite workable within the overall royal structure."

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He appreciated the benefit of the current structure. "It's not expensive and it does give us a level of familiarity."

But New Zealand's face was changing.

Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, with their son Archie. Photo / AP
Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, with their son Archie. Photo / AP

"What do the young kids of New Zealanders who were refugees from Vietnam or Somalia or Colombia or somewhere - what are their linkage going to be to our head of state on the other side of the world?"

Monarchy New Zealand chairman Dr Sean Palmer downplayed the couple's move, saying it was "just another step" for an institution that had been evolving for 1000 years.

The pair could change their minds at a later date and move back into more traditional roles, he said.

He didn't believe a move by Harry - who is sixth in line to the throne - would change Kiwis' minds about the monarchy.

In the 21st century Kiwis had come to appreciate New Zealand's "extraordinary constitutional structure", Palmer said.

"This is the most successful political structure that exists anywhere in the world and we share it with a number of other countries like Canada.

"If [republicans] were to suggest that we abolish a system simply based on personality issues I think a lot of New Zealanders would be shocked by that and say that seems a bit rash.

"I don't think it will be a factor, particularly when we look at those who are in line to the throne - the popularity of Charles, but to a much greater extent William and George."