Sunday, February 16, 2014

Key's dictatorial proposal for a new NZ flag is not generally supported by kiwis as a whole...

English: A Flag derived from the National Flag...
English: A Flag derived from the National Flag of New Zealand and incorproating the Tino Rangatiratanga Flag (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Banner Of Us All  -  Chris Trotter

Symbol of Sovereignty: The tino rangatiratanga flag has the virtue of emerging naturally out of our recent history. It flies over the Auckland harbour bridge on Waitangi Day and has become the symbol of that part of the New Zealand nation which yearns to put the dubious legacy of British imperialism behind them.

WHAT IS A FLAG? Like so many of the things that go into the making of a state, flags have their origins in war. Large swathes of cloth bearing simple, easily recognised devices, made it possible for an army’s identity to be determined from a considerable distance. Those who marched beneath these fluttering banners were, accordingly, bound to its fortunes. While their flag flew the soldiers knew there was reason to go on fighting; when it fell, or was hauled down, they knew the battle was lost.
The Prime Minister, John Key, has suggested that the time is right for New Zealanders to consider changing their flag. Mr Key appears to subscribe to the widely held belief that the current design lacks distinction and fails to identify New Zealand as a unique and independent nation of the South Pacific. On 29 January he raised the possibility of holding a referendum on the issue in which the current New Zealand flag is pitted against an alternative of the Government’s choosing. Mr Key’s preferred replacement is the silver fern flag so beloved of All Black supporters.
The first thing to note about the Prime Minister’s suggestion is its utter disdain for any kind of public participation. Mr Key proposes to give the voters just one alternative to the status quo, its design to be decided by himself and his colleagues. End of story.
This is clearly an unsatisfactory (not to say undemocratic) way of handling any change to such an indispensable symbol of our national identity. Indeed, the procedure is so clearly deficient that it raises questions about the amount of thought the Prime Minister has given the subject. The most famous and successful example of the flag-changing process, Canada’s 1965 adoption of its universally admired maple leaf flag, left the final decision to a multi-party parliamentary committee.
In terms of speed and simplicity the Canadian model has much to recommend it. But if New Zealanders are determined to have the final say, then I’d advise adopting the following three stage process. First Stage: a special multi-party parliamentary committee invites public submissions from which it produces a short-list of three alternative designs. Second Stage: a referendum is conducted asking New Zealanders to rank the three alternatives in order of preference. Third Stage: the most preferred design is “run off” against the present New Zealand flag in a final, binding, referendum.
Such a process would almost certainly produce the following three contenders: the tino rangatiratanga or Maori sovereignty flag; Kyle Lockwood’s graceful combination of the silver fern and the southern cross; and the “All Black” flag featuring the silver fern on a sable field...

Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments: