The parliament of New Zealand is reportedly looking to remove reference to the Queen and Jesus Christ from the daily prayers that open its sessions.
According to NZ Herald, politicians are still being consulted on the wording of the prayer, but the new Speaker of the House, Trevor Mallard, has already opened the Parliament this week in Te Reo Maori without making references to the Queen and Jesus Christ.
The original prayer, which has been used for over 50 years, read: "Almighty God, humbly acknowledging our need for Thy guidance in all things, and laying aside all private and personal interests, we beseech Thee to grant that we may conduct the affairs of this House and of our country to the glory of Thy holy name, the maintenance of true religion and justice, the honor of the Queen, and the public welfare, peace, and tranquility of New Zealand, through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Radio New Zealand reported that some opposition MPs had raised concerns that Mallard has already started using the new version even though the period of consultation has not yet finished.
Mallard said that he was still getting feedback from the MPs and vowed that he would take their views into account before making a final decision about changing the prayer.
New Zealand First deputy leader Ron Mark said that the caucus would discuss the issue next week, noting that he did not want the references to the Queen removed.
"I'm a commissioned officer and a royalist by nature, and New Zealand First has always had quite a conservative view on that," he said.
Greens co-leader James Shaw said that he did not have any objections to Mallard's changes. National MP Amy Adams said that she did not have an issue with the wording, but she preferred something "more secular and reflecting New Zealand's diverse and tolerant nature."
The prayer came under review in 2007, but most politicians opposed the change. In 2014, then-Speaker David Carter proposed dropping "Almighty God", "true religion" and "Jesus Christ" from the prayer, but kept a reference to the Queen, but he eventually declined to change it after opposition from National and NZ First MPs.
Last month, Jacinda Ardern, who was raised in a Mormon family but is now an agnostic, was sworn in as New Zealand's 40th Prime Minister in a non-religious ceremony.
Her oath of office reportedly did not include the phrase "so help me God," and replaced the word "swear" with "solemnly, sincerely, and truly declare and affirm."
Ardern, the youngest woman to lead the country at 37 years of age, had previously disclosed that she left the Mormon church in her early 20s because she could not reconcile her support for her gay friends with conservative positions on marriage.