Tuesday, March 11, 2014


United Tribes flag 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 south of Whangarei might say it should.


Anonymous said...

I'll go with that as well if there has to be a choice made. I can't remember where I replied to a post before on the topic, but I feel the choice should be given to those that are serving or have served under the colours. There's enough of them and with a fair assortment of Maori in there.
If it's put up for public vote, every marketing and branding spiv will have their fashionable graffiti on display.


JC said...

Our current flag is meaningless to me.. not because I hate it or anything like that but because I'm a New Zealander.. not a Pom.

I'm like the Canadians, someone who identifies with the tokens of my country.. the Kiwi, the Silver Fern.. at a push the Koru and of course any back view of a black jersey with the number *5* on it.

For our warriors I think Horatius speaks of better values than a Pom flag..

“To every man upon this earth
Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds
For the ashes of his fathers
And the temples of his gods,

“And for the tender mother
Who dandled him to rest,
And for the wife who nurses
His baby at her breast,
And for the holy maidens
Who feed the eternal flame,—
To save them from false Sextus
That wrought the deed of shame?"

To all of that I'd add a silver fern for motivation.


Noel said...

I would have to agree that the debate of this issue is overdue.
Seems the RSA demands we shouldn't be discussing this with the 2015 WW1 celebrations on the horizon, but I don't see why it has to wait two years after that.
And there should be two referendums. One for change and one for the preferred flag.
Costly I know to have two questions together has the potential to change the expected outcome. First one in 2016 second in 2017 to appease the RSA.
It's not only Maori that will object to your suggestion.

Paranormal said...

For my two bits worth I think Key has stuffed up the process. He's conflated two questions into one.

The first referendum should be "do we want to change the flag?" Yes or No. And yes Vet I agree it should require at least two thirds or even 75% majority to make that decision. If there is a yes then three years later there's the second question - "which flag do you want?"

With the way he's undertaken the process I don't believe anybody will be happy with the outcome.

At present the flag issue would be stopped dead at the first referendum. There's simply more important stuff out there to debate.

The Veteran said...

Noel ... I don't think the RSA 'demand' should be the driver in this. Not too sure about the two votes scenario and note that under your timeline the second vote would take place in an election year and that would be wrong.

Change should not occur unless there is substantial majority (two-thirds) support for it at the referendum. If there is no demonstrated great enthusiasm for change we should accept that too.

Re the 1834 flag. All I am suggesting is that it should not be disregarded out of hand.

The Veteran said...

Paranormal ... I disagree. You cannot vote intelligently for change without knowing what the change is.

On that basis I would have no hesitation in voting NO.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

I really don't understand the rush to disassociate NZ with the Union Jack when (a) it represents the major part of our ancestral heritage, language and culture and (b) the same people who want to chuck it go gaga over a visiting royal sprog.

doc M said...

rouggqv manyYes time to be rid of the Union Jack. However before a referendum - seek another round of public design input for a new Flag, including the previous shortlist. Once the Top 10 have been agreed, hold a referendum on changing the flag and mark your preferences 1 to 10 on the ballot. Long overdue we as a people rallied under our own colours and stood apart in the Southern oceans.

Watcher said...

Adolf wrote

"..Union Jack when (a) it represents the major part of our ancestral heritage, language and culture "

Not really. It's just the tie to our colonial past.

We are no longer a Dominion either.

Noel said...

doc M said
"Once the Top 10 have been agreed, hold a referendum on changing the flag and mark your preferences 1 to 10 on the ballot.

I can live with that. Lets get on with it.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy said...

First there needs to be a vote on whether people want the flag changed before we start designing tea towels.

Anonymous said...

Watcher said:

'Adolf wrote

"..Union Jack when (a) it represents the major part of our ancestral heritage, language and culture "

Not really. It's just the tie to our colonial past.'

Nonsense. What about the English language, our legal system, and the Westminster system of government? They're also "tie[s] to our colonial past". If that's your reason for ditching the Union Jack, you're logically committed to ditching them as well. Do you really want to do that?

Watcher said...

Well it's certainly not a MAJOR part of our culture, or don't you recognise the new bicultural New Zealand. Probably not from some of your past posts. Stay in Aussie where they like your type.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy said...

"..... before we start designing teatowels"

I've just seen 50 'designs' on the Herald site.

My humblest apologies to tea towel designers!