The RSA is taking its support for the current flag to parliament.
The Royal New Zealand RSA is taking its support for the country’s flag to parliament’s Justice and Electoral Committee.
Over the next few weeks the committee will consider the New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill which was introduced to the House in March. The committee will then report back to parliament by July 19.
The RSA has already expressed its concern at proposed changes to the flag and, in particular, the timing of two referendums where New Zealanders can vote on whether the present flag should be replaced.
RSA Chief Executive, David Moger, says the RSA will fervently express its case to the Justice and Electoral Committee and he calls on all Kiwis who oppose this “costly and unnecessary use of money” to make their voice heard.
“People should write to their MPs expressing support for the existing flag and opposing the $26 million to hold two referendums. Alternatively they could make their own submission to the Justice and Electoral Committee,” he says.
The closing date for submissions to the Flag Referendum Bill is Thursday, April 23.
The RSA’s website www.rsa.org.nz/Community/FightforOurFlag offers valuable advice on how to prepare and submit a letter or email to an MP.
David Moger says a hundred years ago New Zealand forces served and sacrificed under the same flag that flies today. It is inappropriate that this Bill should be presented to parliament at this time and planning for the two-part referendum started.
“This debate is insensitive as we commemorate the centenary of the First World War,” he comments.
“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 made terrible personal sacrifices and we honour their courage and commitment every time our current flag is flown.”
The RSA acknowledges it would prefer the centenary of Anzac Day be commemorated this month without distraction but now the Bill has been referred to a select committee, it will use the opportunity to ask why the Government is seeking a change when there is no dissenting voice demanding a new flag?
“If we are to have a referendum at all, it should be a simple yes or no to our existing flag,” David Moger says.
In a costly double referendum, the newly appointed committee, which met for the first time last month, will choose the design of four alternative flags from which New Zealanders will select one of them. That preference will then be pitted against the existing New Zealand flag in a second referendum.
David Moger says two referendums are unnecessary and it’s the RSA’s responsibility to lead the charge on behalf of its members and the hundreds of Kiwis who’ve contacted RSAs around the country saying they don’t want the flag to be changed and don’t understand why it’s become such a priority.