RSA Opposes Timing of Flag Referendum.
The Royal New Zealand RSA considers the timing of the referendum to change this country’s flag is unacceptable.
RSA National President, BJ Clark, says just as New Zealand approaches the significance of the Anzac centenary, it is being undermined by the establishment of a committee to decide whether the present flag should be cast out.
He says, at an excessive cost of $26 million, the newly appointed committee will choose the design of four alternative flags from which New Zealanders, in a two-part referendum, will select one of them. That preference will then be pitted against the existing New Zealand flag in a second referendum.
“A hundred years ago our forces served and sacrificed under the same flag that flies today. It is inappropriate that this debate occurs as we commemorate the centenary of the First World War,” he says.
“For many who’ve served, our current flag is symbolic of the sacred oath they made to protect the peace and security of New Zealand. Our men and women have made terrible personal sacrifices and we honour their courage and commitment every time the current New Zealand flag is flown.”
The RSA believes that the current New Zealand flag is just as relevant now as it was when our Anzacs landed on the shores of Gallipoli.
“Our flag represents the history that makes us uniquely Kiwi today. It unites us with the colonial past that forged the pioneering and innovative people that we are today, while celebrating the special connection we have to the sea and the sky,” BJ comments.
He asks where are the loud New Zealand voices demanding a new flag? “Where are the people marching on parliament wanting a change? They don’t exist because we’ve never been told why change is necessary,” he says.
“If we are to have a referendum at all, it should be a simple yes or no to our existing flag.”
The RSA is preparing a strategy to fight for New Zealand’s existing flag, which will be unveiled after Anzac Day.
“It’s our responsibility to lead the charge both on behalf of the RSA and also the hundreds of Kiwis who’ve contacted us to say they don’t want the flag to be changed and do not understand why it has become such a priority,” BJ says.
“It is important that people hear the argument in favour of retaining the flag as well as the publicity given to those who want to consider an alternative.”