RSA oppose flag change

Written By: - Date published: 12:55 pm, April 13th, 2015 - 63 comments
Categories: Anzac Day, history - Tags: ,

Key’s proposal to change the flag is an expensive and unnecessary circus, and this should be the end of it:

Flag change opposed by RSA

The Royal New Zealand RSA says it will fervently oppose changing the New Zealand flag when it appears before a parliamentary committee considering the issue.

The RSA would prefer the centenary of Anzac Day be commemorated this month without the distraction of the flag issue.
“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.”

Let’s spend that $26 Million on something else then shall we. Or is a supposedly conservative government going to oppose the open and “fervent” wishes of the RSA?

63 comments on “RSA oppose flag change”

  1. esoteric pineapples 1

    I’m with the RSA on this one – but it would be great to have a new national anthem although when it is sung in Maori it doesn’t sound so bad

  2. shorts 2

    The RSA’s argument is the weakest one put forward I reckon – the flag isn’t what or why people went to war, it is but the banner they fought and died under

    The timing of this part of the process isn’t ideal from their perspective… that is all

    Personally I’m up for a new flag but have no faith in Key’s govt and his “experts” to come up with anything other than a waste of money

    • Lanthanide 2.1

      +1, although it seems highly likely it’ll be Kyle Lockwood’s flag we’ll be voting on: http://www.silverfernflag.org/proposal.html

      • shorts 2.1.1

        If I was a sports team manager I’d happily adopt that design for our banner… for a country I’m not so sure, hence my concerns at the people in this process as I want serious debate not some “at the end of the day” economic/sports think

      • Naturesong 2.1.2

        I don’t mind those actually.

        And may vote for something like that once we become a republic.
        But, until we shed the monarchy as our head of state, the Union Jack should remain as a reminder.

        Changing the symbol of the country to represent greater independence, while at the same time binding our future to the follies of the US and UK just doesn’t sit right with me.

        • Maui 2.1.2.1

          There is something commercial and false about that flag that doesn’t seem right to me. Personally I like this flag by Mike Davison much more and it is has more of a cultural element: http://static2.stuff.co.nz/1391130603/689/9671689_600x400.jpg

          • infused 2.1.2.1.1

            That is horrid.

          • Naturesong 2.1.2.1.2

            I like that flag.

            But as art, not the symbol of NZ. Irrespective of its artistic merit, it has a corruption of the Union Jack.
            I suspect there’d be a significant number of people in the UK who would object, and pretty strenuously too.

            • Maui 2.1.2.1.2.1

              Sorry didn’t know the Union Jack was sacrosanct or that NZ still went off fighting wars for Britain. Considering there’s nothing Maori about the current flag, I think we would do well to partnership with Maori on the new flag and show in graphical form that the country was formed by two predominant cultures.

              • The Union Jack is sacrosanct to an overwhelming majority of UK citizens – I have no study to link to, only my experiences living in the UK for several years – I’d bet money I’m right though.

                And we have joined the UK in all major theatres of war since we were able to muster a force.

              • Pasupial

                Maui, you; “didn’t know the Union Jack was sacrosanct or that NZ still went off fighting wars for Britain”. Consider the armed forces oath of allegiance:

                “I, [name], solemnly promise and swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to our Sovereign Lady the Queen, Her heirs and successors, and that I will faithfully serve in the New Zealand Naval Forces/the New Zealand Army/the Royal New Zealand Air Force [Delete the Services that are not appropriate], and that I will loyally observe and obey all orders of Her Majesty, Her heirs and successors, and of the officers set over me, until I shall be lawfully discharged. So help me God.”

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oath_of_Allegiance_%28New_Zealand%29#Armed_forces_Oath

                The army website calls that a; “solemn oath of allegiance to the Crown and New Zealand Government”, but I can’t see a word about the NZ government in there. The army’s allegiance is to; the Queen, as relayed through the instructions of their Commander in Chief, the Governor General (presently ex-head of the GCSB).

                It is telling that the head of the NZ defense forces only has a 3-star rank, allowing us to coordinate seamlessly with HM’s other minions of empire.

