Royal Titles Amendment Bill

Project discussion: secularise royal titles and styles

Royal Titles Amendment Bill

Member’s Bill

Explanatory Note

This Bill amends and modernises the Queen of New Zealand’s Royal title to make it more fairly reflect New Zealand’s multicultural and secular society. The words “by the Grace of God” and “Defender of the Faith” used in the current Royal title and style are inappropriate in a modern New Zealand context.

“By the Grace of God” is applicable to sections of the community (monotheists). The term is therefore potentially offensive and divisive. It devalues people who worship many Gods as well as though who do not believe in God. Polytheists, agnostics and atheists are all equally valuable members of New Zealand society and should not be implicitly devalued.

“By the Grace of God” also suggests a divine element to the Queen’s reign. This is inaccurate and potentially dangerous. The Elizabeth II is Queen of New Zealand because the public of this nation wish her to be. Her authority is not magically inspired. It reflects the deep historical connection between New Zealand and England. By implicitly asserting a divine element to her reign, those who oppose the monarch are setting themselves against God.

The term “Defender of the Faith” refers to the British monarch’s role as the Head of the Church of England, the official religion of England. New Zealand does not have an official religion. As Queen of New Zealand, Elizabeth II, has no official religious role. It is therefore inappropriate for the New Zealand Royal title and style to make an reference to defending a particular faith.

Clause by clause analysis

Clause 1 is the Title clause.

Clause 2 is the commencement clause. The Bill is to come into force on the day after it receives the Royal assent.

Clause 3 amends the principal Act, the Royal Titles Act 1974 No 1

Clause 4 establishes the purpose of this Act.

Clause 5 amends the Royal style and title to be used by the New Zealand monarch.

Clause 6 sets out the consequential amendments.

Royal Titles Amendment Bill

The Parliament of New Zealand enacts as follows

1. Title
This Act is the Royal Titles Amendment Act 2009

2. Commencement
This Act comes into force on the day after the date on which it receives the Royal assent.

3. Principal Act amended
This Act amends the Royal Titles Act 1974

4. Purpose
This Act defines Her Majesty's royal style and title in relation to New Zealand

5. Section 2 amended
Section 2 is amended by omitting the words “by the Grace of God” and “Defender of the Faith”

6. Consequential amendments
Any consequential amendments to this or any other Act can be deemed to have been made should such be required to ensure that the purposes of this Act are upheld.

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