SUPPORT WANTED FOR FLAG CAMPAIGN
7 January 2005
Flag revisionists in South Canterbury are being called to arms as the NZFlag.com
Trust tries to get a citizen-initiated referendum off the ground.
Organisers of the campaign to change the flag say they are well on track with
400 volunteers preparing to collect signatures around the country, according
to campaign manager Iona Pannett.
While plenty have signed up to collect signatures in Canterbury she explained
more collectors were needed in Timaru, but for those wanting to be on the petition
it would be available to download on the trust's website in the next few weeks.
The www.NZFlag.com Trust aims to gather around 350,000 signatures to enable
a referendum to be held in conjunction with the 2005 election. The question
will read "Should the design of the New Zealand flag be changed?".
The NZFlag.com Trust website features a host of endorsements from numerous
New Zealand celebrities, including author Alan Duff, Silver Fern Anna Rowberry,
athletes Steve Gurney and Barbara Kendall, musician Neil Finn, sports commentator
Keith Quinn and a selection of other vocal New Zealanders.
Also featured is an endorsement for change from South Canterbury JP, John Acland.
The Peel Forest farmer states "I am proud to be a New Zealander and proud
of our unique culture".
"I would like to have a flag that is easily recognisable by the world
and which symbolises our distinctive New Zealand identity."
"The www.NZFlag.com team has been inundated with calls from supporters
wanting to help us achieve our goal of collecting 350,000 signatures by May,"
said Ms Pannett.
"The more people we have to collect signatures, the better. We hope to
have around 1000 New Zealanders on the streets collecting signatures for a referendum
to change the design of flag this year."
Ms Pannett said New Zealanders needed a flag they could fly with pride, that
didn't carry the Union Jack and wasn't mistaken for the Australian flag.
"We need a flag we can identify with, are proud of and which better represents
us as New Zealanders," she said.
Ms Pannett expected the petitions would be available for the public to sign
early this year.
If 50 per cent of people support a change it is hoped an independent group
of prominent New Zealanders would be appointed to choose a design which better
takes us forward for the next 100 years. It is likely that a second referendum
would then be held allowing New Zealanders to choose either the new design or
to stick with the existing flag.
© 2005 Fairfax New Zealand Limited. All Rights Reserved.