READER REPORT:

Changing flag a slippery slope

BRUCE HILL
Last updated 05:00 07/02/2014
New Zealand flag
FLAG IT: Union or no union?

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It really ought to be something of a worry for Kiwis looking at this debate about our flag to see the unanimity of the politicians.

They've all decided it's a done deal and those of us who don't want an exciting new corporate logo fluttering in the breeze might as well get back on the slow train back to 1948.

I was always taught that one of the cleverest things we ever did during the colonisation of New Zealand (yes, I used colonisation un-ironically, bite me) was that we didn't let two types of people in.

Criminals and aristocrats.

Well, judging by the lofty instructions from on high about who and what we are and what our national symbol will be, we seem to have managed to come up with home grown versions of the squires we were trying to get away from all those decades ago.

Despite all the debate, there lies a simple reality: New Zealand is a British nation.

I know, I know, no one is supposed to use that word without a sarcastic eye-roll or sneer or grovelling apology for assorted historical "sins".

It's barely possible to use the word in relation to the overwhelming majority of New Zealanders - one must use other terms such as Pakeha, European descent or (my personal favorite) the "general" population.

All that we are, our laws, customs, language, institutions, habits, food, the way we line up in an orderly fashion and even our history are deeply rooted in that pair of rainy islands off the continent of Europe and no amount of weasel words about multiculturalism can change that.

Besides, I'm not entirely certain that the presence of so many new Kiwis necessitates any changes to our identity - perhaps they rather like what we have.

And don't be fooled - changing the flag is simply the first step. I think we all know that if the symbol of the nation can be altered, the next thing to go would be the name. And then the Queen, And then our system of government.

Until we all wake up in a very different country to the one we were born in. Some may want that. I certainly don't, and I don't know many who do.

But our politicians want it, and that in itself ought to raise our suspicions.

The people who want a change don't really seem to have an idea of what they want it changed to, but they sure as hell want one thing gone - the symbol of our origins.

The Union Jack.

If you cut a tree off from its roots, it dies. And that's why the Union Jack must stay.

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As long as it's there, we are reminded of who and what we are, our history which stretches back more than 1000 years and the ideas, institutions and attitudes which will carry us into our future.

These include free speech, equality, neutral rule of law, democratic governance and secure property rights

No wonder the politicians want it gone.


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