                • Maui

                  Judging by that we’re still closely wedded to the Mother country, which is a bit frightening. I would say we’re a bit frightened to make a change to these historical things. I would much rather we pledged an oath to the Maori King over the Queen (even though I’m not Maori) .

                • dukeofurl

                  Its a bit of ceremonial fluff.

                  Its like a lot of the stuff around the British crown, only dates back to the edwardian era and was made up to compete in the ‘arms race of ceremonial’ which surrounded Europes royal families.

                  Any fool can see His/Her majesty hasnt been giving any orders to the military since someone wacked Richard III in the back of the head.

        • Lanthanide 2.1.2.2

          Canada is part of the commonwealth and has the Queen as head of state, yet don’t have the jack on their flag.

          • Naturesong 2.1.2.2.1

            That’s true. Doesn’t mean we should though.

            • Lanthanide 2.1.2.2.1.1

              Canada’s flag is amongst the most recognised in the world.

              Our flag is often confused with Australia’s.

              • Yes, Canada’s flag is awesome. I don’t think that’s in dispute.

                I also don’t think that the ignorance of some non-NZers is reason enough to change our flag.

                • McFlock

                  Our flag is like australia’s but with more detail and refinement.
                  Quite appropriate, really 🙂

                • Tracey

                  How does the unionjack reflect new zealand?

                  We stopped singing God save the queen and the world didn’t end?

                  • Our head of state is the Queen.

                    I’d love the Union Jack off our flag. And once we fire the Queen we should get it done.

                    • tracey

                      I know who our head of state is. A figurehead position which didn’t stop us removing her anthem. Canada hasn’t fired the Queen. It isn’t a pre requisite. Even RSA still gets to play games with the Commonwealth.

        • Draco T Bastard 2.1.2.3

          But, until we shed the monarchy as our head of state, the Union Jack should remain as a reminder.

          Yep and maybe that’s why Key wants to change the flag – in the hopes that we’ll forget that we’re not an independent nation.

        • Wynston 2.1.2.4

          “But, until we shed the monarchy as our head of state, the Union Jack should remain as a reminder.”

          +1

      • swordfish 2.1.3

        Lockwood’s design lacks balance, simplicity and a central motif. It’s like two different flags stitched together. Represents a half-way house where we want a new flag but can’t quite bring ourselves to entirely get rid of the old one.

        As I said on Bowalley Road a while back, “Put your hand over the southern cross and Lockwood’s design looks half decent (though perhaps just slightly over the top). Take your hand away and it’s little more than a dog’s dinner.”

      • infused 2.1.4

        Haven’t actually seen those before. 1st one isn’t bad.

    • Tracey 2.2

      Agree. I am also up for a new flag but not for $26m and not as a political weapon.

  3. Lanthanide 3

    “and this should be the end of it”

    Sorry, I don’t see why it should be the RSA that get to decide if we change our flag or not.

    That’s why we’re having a referendum, remember?

    • weka 3.1

      We’re having a referendum because John Key needs some positive distraction in his third term. No other reason.

      • Lanthanide 3.1.1

        No, we’re having a referendum because for any individual or group to unilaterally change the flag (or not change it) is simply against the way that NZ goes about these sorts of things.

        The fact that we’re having a discussion about changing the flag is because John Key needs some positive distraction in his third term.

  4. de Withiel 4

    On Planet Key, it’s all about corporate branding. Key’s ‘vision’, if that’s what you can call it, has nothing to do with sovereignty or who we are or what we aspire to be; but it does have an awful lot to do with the corporate sector. I’ve written a post on the the concept of flags in New Zealand/Aotearoa, looking at it from a design historical perspective: http://nzdesignhistory.blogspot.co.nz/2014/12/designs-on-flags.html.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      if that’s what you can call it, has nothing to do with sovereignty or who we are or what we aspire to be

      Key’s presently making sure that the only people who have a say in any of that are US corporations.

  5. swordfish 5

    Poll breakdowns suggest younger New Zealanders, interestingly enough, express the greatest opposition to a flag change. It’s certainly not just the RSA generation.

    • miravox 5.1

      Paradoxically that’s probably because Key has played up patriotism – producing a greater recognition and sense of pride in the current flag. I reckon today’s younger generation are less likely to mix up the NZ and Australian flags than Key’s generation were at the same age.

