I find so much of this discussion amusing.
First a disclaimer. I was born in Australia and moved permanently to New Zealand in 2010 at age 65. Last year I became a New Zealand citizen so I am a dual citizen and possess 2 passports. I have been called a traitor several times (most recently from my fellow passenger flying from Fairbanks to Anchorage in Alaska) and I am not sure they were all joking. I, however, always laugh. I only use my Aussie passport for my 2 trips per year to Sydney to see family and friends. I told a Danish couple I met (also in Alaska) that I might use it visiting Denmark as back in 2010 the customs official as I boarded an overnight ferry to the UK smiled and said "Ah Princess Mary". I have been pleasantly surprised at the number of times I have received smiles with my NZ passport even from usually dour US customs officials and others in the line have commented on the lovely looking passport with the silver fern on black.
I was proud to swear my allegiance to the Queen which is not now needed for a new Aussie. While there are republicans in NZ, it is not mentioned in the news very often and, after the failure of the flag referendum last year, I doubt it will be put on the agenda in the near future even by a Labour/Green government. I actually voted (by postal referendum as usual) for a change mainly because of the confusion between my 2 countries.
Referendums and local council elections are postal, we also vote for hospital boards and regional councils at the same time so I am glad I can do it at home. There are of course no state elections. The General Election (on September 23) needs attendance at a polling booth but I only need to make 2 ticks. One for my local electorate member (I personally would prefer that to be preferential) and one for my choice of party. It is very quick and painless.
I was given the right to vote (it is not compulsory to vote but is compulsory to register) after I had lived here for 12 months. I lost the right to vote in Australia because I had left for 6 years. Now that I am a Kiwi citizen I will be able to vote as long as I return to NZ once every 3 years (as stated I usually visit Australia twice each year).
Although I am a dual citizen I can now stand for election (the last thing on my mind) but could not renew my Aussie passport as a member.
There is a lot of heat at the moment leading up to the election but most of the time the members of parliament get on with running the country. The government and opposition parties will often go into committee to discuss a bill so that a modified version can be passed. Of course, this does not always happen but it is nothing like the continual fighting between and within parties we see in Australia. The form of voting means that it is almost impossible for one party to govern alone. The Maori party supports the present National Party on confidence and supply bills but not always on other bills.
Same sex marriage was overwhelmingly passed by the members of parliament in a free vote for all parties on a private member's bill. The Prime Minister at the time voted for but the Deputy, who is now PM, voted against. He (a staunch Catholic) has now stated he believes he was wrong at the time. As far as the public was concerned it was only in the news for a few weeks, most of my friends (mainly 60 and over) said why not. One advantage for NZ has been increased tourism as same sex marriages are carried out here for Aussies.
Although it was not a factor for my move, it is another reason for me, being a gay man, to be proud to be a Kiwi. I feel I am a 2nd class citizen when I go to Australia. The thought of the debate leading up to a plebiscite fills me with horror. I grew up in the 50's and 60's as a school teacher in fear of being found out as I was vilified in the press. I do not want that for young gay men today. I lost a number of friends to suicide.
There are many problems for Maoris but things are a lot better for them than for Aborigines.
It is not all sweetness and light, non life threatening health procedures are more expensive and few my age have health insurance. I paid $5000 for eye cataract surgery last year, my sister in Australia paid a few hundred. However everyone over 65 gets a full age pension (taxed), my Centrelink pension is paid to the NZ government but due to the assets test, it is not much more than half what they give me. All income is taxed from the first $ and there is 15% GST on everything.
New Zealand is 2 hours ahead in time but years ahead in social/political development.