Rod Drury, Julie Christie among those named to Flag Consideration Panel

From a reality TV queen to an All Black great to an entrepreneur — the government draws widely for consultative panel ahead of flag referendum.

Reality TV queen and MediaWorks director Julie Christie, All Black legend Sir Brian Lochore, a youth councillor from Invercargill, former shotputter Beatrice Faumuina and entrepreneur Rod Drury have been picked for Deputy Prime Minister Bill English's  consultative panel ahead of the flag referendum.

No artists or designers have been appointed.

The Flag Consideration Panel will engage with the public about a possible new New Zealand flag.

The panel will be chaired by former deputy vice-chancellor of the University of Canterbury Emeritus Professor John Burrows, ONZM, QC of Christchurch who was co-chair of the Constitutional Advisory Panel. Writer and reviewer Kate de Goldi of Wellington will be the deputy chair of the Flag Consideration Panel.

The other 10 members are:

  • Nicky Bell – CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand and board director, Auckland
  • Peter Chin, CNZM – former mayor of Dunedin, director and trustee, Dunedin
  • Julie Christie,  ONZM – Director of Julie Christie Inc. and board member, Auckland
  • Rod Drury – CEO of Xero and technology entrepreneur, Havelock North
  • Beatrice Faumuina, ONZM – Olympian, Commonwealth gold medallist, ASB Head of Talent & People Strategy, board member and trustee, Waitakere
  • Lt Gen (Rtd) Rhys Jones, CNZM – Former Chief of NZ Defence Force, Wellington
  • Stephen Jones – Invercargill youth counselor, Invercargill
  • Sir Brian Lochore, ONZ, KNZM, OBE – Former All Blacks captain, coach and administrator, Wairarapa
  • Malcolm Mulholland – Academic and flag historian, Palmerston North
  • Hana O’Regan – Academic, Māori studies and te reo Māori,  Christchurch

“Many New Zealanders were considered for the panel following nominations by a cross-party group of MPs,” Mr English said.

Independence required

“I am pleased with the panel’s independence, calibre and experience and each member has committed to undertake the flag consideration process carefully, respectfully and with no presumption in favour of change.”

The panel will hold its first meeting in early March. It will oversee a public engagement process to begin in May, invite New Zealanders to send in designs or ideas regarding a possible alternative flag and shortlist designs for the first postal referendum, which will be held this year using a preferential voting system, inviting voters to rank the designs in order of preference.

The winning design will run off against the current New Zealand flag in a second, binding referendum to be held next year using the First Past the Post voting system. A New Zealand Flags Referendums Bill containing these measures will be introduced to Parliament shortly.

“This process will give New Zealanders the rare privilege of having a say on one of the most important symbols of our nation,” Mr English says.

“I hope New Zealanders will take the opportunity to listen and talk to each other and consider the design suggestions that come forward before making their minds up and taking part in the referendums.”

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