Some good insights from the PM on the flag issue, from his speech at Victoria University:
Back in 1965, Canada changed its flag from one that, like ours, also had the Union Jack in the corner, and replaced it with the striking symbol of modern Canada that all of us recognise and can identify today.
Fifty years on, I can’t imagine many Canadians would, if asked, choose to go back to the old flag.
I doubt there would be a single Canadian who would go back.
Long decades of sweat and effort by our sportsmen and women in many codes over countless competitions give the silver fern on a black background a distinctive and uniquely New Zealand identity, and a head start in our national consciousness.
For example, it’s our silver fern, rather than our flag, that’s etched in the crosses marking the final resting place of all New Zealanders who are interred in Commonwealth War Graves overseas.
I did not know that.
Interestingly, it’s the maple leaf that’s etched in the crosses of Canada’s fallen in those same cemeteries.
The power of a strong symbol.
We want a design that says “New Zealand” in the same way that the maple leaf says “Canada”, or the Union Jack says “Britain,” without a word being spoken, or a bar of those countries’ anthems being heard.
We want a design that says “New Zealand,” whether it’s stitched on a Kiwi traveller’s backpack outside a bar in Croatia, on a flagpole outside the United Nations, or standing in a Wellington southerly on top of the Beehive every working day.
UPDATE: A reader has sent in this picture, which illustrates the point about graves:NZ flag