New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said Monday he would like to see his country become independent from Britain as he departed Auckland on the 24-hour flight to London to attend the coronation of King Charles III this weekend.
Hipkins made the comments to reporters ahead of the visit in which he will meet British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to fast-forward the two countries’ February 2022 Free Trade Agreement which will grant duty-free access for meat and dairy products, New Zealand’s top exports.
“Ideally, in time, New Zealand will become a fully independent country, will stand on our own two feet in the world, as we by and large do now,” said Hipkins who is the leader of the ruling New Zealand Labor Party.
Pointing out that his republican leanings were long-standing and well-known, he said it was not a priority or something he intended to push for adding, “I don’t believe it’s the right time to do it.”
“I don’t think that swapping out the governor-general for some other form of head of state is necessarily an urgent priority right now, though.”