British Empire
The end of the British empire - the Dominions
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Extract from the Evening Standard newspaper in 1944 on New Zealand becoming a Dominion
(Catalogue ref: DO 35/1245)
  • This extract comes from the British newspaper the Evening Standard. It was commenting on the fact that in March 1944 the New Zealand government proposed to adopt the Statute of Westminster.
  • The Statute of Westminster officially gave all of the Dominions the full power to rule themselves, although they already did this.
  • The Statute of Westminster was mainly designed to sort out red tape. There were sometimes legal complications because the constitutions of the Dominions said that on some issues the Dominions had to get permission from the British Parliament to pass certain laws. The Statute of Westminster allowed the Dominions to pass any laws they wished to pass without having to consult the British Parliament.
  • All of the Dominions signed up to the Statute of Westminster in 1931 except for New Zealand, where the general opinion was that there was no need for a change. New Zealand was happy in 1931 with the situation because it was already ruling itself.
  • As you can see from this article, there were some people in New Zealand who still felt it was not necessary or desirable to sign up the Statute in 1944. The article refers to a newspaper in Wellington, New Zealand's capital city.
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