John Key has flagged the idea of holding a referendum on the flag this election, instead promising a vote next term:
In a speech at Victoria University today, Mr Key said it was his belief that the design of the current flag symbolises a colonial and post-colonial era whose time has passed.
“I am proposing that we take one more step in the evolution of modern New Zealand by acknowledging our independence through a new flag,” he says.
He outlined a plan for a cross-party group of MPs to recommend the best referenda process, and a steering group to ensure the public has the opportunity to engage in discussion on the flag and to submit design ideas.
While I'd like to see the current colonial relic go, given the tight timeframe this seems to be the best move. And it will leave time for a public competition for designs, and ideally for a two-stage referendum process to give the change greater legitimacy.
Key's full speech is here.