I think the Prime Minister made the right decision to decouple the debate over a possible change to our national flag from the election campaign. It would have been a distraction. Nevertheless I think the time is opportune for us to have an intelligent conversation over the issue. The road-map outlined by John Key seems a sensible way forward.
Cards on the table. In recent times I have changed my view about the flag which probably puts me at odds with mainstream RSA opinion. I now hold the view that if the agreed alternative is endorsed in a referendum with two thirds support (it should not be a simple majority) then I would no longer 'die in the ditch' in opposing change. That is not to denigrate what has gone before but I do accept now that change is both inevitable and desirable as we mature as a nation with our own pacific identity.
Do I have a preference. Not really although for me a stylised Kiwi or silver fern leaves me slightly cold.
As an amateur historian I hope the panel would at least consider the flag designed by the British Resident, James Busby back in 1834, to be flown by New Zealand 'flagged' ships (pictured at start). It is a matter of record this flag was subsequently adopted by the Chiefs of the United Tribes of New Zealand (essentially Northland tribes) where it continues to be flown on the Treaty Grounds flagpole at Waitangi. To my mind the flag is distinctive and bold and provides a link to the past.
It should not be dismissed out of hand ..... although I suspect that much of Maoridom might say it should.
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