An Australian politician's call to ditch the Queen's Birthday holiday has reignited the debate over its relevance here.

Labor senator Matt Thistlethwaite told a conference of young party activists yesterday that scrapping the long weekend holiday at the beginning of June would be a symbolic step towards Australia becoming a republic.

He called for it to be replaced by holiday that recognised Australian values, reported.

"While it was once a quaint notion to celebrate the birth of the monarch, to modern-day Australians it has no significance and is completely outdated," he said.


Republican Movement of Aotearoa spokesman Lewis Holden said a similar move in New Zealand would be a positive step towards eventually becoming a republic.

"It's also a positive step, I think, for our own identity," he told APNZ.

"The ridiculous thing about Queen's Birthday is that it's not actually her birthday - it's just a day that they picked because it was a time when they had good weather in England, which tells you all you need to know about this holiday in terms of its relevance to New Zealand and Australia."

Mr Holden said if Australia did ditch the holiday, New Zealand could well follow suit.

"The two countries tend to follow one another," he said.

"The issue that most people have is that they want a holiday to replace Queen's Birthday, and in New Zealand we've actually got a really good replacement in Matariki, which is something we've been calling for for a few years now."

Matariki, the Maori new year, also takes place in June.

Monarchy New Zealand vice chairman Sean Palmer said the Australians could do what they wanted with their holidays, but it would not affect New Zealand.


"Basically, the Queen's Birthday is a brilliant opportunity to reflect on our very strong democratic structures, which the monarchy plays a part in."

Mr Palmer said if people were keen on a Matariki holiday he would not have a problem with that.

"But I don't see why we'd need to remove an existing holiday - there's no reason that the monarch's birthday couldn't be moved if there was a request for that.

"I think the public would probably enjoy two holidays. Why replace one with the other?"

Mr Palmer said republicans were clinging to an outdated cause, and the monarchy was more popular now than it had been in decades.

"Just a few months ago, one of the most watched television events in New Zealand history was the royal wedding," he said.

Prime Minister John Key has said in the past that New Zealand would one day become a republic, but his Government would not take active steps toward that.