The Republic of New Zealand Party
|Founded||Formed April 2005, registered 15 July 2005|
|Dissolved||30 July 2009 (deregistered)|
The Republic of New Zealand Party (RONZP or “The Republicans”) is an unregistered political party in New Zealand. The party’s registration was cancelled at its own request in 2009. It was not affiliated to the New Zealand Republic, which is a non-partisan organisation that does not share any of the party’s policy platforms.
Despite deregistering, a handful of the party’s members remained active under its banner, including burning the New Zealand flag at parliament in March 2010.
In September 2011 the party announced it would merge with the OurNZ Party. However, the merger did not go ahead, and the party issued media releases as an independent entity after that. In 2012, media releases have indicated the party was working with the Human Rights Party. The party ran a single candidate in the 2017 election.
John Kairau founded the party, which merged with another group in April 2005. In an interview with the New Zealand Herald, Kairau said “The party’s aim is simple: to cut all ties with the British monarchy and install a New Zealander as head of state. A president, elected at large by the citizens, would replace the Governor-General as a figurehead, with parliament continuing as normal.” He claimed the party had 3,000 members.
In 2009 the party was deregistered for failing to file a donations return. It failed to re-register itself in time for the 2011 general election and did not run any candidates.
The party’s former deputy leader Jack Gielen ran for the Mayor of Hamilton in 2010, placing last with 404 votes. During the campaign doubts were raised over Mr Gielen’s claims that he was “New Zealand Republicans Spokesperson for Mental Health and Suicide prevention.” Lewis Holden, chair of New Zealand Republic, said Mr Gielen had nothing to do with the Republican Movement and was “trying to piggyback off” the group. Mr Gielen responded the Republic of New Zealand Party was trying to get its membership together. “We have 200 members. Provided we get 500 members we can be re-registered for the next  election. We are the real Republicans because I burnt a flag and told Prince Wills to go home. We look at them [the Republican Movement] as a [sic] poser because they are not the real deal.” In 2013 Gielen again repeated his claims, although stated that he had joined the New Zealand Sovereignty Party as the Republic Party was now defunct.
In the 2005 elections, the party won 344 votes or 0.02%, the lowest party vote count of any registered party. The party also did not win any electorate seats, so did not meet the threshold required to enter parliament. In the 2008 elections the party polled even worse (313 votes) – 0.01% of the total party votes submitted in that election and again the worst party vote result. The Party did not register for the 2011 general election.
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