1 EAGLETON NOTES: It's All in The Flag

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Wednesday, 6 April 2016

It's All in The Flag

Everyone knows the flag of New Zealand. Or does everyone? Apparently not if you live in Australia. At least that was the rumour that went through New Zealand when the pressure group Ausflag took out an advertisement in the the New Zealand Herald trying to persuade Kiwis to change their flag in the March referendum. The rumour? That Aussies wanted the New Zealand flag changed because half the Aussies didn't know which was which and having only one flag with the Union Flag and stars would eliminate confusion. 


The New Zealand Herald ran a story on the advert here.

For some years the current Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Key, has made it known that he wished the flag of New Zealand to change. It was decided to hold referendums. I won't bore you with all the details but of you would like the background it can be found here.

In the final part of the referendum there was a choice of two flags: the current flag and a proposed flag which had been agreed after a complicated first referendum:


The country voted to keep the existing flag 56.73 to 43.27%.

So which flag triumphed?



24 comments:

  1. an expensive process... i'm sure many would be happy to change the flag, but the selection process meant they wouldn't change it to the one selected. It felt back to front to me - if we had been given option in first process and voted to change the flag, then we could select a new flag afterwards.... now we have to wait for it all to happen again in 20 years. I know it left me uncertain and ultimately, I chose not to vote in the final count. Haven't seen the statistics for how many others also chose not to vote in second referendum!

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    1. Fi many of my New Zealand friends felt the same way as you did. Some also felt that a decision on full independence should take precedence. Either way until the population age demographic alters a bit more (or, perhaps, the Queen's reign ends) it seems unlikely change will take place. The turnout was 67.78% by the way.

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  2. I am glad they kept the old one. (If you look up the early flags of the USA, we also had the Union Jack in the corner with the rest being stripes. I only know this because I have a deck of cards with all the flags of the USA! HA!)

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    1. Kay many flags have the Union Flag somewhere on them but in this day and age many do feel that it's an anachronism.

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    2. Yes, but not in the USA! That was only in the very early days of the country, pre Revolution obviously. Most Americans wouldn't know of it, I only do because of my deck of cards! I need to search them out and photo them, and do a post about flags! :-)

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  3. Interesting. I can still remember how annoyed my dad and grandfather were when Canada changed its flag to the maple leaf flag. They both felt the new flag resembled a yacht club burgee and not a flag at all. And as for having the Union Jack in the upper left hand corner -- the State Flag of the State of Hawaii still does.

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    1. DeeDee I've heard that same criticism of the proposed New Zealand flag. The strange thing is that many people in the world do not know which flag is that of Australia and which is that of New Zealand. However the Canadian flag is one of the most iconic in the world and everyone now knows it.

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    2. True, they know it now! And you're right, it is very distinctive. But my dad remained unconvinced! xoxox
      DeeDee

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    3. Exactly Graham. As an Aussie I thought the Kiwis had four fantastic flags to choose from and was disappointed at their resulting vote. such a great opportunity to choose a flag that is so identifiable with their country. Canadians certainly had the right idea in my opinion. Here's hoping we get another opportunity here in Oz ....but I'm not holding my breath !

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  4. We had the same issue in the 1960's. It was a hot debate. We settled on a completely new flag and that was the end of it.

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    1. I seem to recall Red that the Government of Canada took the decision without a referendum and that, in itself, upset a lot of people.

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  5. I have been championing the cause for years. We set them up, built their infrastructure, showed them all about democracy, etc, and now it's time they went it alone. Take our flag off. Replace it with some wretched Kangaroo, or a corked hat!

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    1. That's Australia Cro. We don't have either in New Zealand.

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    2. Sorry, when I saw 'Ausflag', my blood began to boil slightly. They love to hate the Pommies, but keep the Union Flag on the corner of theirs. However I do think that the Kiwis should ditch the Union Flag too; what's wrong with a white fern on black background, like The All Blacks.

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  6. To be honest, I couldn't care less about what flag my country has. There are, in my opinion, much more pressing issues to be dealt with.
    I can very well understand why Germany changed its flag after the war - nobody wanted to have anything more to do with the state that became responsible for all the horrors of the Third Reich -, but if they decided today to change it to a different set of colours or different design, it would not matter to me, since our national flag is not at all present in my daily life.

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    1. Meike it's amazing though just how much fervour is generated by talk of a flag change.

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  7. It is good to see the friendly rivalry between AUS and NZ knows no bounds. I personally think they are crazy not to have adopted the new flag. It was so distinctive.

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    1. It certainly was Carol and would have been easily identifiable as belonging to New Zealand.

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  8. The proposed new design should have had a cartoon of a brush tailed possum in the middle. That would have won the vote hands down.

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  9. Until reading this I'd not heard or read anywhere "That Aussies wanted the New Zealand flag changed because half the Aussies didn't know which was which and having only one flag with the Union Flag and stars would eliminate confusion."

    I don't know why there are people who want their flags changed. I'm quite happy and proud of our Aussie flag and there is no way I'd vote to change it. Men and women have given their lives or been badly injured under our flag....to change it would be a disrespectful...in my opinion.

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    1. Lee I have since been told on Facebook that it isn't just Aussies who don't know which flag is which. Apparently there are Kiwis who don't either. However I'm not sure that I believe that! In the UK I don't think anyone would change the UK flag but several of the separate countries forming the UK would follow 'their' flag if they could. I would guess, though, that most people in England on the other hand would probably consider the Union Flag 'their' flag.

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  10. Here we are being "programmed" for a change in status of the country.
    Some members of government want to change our island to a Republic which would make the Head of State a President instead of a Prime Minister.
    To what end????
    I think it's all folly because the country still won't be any better off.
    I do believe they would want to change the flag too if this change occurs...but really who has time for this when we are in the throes of economic woes.
    I must write a post about this soon.
    I hope the whole silly idea is laid to rest sooner rather than later.
    I'm tired of it raising its ugly head every so often.

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    1. Virginia I think that many countries now regard a situation where the British Monarch is Head of State as outdated but the fondness for Queen Elisabeth by a great many people, particularly older ones, has prevented action. I think it is only a matter of time before that ceases in the countries where it remains.

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