The New Zealand flag at the Queenstown Memorial Gates is
often flown at half-mast in recognition of nationally
important events, such as (photographed) in August 2011, in
honour of New Zealand SAS soldier Corporal Doug Grant, of
Linton, who died during an operation to rescue hostages in
Afghanistan. Photo by James Beech.
Presidents of the Queenstown and Arrowtown Returned and
Services Associations (RSA) say changing the existing flag of
New Zealand has not been discussed by any of their members.
The presidents were asked to comment after Prime Minister
John Key said he planned to discuss a new flag with senior
ministers and possibly put the matter to a referendum as part
of the election this year.
Queenstown RSA president David Geddes said there had been
''no discussion whatsoever'' among members about the
''I've seen this before and nothing has ever come of it in
the past and I would be surprised if anything came of it on
this occasion,'' Mr Geddes said.
''I'm not aware, from my day-to-day dealings with a
cross-section of the community, of any great desire to change
''We have this unofficial one of the white fern on a black
background, which we probably all have used at some stage as
an unofficial way of identifying our Kiwiness, but in a
formal sense I sense no real desire to change it.''
Arrowtown RSA president John Lindsay said members had not
discussed changing the flag and so could not give a consensus
opinion, but he personally was not dissatisfied with the
The Otago Daily Times asked readers last week ''Is it
time to change the New Zealand flag?''
As well as providing opinions for and against a new flag,
some readers questioned the timing of Mr Key raising the
issue when the country faced more pressing concerns.
Other readers noticed how often the debate coincided with
Sue and Bill Thomson said: ''Leave our flag alone. It is part
of who we are and we should be proud of it.''
They were supported by Dale J. Wedlock, who asked why the
Government would ''change a flag when many of our fallen have
died wearing it on their uniform, or in their hearts''.
''To change is now would be a disservice to them.''
However, Christine Philip said: ''It would be nice to get a
distinctively Kiwi flag. Canadians and South Africans coped
when they changed their flags. I'm sure we can, too.''
Grant Yockney said New Zealanders ''are already identified
around the world by the Silver Fern, particularly in the
sporting arena - give us our true identity and make the NZ
flag the Silver Fern.
''Yes, we fought under the current flag - that history will
still be remembered.''
Anna Trent was clear in her view: ''Get rid of it. Looks too
much like the Aussie one.''