Friday, May 15, 2015

Gareth Morgan on the flag

Writing in the Herald Gareth Morgan makes it clear why we need to change our flag:

There is nothing sacrosanct about the current flag. The history of the New Zealand flag is told on the Stand For website and reflects the rather haphazard tale of using the British Navy's ensign with various symbols over the years. Since 1835, NZ has used a variety of designs as the national flag. Our current flag dates from 1902 and its history shows it is all about, and only about, British imperialism. Why do we remain sycophants to that?

In 1926 we became a Dominion and got our first Prime Minister. In 1947 we shook off the colonial shackle and became independent. In 1973 Britain cut our preferential trade links when it entered the EU. It wasn't until 1986 that our Constitution Act finally ended the right of the British Parliament to legislate here.

That's too long a period of subservience to an imperialist power, reflecting our low level of self-confidence.

Our current flag reflects that national immaturity. It broadcasts that Aotearoa New Zealand is still really someone else's possession. We belong to nobody else, and New Zealanders need to end this grovelling, stand up and acknowledge that we are grown ups now. Until we do, the colonial cringe remains part of our national identity.

Changing the flag and ditching the union jack will make it clear that we are our own country, not some south seas appendix of Britain. Unfortunately, running it as the Prime Minister's personal vanity project probably isn't the best way to achieve change. I'll vote for change, but I suspect a lot of other people won't, because John Key has made it all about him rather than all about us.