British Empire
The end of the British empire - the Dominions
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  full transcript - source5  
Extract from the Evening Standard newspaper in 1944 on New Zealand becoming a Dominion
(Catalogue ref: DO 35/1245)
Source 5a

New Zealand to Adopt Statute of Westminster

Move Causes Controversy

Surprise has been expressed in New Zealand at the announcement by the Governor-general, Air Marshal Sir Cyril Newall, of the New Zealand Government's intention to ask Parliament formally to adopt the Statute of Westminster, reports Reuter.

The Governor-general said this was being done to remove doubts in the eyes of foreign Powers about the sovereign status of New Zealand.

Neither in peace nor war in recent years have abstract questions of constitutional status received attention or evoked interest in New Zealand.

Other self-governing Dominions adopted the Statute years ago with some provisos applicable to their own positions and problems.

Source 5b

New Zealand was convinced then, and has since shown no evidence of a change of opinion, that the Statute of 1931 did no more than define an equality of status already existing; which through the years had proved a wholly satisfactory and a valuable bond of unity.

Criticism

The Wellington newspaper Dominion says there is no evidence to show that a change is either necessary or desirable.

"On the contrary, experience shows that that the 1931 decision was a wise one, and the status New Zealand already enjoys as a self-governing unit is very satisfactory.

"The duty devolves upon those who are now seeking to superimpose this legal formality to provide convincing evidence of the desirability of the step.

"The proposed constitutional change the Government has decided to spring on the people will be received with distrust as being unnecessary and undesirable."
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