New Zealand has been inching toward republicanism for a long time, former Commonwealth Secretary-General Sir Don McKinnon says.
The Commonwealth is a diminishing group of countries and it's important for New Zealand to openly and candidly debate the issue, Mr McKinnon told Q+A this morning.
Of 54 countries in the Commonwealth only 16 are realms and Mr McKinnon said four Caribbean countries have indicated they are probably going to give up the relationship with the monarchy when the Queen dies.
Mr McKinnon is quite certain the royal family completely understands the debate about New Zealand's position and he believes it's inevitable we will become a republic.
"I'm not going to campaign actively one way or the other...it's a debate that will continue...it's important we have a good debate about this and about the flag."
Mr McKinnon believes people will come out when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit New Zealand from tomorrow, partly because of their celebrity status and partly because two future kings will be on our soil.
"These are two very attractive young people, wherever they go they get crowds," he said.
"There is an attachment there within New Zealanders...which will wax and wane."
While there's a strong body of opinion who want NZ to be a republic and a strong body which wants to hang on, Mr McKinnon said there's a whole group in the middle who form an opinion based on the popularity of the person at the time.
onenews.co.nz will have extensive coverage of the Royal tour, including live updates, images, video and a look at the Duchess' fashion choices, as the couple make their way around the country.