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Key wants public vote on flag during next Parliamentary term

Prime Minister John Key today ruled out a referendum on the flag to coincide with the general election on September 20, saying the issue would be a distraction.

However, at a speech at Victoria University, he  outlined a plan to hold a public discussion and vote next parliamentary term on New Zealand’s flag.

Mr Key said it was his belief that the design of the current flag symbolises a colonial and post-colonial era whose time has passed.

“I am proposing that we take one more step in the evolution of modern New Zealand by acknowledging our independence through a new flag,” he says.

He outlined a plan for a cross-party group of MPs to recommend the best referenda process, and a steering group to ensure the public has the opportunity to engage in discussion on the flag and to submit design ideas.

“It’s really important that consideration of a new flag includes genuine input from New Zealanders.  All voices need an opportunity to be heard,” he says.

“A flag that unites all New Zealanders should be selected by all New Zealanders.  This decision is bigger than party politics.”

Mr Key says he wants to give a clear assurance and commitment that retaining the current flag is a very possible outcome from the process, and there will be no presumption in favour of a change.

He says New Zealand retains a strong and important constitutional link with the monarchy that he did not see a groundswell of support to change. 

“Our status as a constitutional monarchy continues to serve us well,” he says.

Mr Key says that should he have the privilege of remaining Prime Minister after the general election in September, he would write to leaders of all political parties represented in Parliament asking them to nominate an MP to join a cross-party group to oversee the flag consideration process.

The group would recommend the best referenda process to follow, and also be involved in nominating New Zealanders from outside Parliament to form a steering group which would be primarily responsible for ensuring the public has the opportunity to engage in the debate.

“One of the tasks of that steering group will be to seek submissions from the public on flag designs.

“I would like to see the referenda process completed during the next Parliamentary term, so it does not intrude on the 2017 elections.”


Comments and questions

Forget the flag, listen to the result of the referendum on smacking!!!

Agreed...flag nonsense is a diversion.

Most of the countries with new flags i would rather fly over than fly into.

Forget the flag, listen to the result of the asset sales!!!

We can always buy them back in better times, but right now we need some cash to operate with, plus 49% is good management ask any top business man!!

The only nation who should vote on their National Flag is Australia, ...time and again, the NZ national anthem were wrongly played for their gold award ceremonies.

Yes they should change their flag and New Zealand should put pressure on them to do so as it was they, after all, who copied our flag, and not the other way around.

Flag the referendum on the Flag; there are more important issues to deal with

A binding referendum finally ???!!

This is key attempting to leave a legacy when he has actually accomplished very very little - RMA still in place, Christchurch no leadership/vision, Auckland still a disaster, no improvements to housing affordability, no real reduction in the out flow of our best and brightest

Looked after his mates with the asset sales, reduction of gifting duties and other under-reported favours for the rich

He is fortunate his competition has been very very poor for the past seven years - Labour has not that many good cows in the paddock

Don't change the flag, people died for it, we don't need the kevin roberts mob getting ahold of it, plus what the maori's will want - its going to be contentious, further if we are removing the jack, why are we not removing the governor general at the same time

Nobody died for that flag or any other flag. That is just silly.

Its a sideshow like the snapper fishing recreationals before. It a election circus setup

Sadly hes hoping its his legacy but timing that if it goes bad not his fault.

Suspect if dont get answer they want they'll ignore it like all other referendums.

QUESTION How many referendums? How many ignored? Ta da

Can the token GG go too?

A Red Flag! I think this flag is going to be a red herring as its used to take heat away from the issues that could upset the Government. It will be interesting to see if it really becomes the hot potato to be used by the government.

Why is he wasting everybody's time? And what about the waste of taxpayers' money to go into this?

More top-down directives from government? Why are we putting up with this?

Key has been an utterly lightweight PM. He lies to impose what he himself wants on the country- as with the scandalous anti-smacking legislation. Too bad about the majority.

He doesn't seem to understand that this should be a democracy - which means that government takes its directions from New Zealanders themselves- not keeps imposing his own wishes on them.

We need to get rid of Key. But what a lacklustre Labour alternative.

What we need is the 100 Days stop on all the Great Ideas our politiburo dreams up, so that we can decide these things for ourselves- as the grown-up Swiss do. Check it out.

At least the National party does not change it's leader every 100 days with another temporary one, and check out their latest one over the last few weeks, and you want that to run the Country?? what a JOKE!!!!

We get close to 100 days of political inactivity over summer. It is one of the reasons, besides holidays and the weather that we are happier.

Do we really want a black flag? Look at the company such a flag keeps. The Jolly Roger, the Waffen SS, the Khmer Rouge, and now Al Qaeda and other illiterate murderous Islamic fundamentalists e.g., the Taliban. The association that a black flag and/or the colour black has with some of the most extreme of human rights violations, abuses and wars in history is without doubt.

And we want that as the primary colour of the New Zealand flag?

What sort of a message will that send about us to those who know nothing about New Zealand, but who have been brutalised by or know someone who has been brutalised by those who came dressed in black or waving a black flag? All that history, all that misery simply makes black the wrong colour for a national flag.

It will only be binding if it goes the way Key wants it to.

Irelevent nonsense that will take up most of the media slots instead of the real issues

Need a new flag when we get a new, single constitution for all New Zealanders which replaces the bill of rights and all other treaties and we become a republic. That will be an event when re=branding will be necessary.

More important to me is a referendum on moving from a 3 year to 4 year term. Currently we seem to be moving in to an electoral cycle every 18 months.

What in NZ will actually change if we change flag.Will the crime rate come down,will the sick be cured,will the homeless suddenly become house.will the poor become rich.The answer to those and many more questions is no,so what the,

It's past time for Key to come clean as to his real motives for raising the unimportant flag issue.
Has he received a directive from his US mates?...unlikely.
Does he want to leave a legacy?...maybe?
Is he using the flag issue as a distraction while he quietly and secretly moves on something else?....a distinct possibility!
Has he lost focus?....possibly.
Has he had an order from the queen?....unlikely.

The plot thickens!!
paleo martin

Probably too late now,but it's a great pity that Key did not devote his time in the chair to doing something important.
He came in with great hope to correct some of the damage wrought by nine years of Clark/Cullen,but has disappointed massively.