With an election looming, Prime Minister John Key may have been using his change-the-flag referendum plan - launched this week - to try to tap into a growing sense of nationalism.

He's happy to see the Union Jack consigned to the dustbin of history, but clearly not prepared to hoist the "NZ Republic" debate up the flagpole just yet. With so many hardcore National Party supporters having British origins, he will only push the "distinct Kiwi identity" boat out so far.

And it's a boat that might discover "Britannia rules the waves". According to a poll this week, sentiment to change the national flag has waned since the last con-flag-ration was sparked a few years back.

And this week's Chronicle poll on our wanganuichronicle.co.nz website showed support for next month's royal visit by Prince William, Catherine and baby Prince George, with most people voting saying it would be "one of the highlights of the year". Those wanting to declare New Zealand a republic polled just 18 per cent of the vote.


More significant was the 23 per cent whose interest would be piqued if the royal tour took in Wanganui. Now wouldn't that be something!

Here I must declare my hand. As a Brit and something of a monarchist, I would be delighted to see the heir-but-one to the throne strolling down the avenue that bears his great-great-great-great-grandmother's name, as a newspaper editor ... well, that's page one sewn up and then some.

Equally delighted, no doubt, would British-born Wanganui resident Sandra Munro whose tales of rubbing up against royalty we featured in Thursday's Chronicle.

So here the Chronicle formally extends an invitation to the royal party to pull over in Wanganui for a few hours as they flit about between the official itinerary of Wellington, Auckland, Blenheim, Christchurch, Hamilton, Queenstown, Dunedin and Cambridge.

They can visit the Prince Edward auditorium at Collegiate school; the Durie Hill tower where - rumour has it - the Queen Mother once nipped off for a quick ciggie; the suitably-named Majestic Square; and they can buy some cute clothes and a toy for baby George at Evelyn & Moose.

Love to have you here, guys.

Of course, some people will understandably query the logic of a family of largely Germanic origins holding supreme power in what is otherwise a modern, free and democratic nation. Maybe that is exactly the appeal - in a rational and ordered world here is something that defies logic; something unique and ever so slightly bizarre.

And, of course, for the Brits it works brilliantly.


New Zealanders will one day get the chance to give their verdict.