Shipley backs the fern

Stuff reports:

New Zealanders must rise up and be proud of who they are – and that involves letting go of the “colonial” flag and choosing a new identity.

Former Prime Minister , who led the National government between 1997 and 1999, has revealed she supported changing the flag to a silver fern during her time in office.

Shipley has made a point of avoiding commenting on politics, since retiring from Parliament. But now, with voting papers out to rank the five options in the running if voters chose to dump the current flag next year, she has gone public on why she believes Kiwis need a change.  …

While our history is colonisation, I’m horrified to think that people would allow a colonial symbol to be part of the shadow that flies over us.”

Shipley said her support was nothing to do with backing her successor as National Party leader and prime minister, John Key.

The Kyle Lockwood  silver fern (red, white and blue) is her pick, with the black, white and blue fern in second place. She said ferns represented new life unfolding and red had chiefly heritage in Maori and Pakeha cultures.

During her time as Prime Minister, she said, Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials asked her to wear a fern brooch.

“They said ‘you’re on TV more than anything else, actually more than the flag when you travel abroad so we would really like you to wear a fern because it’s the most recognised symbol worldwide of New Zealand. People go: New Zealand … fern’. And they produced three beautiful broaches, one of which I continue to wear today.”

Despite her support for removing the Union Jack from the flag, Shipley remains a monarchist, saying the English king or queen serves as an extremely efficient titular head.

But that hasn’t stopped her from wanting to fly a silver fern from the flagpole in her Auckland garden.

“My husband Burton has been walking this new flagpole around the garden trying to decide where it’s going to be put. I have a magnificent woollen current New Zealand flag, but I will be sorely tempted to put one of the change ones up. I’d prefer to.”

“I’ve had the privilege of being Prime Minister and I’ve walked into many war graves and I [didn’t] see the existing flag in any of them.”

I may be wrong but I suspect every living former Prime Minister supports a change. Not entirely sure for Geoffrey Palmer though.

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