To Save the Queen or Not
Former Prime Minister Helen Clark, 59, who has given her valedictory speech to the House after 27 years as an MP, said the country’s institutions had “evolved a long way from our colonial heritage”. “Many of our forebears came to this land to escape the class-bound nature of Britain, where their place in the economic and social order was largely prescribed by birth,” Clark said. “I deeply detest social distinction and snobbery, and in that lies my strong aversion to titular honours. To me they relate to another era, from which our nation has largely, but obviously still not completely, freed itself.” Opinion polls have shown a majority of people, particularly the elderly, favour retaining the monarchy, but the number has declined in recent years to only slightly above 50 per cent. Clark takes up a post as head of the United Nations Development Programme in New York.