READER REPORT:

Five reasons we should change our flag

SEAN WELSH
Last updated 13:07 07/12/2015
 New flag options
DAVID WALKER/Fairfax NZ

Our country needs a new flag to take us into the future, says Sean Welsh.

Final five New Zealand flags: Which is your favourite?

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As the time approaches to decide on the future of New Zealand's flag, we're asking for your views on the shortlisted alternatives and whether you want to see a change. Sean Welsh had this to say: 

Nigel Lolstein gave five reasons to keep the flag and one to change it.

Unfortunately most of the reasons he gives are bogus. Here's why:

1) It is universally recognised.

This contradicts the one reason he gives in favour of change - that it will stop our flag from being mistaken for Australia's. If the New Zealand flag was universally recognised people would not mistake it for the Australian flag.

2) It encompasses everything we need it to.

The existing flag is an imperial blue ensign defaced by a Southern Cross. It says "British colony in southern hemisphere", much like the Australian flag.

3) It is too expensive to change ($30 million) and that money is better spent on investments to get our country out of debt.

This is a "sunk cost." Parliament has voted the funds. They are gone.

4) Do we also remove God Defend New Zealand?

No. There is no referendum question on the national anthem. This is a red herring.

5) What is the real reason for changing it? There has been blood spilt over this and possibly more. I'm thinking about the Treaty of Waitangi here - does this adversely affect this treaty?

The "real reason" is because the 7 billion people overseas mix it up with the Australian flag and think we are still a British colony.

There is no impact on the Treaty of Waitangi. Changing the flag is purely symbolic. It is an exercise in rebranding NZ as "not a British colony" anymore.

It is about moving into the future, not clinging to the past. As for blood, many Kiwis fought and died under red ensign, white ensign or air force ensign of imperial British design. When the British Empire existed this was fine, but it's gone now. It's time to move on.


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