Wednesday, 12 August 2015

A new flag for New Zealand

The New Zealand flag that once stood on my desk in Auckland. I still keep it for sentimental reasons. 
Officially, I’ve left the Kiwi Land for 11 years after graduating from University of Auckland and a brief stint in Prime Minister Helen Clark’s office to be back to a place I call home – Malaysia. However, I still follow closely the social and political affairs in New Zealand. The routine of reading NZ Herald each day and discussing the headlines with a few like-minded friends are still the same as it was during my Auckland days, all thanks to beauty and wonders of technology.

Though far in distance, New Zealand is always close in my heart and many things related to this county remains sentimental. One such thing is the New Zealand flag. The debate to change the New Zealand flag is not something new, for New Zealand’s is often mixed up with that of Australia’s. The flags of these two countries are almost similar – both consist of the The Blue Ensign and the Southern Cross (a group of stars) but Australia’s having an additional Commonwealth Star below the Union Jack. Legacy of the Colonial Office in London!

After decades of debate which never went pass the Parliament, the proposal to change the flag finally come to fruition under Prime Minister John Key from the National Party. On 10 August 2015, the Flag Consideration Panel released its long list of 40 designs, from which four will be selected to contend a two part referendum that will decides the future flag of New Zealand. The final vote will be on 3rd to 24th March 2016 where New Zealanders vote for status quo or a new flag.

Which will be the one, and to change or not?
I took a look at the 40 designs and I think the current flag is still the best. I’m not alone either. The recent poll conducted by various media in New Zealand showed lukewarm respond by New Zealanders to change the flag, all, despite their complaints, prefer the current flag for sentimental reasons. The only person with full enthusiasm is perhaps the Prime Minister John Key himself.

I asked what is Helen Clark’s view on this flag changing huh hah and the answer is very surprising one from a former Prime Minister whom during her tenure, believes that a New Zealand Republic is “inevitable” that saw a number of key policies moving towards the republic direction. Your guess? 

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