Should We? Shouldn’t We?

R_Flag_of_New_ZealandThe time has long passed for harping on about the dreadful process for a flag change; neither should we continue to grumble about it being the Prime Minister’s pet project or that the money should be better spent on feeding our kids. Those arguments, valid as they may have been last year, should no longer matter.

The time has come for us to exercise our democratic right to vote.

The RSA argue forcibly that our soldiers fought under this flag. That may be a valid argument: except what they fought for was democracy, not a flag.

The flag and democracy are not interchangeable. One can exist without the other but our democracy is precious to us because of those soldiers who fought alongside the Union Jack and we thus share a history.

The Ōtaki Mail doesn’t altogether buy that argument.

We believe there is a time and place for debating whether we continue to fly a flag which carries an emblem of our colonial past, or whether we should recognise our own unique history with a new one.

But now is not the right time.

The right time for discussing a flag is when we discuss cutting our ties with Britain altogether. We need that debate. We need to consider whether we should become a republic or not. If and when we have that discussion it should sit alongside the discussion on our own constitution based on the Treaty of Waitangi, and could well result in a different flag; one that we all feel we have a stake in. When we have a national debate about our ties with Britain let us not forget that we supported them in two world wars, many of our young men and women died fighting alongside English soldiers and that Britain forgot her debt to us when they joined the Common Market. Her ties with us then proved irrelevant and superficial.

So let’s honour our heritage and our soldiers and vote and let us argue for an all-encompassing debate on whether we still need to recognise Britain with their constitution and their flag in our future.