New Zealand Flag Referendum Debate, 28 July 2015

News item
Monday, August 3, 2015

Recently I spoke in the 2nd reading of the New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill in Parliament. You may watch and listen to my speech in the accompanying video.

I explained why I believe that changing our flag this year as we mark the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings, to one that includes the silver fern, would be an ideal way to honour the legacy of those who have fought – and especially those who have died – in the service of our nation in all the world's major conflicts, as it is the silver fern, not the current flag, that may be found on their tombstones and which identified them – and us today – as New Zealanders.

With a great-grandfather who served in WW1, a grandfather who went to the Boer War, an uncle who was killed in action in Italy at the end of WW2, and my late father who also served in WW2 (in the Pacific), this is something I feel deeply.

I hope New Zealanders will look beyond the often-shallow criticisms of this exercise that some have advanced to date and consider the important issues that this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity offers us to embrace a distinctive, symbolic flag of which we may all be proud.