Herald calls for flag change

The NZ Herald shows graphically why New Zealand needs a more distinctive flag.

They found:

A Herald survey of 18 of the 22 members of the Order of New Zealand – the country’s highest honour – has found 11 of them believe it is time for a new flag. Only five oppose a change at this time. One is unsure and one is unwilling to comment.

And some of their reasons:

“Our flag is too much like Australia’s and most people in the world don’t know the difference,” said former All Black captain Sir Brian Lochore.

He said New Zealand supporters at international sports events already waved what had become the de facto national flag – the silver fern on a black background. “We should take notice of what people do who support us. The people have been giving us a message about the flag they want.”

Sir Brian is right.

Former Prime Minister Jim Bolger said even officials sometimes got the two flags confused. “On the commemoration of the landing in Europe at the end of the Second World War, the Australian High Commissioner in London walked down off the podium and picked up the New Zealand flag and proudly carried it off,” he said.

“When I got down, I picked up the Australian one because that was the only one that was left. These things can happen; there is a similarity to them.”

From a distance you can’t even tell them apart on flagpoles unless the wind is blowing strongly.

Wellington businessman Lloyd Morrison, who in 2005 tried to gather signatures for a citizens-initiated referendum on the issue, said all the arguments raised against a change, such as honouring those who had died fighting under the present flag, were also used in Canada before it swapped the Union Flag for the maple leaf in 1965.

“Today I doubt if you could muster 1 per cent of the Canadian population who would go back to the old flag.”

We will change eventually, and after we have people will ask why did it take so long.

The Herald editorial endorses change:

Canada addressed this issue 45 years ago. It came up with its much-praised and instantly recognisable maple leaf design. The debate there was solely about identity, not about wider constitutional matters or the embracing of a republic. It need be no different here. The debate need not become bitter. Changing the flag is not about dishonouring those who fought under the present flag, just as that ensign, introduced officially in 1902 during a wave of patriotism occasioned by the Second Boer War, was not a slight on the New Zealanders who had fought under the Union Jack.

Indeed.

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