NZ Post breaches flag rules

HAMISH RUTHERFORD
Last updated 05:00 06/02/2014
Tino rangatiratanga
MAARTEN HOLL/Fairfax NZ

OOPS: New Zealand Post admits it made a mistake flying the tino rangatiratanga flag.

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New Zealand Post admits it has breached the guidelines for raising the Maori flag for Waitangi Day.

Yesterday the state-owned enterprise had the tino rangatiratanga flag flying from above the entrance to its Wellington headquarters, on a flagpole that usually flies the New Zealand flag.

Back in 2009 Prime Minister John Key said Cabinet had agreed that the Maori flag should be allowed to be raised on Waitangi Day on landmarks such as the Auckland Harbour Bridge, Premier House and other government buildings.

However, this could only be done with the New Zealand flag also raised.

''The Maori flag will not replace the New Zealand flag, but fly alongside it, to recognise the partnership the Crown and Maori entered into when signing the Treaty of Waitangi,'' Mr Key said. 

Guidelines issued by Te Puni Kokiri on the raising of the Maori flag said doing so on Waitangi Day ''is encouraged'', but in all cases only where the two flags were raised together. Where there was only one flagpole, the New Zealand flag must fly above the Maori flag.

NZ Post's main flagpole, which usually flies one of the largest New Zealand flags in the country, has been damaged by the wind and is out of action.

NZ Post admitted it had made a mistake.

''We've inadvertently breached the guidelines,'' a spokesman said in a statement.

''The main flag pole was damaged in the wind and is being fixed and we couldn't fly two flags on the one pole. We fly the New Zealand flag every day so we decided the tino rangatiratanga flag would go up for tomorrow.''

Despite admitting the error, it is understood that NZ Post has no plans to change the flag configuration today.

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