[OPINION] Why I’m voting to change the flag

New Zealand prides itself as a modern progressive country regularly seen within “Top Ten” lists of best/safest/nicest countries in the world. Auckland was awarded the title of third most liveable city in the world by Mercer last year. The country has shaken off its ties to Australia, allowing the economy and the NZD to flourish as our friends across the ditch falter. More and more Kiwi’s are coming home, to join the ever growing number of immigrants to this beautiful country. So why in the top corner of the New Zealand flag, is there another flag, the flag of a sovereign state from the other side of the world?

First let’s investigate the actual “Union Jack” flag. The flag combines aspects of three older national flags: the red cross of St George of the Kingdom of England, the white saltire of St Andrew for Scotland (which two were united in the first Union Flag), and the red saltire of St Patrick to represent Ireland. Nations and colonies that have used the Union Flag at some stage have, but have since removed it included Aden, Barbados, Borneo,Burma, Canada, Ceylon, Cyprus, British East Africa (Kenya Colony), Gambia, Gold Coast (Ghana), Hong Kong, Jamaica,Lagos, Malta, Mauritius, Nigeria, Palestine, Penang (Malaysia), Rhodesia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Somaliland, British India,Tanganyika, Trinidad, Uganda, and the United States.

So the countries that have decided to keep the Union Jack are, Australia, New Zealand, Cook Islands and Tuvalu. A highly esteemed group indeed. And in case you, like me, need to Google Tuvalu, well you can read about it here.

This is becoming an Anti-British article I can hear you say. Well, I would write the same if it was an American, French or German flag nestle in the corner of the New Zealand flag. A countries flag should represent the country itself, and not another. The best example of a flag change is probably Canada, who went with the maple leaf, what was seen as a symbol of Canada, and they now have an iconic flag that most 10 year old’s could identify. I know many adults who can’t tell the New Zealand flag from the Australian one.

New Zealand, largely thank to the success of the All Blacks, already has an iconic symbol, the fern, which is instantly recognisable world wide. Does it not make sense to incorporate this into flag of the country? I for one think so.

Finally,  if we were to change the flag, then why this one? I agree that the government seems to have gone about the vote the wrong way – first they should ask if we wanted to change the flag, and then let us vote on what flag to change it to. By giving a simple choice between the old one, and one potential new one, they sadly seem to have alienated a lot of people who simply don’t like the new option . I suggest that we make a decision based simply on whether we want to stick with the old flag, or move to one that is a symbol of a bright and new, New Zealand. Yes it may not be your first choice, but it sure is better than the old one.

Whatever your decision, make sure you vote, as there is no point complaining about the final decision if you haven’t!

One of my fellow authors strongly disagrees and you can read his thoughts in this article.

Overseas and want to vote? Here’s how.

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