Debate coming to an end, time to vote for your preferred flag

EDITORIAL

It is finally crunch time in the heated debate as to whether or not New Zealand should change its national flag — it’s time to stop talking and vote.

Voting began last week in the final referendum which asks us to choose between the flag that has been the country’s emblem since 1902 and the design by Kyle Lockwood which was chosen from a large number of rivals.

It has been a long and highly divisive debate.

In March 2014 Prime Minister John Key announced there would be a referendum after the general election later that year. This has led to a perception from some, not entirely fairly, that the whole thing is Key’s idea.

While there have been moves to try to change the flag for a few decades now, the current process could be traced back to 2010 when former Gisborne man and Labour MP Charles Chauvel introduced a private member’s bill for a referendum.

Labour now opposes the change offered but retains a policy of changing the flag.

The main argument of those supporting change is that the present flag does not represent the ethnically diverse, Pacific and Asia-centric country New Zealand has become — and they have targeted much of that on the presence of the Union Jack on it. They also say it is too close to Australia’s and New Zealand needs a distinctive flag.

Those against a change say the present flag has stood the test of time and New Zealanders fought and died under it. The Lockwood design has been scathingly labelled a tea towel. The $26 million cost of the referenda is a sore point with many.

A good indication of the divisions that have arisen has been the Letters to the Editor page of The Herald, where the debate has been lively.

The most important thing of all now is that people vote. After all that’s been said, make sure your voice is heard on the voting paper — where it really matters.

Voting papers need to be posted by Monday, March 21 and provisional results will be known at 8.30pm on March 24. Final confirmation will be after Easter.

It is finally crunch time in the heated debate as to whether or not New Zealand should change its national flag — it’s time to stop talking and vote.

Voting began last week in the final referendum which asks us to choose between the flag that has been the country’s emblem since 1902 and the design by Kyle Lockwood which was chosen from a large number of rivals.

It has been a long and highly divisive debate.

In March 2014 Prime Minister John Key announced there would be a referendum after the general election later that year. This has led to a perception from some, not entirely fairly, that the whole thing is Key’s idea.

While there have been moves to try to change the flag for a few decades now, the current process could be traced back to 2010 when former Gisborne man and Labour MP Charles Chauvel introduced a private member’s bill for a referendum.

Labour now opposes the change offered but retains a policy of changing the flag.

The main argument of those supporting change is that the present flag does not represent the ethnically diverse, Pacific and Asia-centric country New Zealand has become — and they have targeted much of that on the presence of the Union Jack on it. They also say it is too close to Australia’s and New Zealand needs a distinctive flag.

Those against a change say the present flag has stood the test of time and New Zealanders fought and died under it. The Lockwood design has been scathingly labelled a tea towel. The $26 million cost of the referenda is a sore point with many.

A good indication of the divisions that have arisen has been the Letters to the Editor page of The Herald, where the debate has been lively.

The most important thing of all now is that people vote. After all that’s been said, make sure your voice is heard on the voting paper — where it really matters.

Voting papers need to be posted by Monday, March 21 and provisional results will be known at 8.30pm on March 24. Final confirmation will be after Easter.

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John Cox - 3 years ago
The flag does not represent ethnic diversity? What national flag shows the race of its peoples? Do we really want a racist flag? In fact the silver fern is in no way more representative of ethnic diversity than the current flag. It was originally the symbol of the Forest Rangers, the settler militia who fought against the Maori during the Land wars. Is that what we want for a symbol?

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