Today the four final flag designs were released. I was not impressed.
I believe that the New Zealand flag is out dated and no longer representative of the multi-cultural nation that New Zealand is in the 21st Century. To me it no longer reflects our origins adequately. It no longer represents the type of nation we have become. I believe that the flag is too similar to other flags with the Union Jack in the top left corner. And I believe that despite the current non-democratic conversation being had at the moment about changing our national rag, there will be an appropriate time for that conversation. But that time is not now.
But there is also the case of two referendums that we are supposed to be having on the issue. Prime Minister John Key assures us that their outcomes will be acknowledged by the Government. However some serious concerns arise:
- The wording of one of them is loaded so as not to give New Zealanders an opportunity to kill the flag debate once and for all by ticking a “NO” option
- The cost of the exercise is expected to be N.Z.$26 million, which has seen the hackles go up on many people in a time of social service cost cutting
- Will the Government admit defeat if there is some sort of revolt at the ballot box? I am not sure, given their reluctance to have a properly democratic debate, that they would
- The secrecy around the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement and the fact that there was no other good reason for suddenly making a flag change a priority seem to match up too well to not be suspicious
I have in previous posts mentioned what sort of flag I would like to see. And I explained my reasoning for it. The flag I envisage is an all inclusive one that all New Zealanders can look at and say “that is our flag”. The flag I envisage is one that the world can see and say “that is New Zealand. But none of the forty designs from which today’s final four were selected really represent that.
But I have not stated what I do NOT want. What I do not want is a corporatized flag symbolic of New Zealand interests that have become corporatized, such as the All Blacks who wear the Silver Fern. In the last few days, with the naming of the Rugby World Cup squad at Parliament and the comments by All Black captain Richie McCaw about a silver fern flag, I have come to realize that there are powerful interests who should have any more weight in terms of their input than ordinary New Zealanders. By making comments about the flag, using his status as All Blacks captain, Richie McCaw has unfortunately cast a tinted slant that may be misconstrued as an official endorsement of something that is by no means accepted by New Zealanders.