Red flag raised over referendum

Labour has red flagged the Government’s flag referendum plans, arguing it doesn’t ask the obvious question – whether New Zealanders actually want a change.

“The Government has gone about this the wrong way,” Labour’s Internal Affairs spokesperson Trevor Mallard says. “We have two referenda coming up, neither of which asks whether people want a new flag.

Mr Mallard will present a petition asking the Government to include the question on the first referendum to Parliament today. It has been signed by more than 30,000 people.

“No one is arguing against giving Kiwis the opportunity to vote on the issue but there should be a simple yes/no vote at the beginning of the process.

“That way, if the majority of people want to stay with the status quo, there would be no need for a second referendum, potentially slashing millions off the estimated $26 million cost.

“John Key has previously said the decision of whether or not to change our flag was ‘bigger than party politics’. That being the case, he should let the people of New Zealand make the decision with an easy yes/no question,” Trevor Mallard said.

He said all the parties represented on the committee overseeing the process had the same view, except for National.

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