Should New Zealand change its flag? This question (and the supplementary question ‘if so, what to?’) is annoying. It’s dividing the country and will end up costing us a lot of money. And I don’t even know what side I’m on!
Here are the main arguments for changing the flag:
- It looks too much like Australia’s flag.
- It represents a New Zealand that no longer exists, i.e. a child clinging to the skirts of Mother England.
- It’s boring.
Here are the main arguments against changing the flag:
- It would cause a lot of hassle.
- There aren’t any great designs for a new one.
- New Zealand’s war veterans, who fought proudly under the current flag, would take it as a giant middle finger.
I’m English, so maybe I’m not the best person to be sticking my oar in, but I’ve lived in New Zealand since I was a kid, and I plan grow old here. At first, I was completely against changing the flag. Here’s why:
When I was ten years old, I was dragged kicking and screaming to the other side of the world. I hated being so far away from home, in a strange country where people went around barefoot and worshipped a sport I didn’t like, so, for me, the current New Zealand flag was a great comfort. I was in the furthest country in the world away from England, but the flag reminded me that my new country still had close ties to England. It was a home away from home.
Of course, I realised this reasoning was entirely selfish. If I was a young New Zealander, I thought, I probably would want a new flag. I would want a flag that represented the country as it is now. New Zealand is an independent nation. It doesn’t exist in England’s shadow.
Or Australia’s, for that matter.
New Zealand is still part of the Commonwealth, but so’s Canada, and Canada has an awesome Union Flagless flag that no one ever mistakes for any other country’s. Why can’t we have a flag like Canada’s?
But I don’t want this flag. Yes, it’s kind of like Canada’s in that it boasts a rather striking piece of foliage, but a silver fern on a black background is the symbol of the All Blacks. A country’s flag should not just copy the symbol of its favourite sports team. Come on, New Zealand, you have an identity outside of rugby!
I quite like John Oliver’s flag ideas. Here’s my contribution:
What do you think?
Oh, come on, it’s no worse than any of the other proposed flags.