Never mind that dear old Prince Charles may well have been right in saying he gets results from talking to his plants.
The sad truth is too many people have regarded him as a bit potty, for his botanical practices.
Having him as heir to the Throne accordingly has been something of a handicap for we Royalists.
Handicap or not, a poll suggests more Kiwis would prefer him as next King than a switch to Republicanism.
The results from a poll commissioned by the Republican Movement and published yesterday – on the Queen’s 83rd birthday – show New Zealanders are increasingly looking to the future as a republic. But Prince Charles “is winning the race by a nose,” Lewis Holden, chair of the Republican Movement, conceded.
Betcha the bugger struggled to spit that out.
43% of those surveyed in the poll stated they wanted New Zealand to become a republic, and did not want Prince Charles to become New Zealand’s head of State when the Queen’s reign ends. 45% supported Charles as King, with 13% stating they wouldn’t answer or didn’t know.
“Whether they support the monarchy or a republic, New Zealanders want the chance to choose who their future head of State is” continued Mr Holden.
“With the Cabinet Office helping legal academic Alison Quentin-Baxter research a book on the implications of the end of the Queen’s reign, the debate is reaching a new and crucial phase”.
A Research New Zealand Poll back in December found 42% of New Zealanders supported a republic, while 48% supported the monarchy.
The latest poll was a phone job, questioning 1,018 voting-age New Zealanders was conducted between 25 March – 7 April 2009.
The question asked was: “When the Queen dies, which option would you prefer: Prince Charles becoming King of New Zealand or New Zealand to becoming a republic?”
The poll (with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1%) was commissioned by the Republican Movement and undertaken by Curia Market Research Limited.
As to Charles’ remarks in his much-derided 1986 television interview, when asked about his habits in the garden he said: “I just come and talk to the plants, really – very important to talk to them, they respond.”
Alas, it’s only in recent days that scientists have lent credence to his advice.
A study suggests talking to plants could encourage them to grow.
Researchers exposed rice plants to noise while they monitored levels of gene activity.
Using 14 pieces of classical music, they were astonished to discover the noise triggered a response in two genes, rbcS and Ald.
Some frequencies made the genes more active, while others made them subdued.
Because the genes are known to be involved in the plant’s response to light, the scientists repeated the experiments in the dark.
But the study, reported in today’s New Scientist, found this made no difference to how the genes behaved.
The results strike a blow against the Republican Movement, a network of New Zealanders who want our head of state to be elected by New Zealanders – either directly or indirectly.
Good grief. Have they forgotten it was that voting stuff that gave us nine years of Helen Clark.