Saturday saw 16 MPs debate whether New Zealand ought to hold a flag referendum in 2023 just eight years after John Key announced the infamous 26 million dollar referendum that saw Kiwis vote to keep our flag. Parties on all sides agreed that New Zealand needs a flag change, citing that the union jack is a symbol of "colonisation" and that it is time to stop the "insult to Tangata whenua."
Whilst most parties agreed with the proposed time frame of holding the election in 2023, Gloria Kim of the ACT party suggested 2023 will be a year of “economic recovery” and that New Zealand’s leaders ought to focus on feeding and sheltering the country rather than a flag change, instead proposing an unspecified date to hold the referendum in the future.
Stuff reached out to Green party co leader Rosie Mackenzie to ask what the green party believe is the issue with our current flag, and received this statement.
“The union [jack] flag ultimately represents the troubles and legacy of colonisation. It represents what is ultimately the way in which a foreign nation came and took control of this land for their own purposes. I won't go as far as to label the union flag as a racist system, however it does represent what for many is a history we are not proud of, and one which does not hold credence in the modern era.”
These ideas were echoed by the Labour party, as well as opposition however stuff and Newshub representatives were on the call when Mackenzie asked permission to burst into a rendition of “God save the queen” and little investigation was required to notice that Mackenzie’s backdrop was in fact a union Jack.
National MP Brendan Mcleod provided this statement when approached for comment: “The National Party finds the hypocrisy of Co-Leader Mackenzie's statement ironic and in direct contrast to her actions. It shows the discourse that the Green Party is experiencing and is amusing that their Co-Leader can't even decide where she stands. Concerning the New Zealand Flag, the National Party wants to have the option for New Zealanders to retain the current flag as this is an issue that affects all New Zealanders.”
Stuff approached ACT for comments but received no reply.