New Zealand Flag Referendum: Does It Really Need to Change At All?

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | February 4, 2014 1:39 PM EST

Prime Minister John Key has calendared the month of March to discuss with his top leaders the need to hold a referendum to change the country's flag. He wants a black flag with a silver fern on it. But Kiwis all over it seemed are divided over the topic.

Reuters
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key came to the defense of the country’s tourism campaign, “100 per cent pure New Zealand”, in a conference in Bali, Indonesia where the APEC summit was also held. In the tourism conference focusing on sustainable development, Mr Key said the 100 per cent pure campaign continued to be a success when it was first used to promote New Zealand in 1999.

Residents said this is not the time to discuss a rather mundane issue of changing the flag colours since 2014 is going to be an election year in New Zealand.

Some like Clinton Thompson said it may be best to prolong the existence of the present design since New Zealand will be entering its 100 year commemoration of WWI.

"Now is not the time for it. We are about to enter into a significant period in our country's history with the 100 year commemoration of WWI," Mr Thompson told Stuff.co.nz. "Over 10 per cent of our people were involved in that conflict; many fought and some died, and our country rallied under our flag."

"Out of due respect for those New Zealanders who sacrificed so much for our country, under our flag, this debate should be postponed."

Some believed the topic will ever move forward at all.

''I've seen this before and nothing has ever come of it in the past and I would be surprised if anything came of it on this occasion,'' David Geddes, president of the Queenstown Returned and Services Associations (RSA), told the Otago Daily Times.

Moreover, he shared his organisation has used the design Mr Key wants, but never came to a point of actually desiring to change the existing one.

''We have this unofficial one of the white fern on a black background, which we probably all have used at some stage as an unofficial way of identifying our Kiwiness, but in a formal sense I sense no real desire to change it.''

Kiwis like Mr Key want the flag's design changed because the country's national identity had always been sidetracked to the Australian flag.

But Ron Steers believed that "no matter what we have on our flag, it does not change who we are or what we do, and there are always those who take note and those who basically don't care."

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(Photo: Reuters / )
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key came to the defense of the country’s tourism campaign, “100 per cent pure New Zealand”, in a conference in Bali, Indonesia where the APEC summit was also held. In the tourism conference focusing on sustainable development, Mr Key said the 100 per cent pure campaign continued to be a success when it was first used to promote New Zealand in 1999.
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