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Moves to stop Council flying sovereignty flag

Media Release
19 March 2008

Jami-Lee Ross
Manukau City Councillor for Howick

Moves to stop Manukau City Council flying Maori sovereignty flag

Proposals to fly the Tino Rangatiratanga flag outside the Manukau City Council are being challenged by a group of councillors opposed to the move.

A group of nine councillors, representing half the membership of the Council, have lodged a Notice of Motion seeking a council decision to refuse the flying of the flag.

The move has come following the decision by the Council’s Treaty of Waitangi Committee to further investigate a flag policy, including flying of the Maori sovereignty flag on civic flagpoles.

Manukau City Councillor Jami-Lee Ross, who prepared the Notice of Motion, believes only the New Zealand Flag and official Council flag should be flown.

“The New Zealand Flag is our national flag and a flag that we should be proud of. It is the flag that represents all New Zealanders, both Maori and non-Maori alike,” he says.

“Unfortunately many New Zealanders view the Tino Rangatiratanga flag as a rejection of the Treaty of Waitangi, and a rejection of European presence in New Zealand.

“The suggestion that such a flag should be flown alongside our national flag is insulting to many people in Manukau City. That flag represents division and radicalism, and has no place being flown by this Council,” says Mr Ross.

It is almost unprecedented for half the Council to put their signatures to a letter seeking to have a matter addressed. Such a move is a strong indication of the feeling within the Council about this issue.

Mr Ross says he and others are also seeking to end a costly and lengthy three month process of developing a “comprehensive flag flying policy” with “comprehensive community consultation”. This work was requested by the Treaty of Waitangi Committee at its meeting on 13 March and announced in a Council media release the following day.

He says the Council doesn’t need to develop an extensive policy on flags and is critical of the way in which the committee agreed to the policy work without Council approval.

“Whenever the Council develops policy there is a significant cost to ratepayers. The only flag policy this Council needs is to continue flying the flag of our country and the flag of our city. It doesn’t take three months to make that decision.”

Mr Ross says development of a flag policy has not previously been approved as part of the Council’s policy program. Approval from the Council is usually necessary before making a commitment of ratepayer resources to policy development.

“No approval has been sought from the Council before this work has been agreed to. The request from the committee for Council officers to spend three months developing a policy is definitely over the top.

“Manukau City Council needs to stay focused on the issues that matter. Investigations into flying the Maori sovereignty flag are an expensive sideshow that ratepayers could well do without,” he says.

The Notice of Motion lodged by the nine councillors will be discussed by Council at its monthly meeting on 27 March.

If the motion is successful the Council will have decided not to fly the Tino Rangatiratanga and Te Kahu flags, as well as reconfirming the status quo position of flying the New Zealand and Manukau City Council flags. It will also have decided that no further ratepayer resources should be committed to developing a flag policy.


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