4 Dec 2012

NZ to introduce royal succession legislation next year

11:07 pm on 4 December 2012

Legislation will be introduced in the New Zealand Parliament next year to help implement the changes to the royal succession laws.

The Royal Family has announced Prince William and his wife Catherine are expecting their first baby and under law changes the child will become the third in succession.

Last year Britain and other Commonwealth countries that have the Queen as their monarch agreed to change the rules of royal succession so that sons would no longer have precedence as heir, regardless of age.

Under current law, the oldest son of the monarch is the heir to the throne and the planned changes mean succession will become gender-neutral.

The Cabinet Office in New Zealand is coordinating discussions on how all countries that have the Queen as their head of state will implement the changes.

Britain and New Zealand are the only countries that have the laws of succession in their domestic legislation.

Prime Minister John Key says that means New Zealand will have to pass legislation and while there is no dramatic rush, the New Zealand Government has indicated to its British counterpart that the country supports the change.