Changing the flag

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Voting in the first referendum on the New Zealand flag closes at the end of this week. With everything going on around the world at the moment this seems like a bit of a side issue, but it is still getting some airtime in the news media (largely focussed on the general public indifference towards the referendum).

I support changing the flag in principle, but it has to be at the right time – now is not that time (in my view the right time would be when/if we become a republic).

Even if I did think now was the right time, I’m not convinced any of the choices are that inspiring or really do justice to our country. Particularly the initial four options: the three silver fern flags look like messy attempts at branding, the koru is a bit plain. The ‘Red Peak’ flag intrigues me, but I still wouldn’t vote for it over the current flag in the second referendum.

Of all the public debate on the flag referendum, some of the arguments that have been put forward about the reasons why the Government (seemingly driven by John Key) is changing the flag have been amusing at best – conspiracy theorists of the highest order! I particularly enjoyed the theories around how a change in flag will reduce sovereignty or the apparent links to the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations. Good times!

John Key was at a conference I attended in October and in his speech spent some time talking about the flag and why he’d like it changed (from what I’ve heard he does this in almost any speech he makes). I can understand his reasoning, he puts forward a good case, but I don’t think that now is the right time.

So for me, I’ll likely be voting ‘Red Flag’ in the first referendum, and ‘Keep the current flag’ in the second.

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