New Flag For Millenium

  • Marie Hasler
Cultural Affairs

'I would like to see New Zealand greet the new millennium with an entirely new flag. To that end we should start a national debate started about its design', Cultural Affairs Minister Marie Hasler said today.

'For some years I have believed our existing flag no longer catches the essence of contemporary New Zealand. It is not just that it is barely distinguishable from the Australian ensign or even that it too much reflects our former colonial status. Rather, it has become over time, almost meaningless' said the Minister.

'I was vividly reminded of this recently watching a clip of the New Zealand rider, Simon Crafar, at a major overseas motorcycle event immediately after he unexpectedly won an important race. He showed a streak of extempore brilliance by grabbing an all black flag from a New Zealand supporter in the crowd'. Ms Hasler said 'the silver fern on the black flag fluttering behind his bike gave me a more profound sense of identity and patriotic pride than any other flag-bearing ceremony has ever done'.

'Changing the flag need not diminish our English and European heritage, but it would give explicit recognition that we are now a really distinctive and independent culture. One that is symbolic of all its inhabitants - which isn't really the case at present.

'While I personally find it hard to improve on the elegant simplicity and power of the silver fern on a black background I would like the nation to discuss it and give the Government a signal as to their thoughts. We have some superb designers.

'Already more than the kiwi, it is the fern that has become the emblem common to our athletes, the All Blacks, the Black Ferns, the Silver Ferns, and the men and women rugby league teams. Soccer can always be worked on. Personally, I would change it tomorrow'.