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Flag Referendum This Year Would Be Ill-Advised

Andrew Williams MP
Spokesperson for Veterans’ Affairs

7 March 2014

Flag Referendum This Year Would Be Ill-Advised

A referendum on the New Zealand flag this year would be completely inappropriate and badly timed, says New Zealand First.

“We are now about to commemorate the centenary of World War I, a war in which 18,000 New Zealanders died and 40,000 were wounded,” says Spokesperson on Veterans’ Affairs Andrew Williams.

“Any plan to hold a referendum on Election Day would be ill-advised and flawed given the commemoration year.

“Also, a discussion on whether we should change our flag must extend over a far greater period of time, so the views of all New Zealanders can be discussed.

“We can tie a referendum into a future election, but let’s not distract from the war commemorations and bring heartache to families of those who served during World War I and later wars.”

Mr Williams pointed out that the Returned Services Association believed the flag had a certain emotional hold on the RSA membership.

“That is not surprising as so many New Zealanders have served under this flag, and their comrades have died for it. The flag has historically represented us as a nation, it is something tangible we can hold up to say we are New Zealanders.

“Great care must be taken if there is to be a debate held, it is not an issue that we should be pushed into considering at the whim of a Prime Minister in election year. A reasonable view would suggest that 2014 should focus on World War I.

“Let’s leave the flag debate for another time, there is no urgency here,” says Mr Williams.

ENDS

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