Peters against public having a say

The Herald reports:

New Zealand First is boycotting a committee which will decide how the public votes on the national flag, saying the referendum was an expensive exercise which took attention away from greater priorities.

Peters has spent 20 years advocating referendums, yet when it is on an issue he personally disagrees with, he is against the public being able to have a say.

“A change of flag might need to be considered but now is not the time. Poverty and housing are at crisis level, it’s no time for a government to be raising a distraction,” Mr Peters said.

The public and the Government are quite capable of dealing with more than one issue at a time. Also poverty is not at crisis level. Peters is using that as an excuse to deny the public a say – because he disagrees. National had a clear election commitment to hold a referendum if re-elected, and they were. They first referendum will be next year and it will all be wrapped up in early 2016 – well before the next election.

The first referendum in late 2015 will ask New Zealanders to vote on a range of alternative flags chosen by the Flag Consideration Panel.

A second referendum in April 2016 will be a run-off between the most popular alternative flag and the current national flag.

It will be fascinating to see which flags make it through to the first referendum.

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