Prime Minister must seek flag solution

There is still time to fix the flag referendum to give all New Zealanders a say despite John Key today refusing to allow a Labour Member’s Bill to be tabled which would have added Red Peak and a Yes/No question into the first referendum, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says.

“Our bill may have been refused today but I have written a letter in good faith to the Prime Minister urging him to meet with me to find a joint solution with no pre-conditions to that meeting.

“His office has declined this opportunity unless its own pre-conditions are met. That is not how good faith meetings are conducted and is not what he offered in Parliament yesterday.

“John Key is now playing politics again by suggesting that only Labour can put Red Peak on the ballot paper. He could do that tomorrow without any assistance simply by sending the finalists back to the Flag Consideration Panel who could substitute Red Peak.

“This has been his project, his process, his priority for this term. Trying to now blame Labour for its botch-up is breathtakingly arrogant.

“We have now had two petitions - almost 50,000 strong each - urging us to add both Red Peak and a Yes/No question for those who want to keep the current flag.

“People are crying out for John Key to respond to this public pressure.

“I have offered no pre-conditions to finding a solution which will add integrity to this process and allow everyone to engage and feel they have had a say in the outcome.

“Labour disagreed with the timing of this referendum, with the costly and botched public process and with the lack of public engagement. But we have a chance to put it right. John Key does not seem to want to do that,” Andrew Little says.