      As for the reason for change being mistaken identification…
      http://www.quora.com/What-countries-have-very-similar-looking-flags

    • Chooky 5.2

      +100 swordfish…lets go with what young New Zealanders want!….and it isn’t wanker Key’s flag!…especially at $23 million

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand_flag_debate

      (Interestingly enough the research paper showing young NZers want to keep the flag and oppose changing it seems to have disappeared (footnote 52 :www.researchnz.com. Research New Zealand. 5 November 2014. Retrieved 8 February 2015.)

      …the money should be going for the homeless into into keeping, upgrading and building more State housing.

      Key was a welfare State house boy….he and his mother lived in a house provided by generations of New Zealand taxpayers…. he should have more loyalty to the poor …he should get his New Zealand values and priorities sorted

      Leave the flag as is!…as the RSA wants

  6. Murray Rawshark 6

    I cannot get excited about flags. If I flew one, it would be the Tino Rangatiratanga flag. Otherwise, I just don’t care for symbols of manufactured nationalism.

    • Tracey 6.1

      I’m with you Murray. A flag is a piece of cloth. “Flags” have been used as symbols of nationalism and nationalism is a very destructive force.

      http://blog.prints.co.nz/2012/03/hundertwassers-alternative-nz-flag.html

      “Proposal for a second flag for New Zealand, which represents an unmistakeable identity that combines New Zealand’s age old heritage of nature and the heritage of Maori history with the growing future of a new nation.

      The flag symbolizes old and new, history and progress at the same time. This flag symbolizes peace, but not weakness, but the strength of creation moving forward in a courageous engagement.

      At a moment in human history with increasing environmental concern New Zealand gives an example to the world because this flag represents peace with nature, human development in harmony with nature. It is the sign of understanding with this everlasting powerful ally. This flag is a symbol of a new age, a big step towards mankind’s responsible evolution.

      The fern’s green spiral on white or silver ground starts at the black flagstaff lead taking up the whole width of the flag first decreasing gradually, dividing the flag into diagonal halves, then curling up in to a spiral at the other end of the flag.

      The spiral unfurling in a rectangular flag is the image of union of nature and technology, of round and square.

      It seems as if the flag contains another flag advancing, streaming, unrolling and opening up in a strange and mysterious wind, a flag which is transformed into another dimension.

      It is an image of how matter concentrates and turns into life. Quantity is transformed into energy. It is a symbol of the never ending cycle, a symbol for ever renewing life.

      The green is carefully composed of the special earthy deep, lush and fertile greens of the New Zealand bush and farmlands, not occurring anywhere else. This green is the wealth of New Zealand.

      The Maori spiral and the sprouting fern symbol combined, the koru, already represent New Zealand in many fields like for instance the Air New Zealand sign.

      This flag is unique and cannot be mistaken for any other flag, as is the case with the present flags of New Zealand and Australia, and the flags of many other nations. A recent example of how a symbol was accepted to represent a country with an identity quest similar to that of New Zealand is the maple leaf in the flag of Canada. In Australia too, efforts are undertaken to find a new flag. Let New Zealand be first.

      May New Zealand be part of the nations with a beautiful and meaningful and unique flag.

      It is an intelligent flag full of joy, it is indigenous, it contains a message, it has a purpose, it is different. It holds the mystery of this remote land. It is a flag to love because it is special, a flag to identify with.

      Like a fern sprouting, like a wave of nature, like a flag unfolding.

      It is a proud symbol of this nation, representing Maori history, representing the green land and the long white cloud, a true messenger of New Zealand to the world, independent, strong, invincible, full of life and energy, unmistakably New Zealand, a flag of future and age old identity.

      This second flag for New Zealand is in no way designed to detract from the Union Jack, the Southern Cross, the British monarchy, the Commonwealth, the British heritage and New Zealand traditions. The fern flag will fly happily together with the official Blue Ensign. It signals that New Zealand has come of age and qualifies as an equal among the nations of this Earth. The koru ensign symbolizes the love of New Zealanders for their country.
      Bay of Islands, the 18th of March 1983.”

    • Pasupial 6.2

      All this talk of flags brings this skit to mind (from; Eddie Izzard’s Dress to Kill, show):

  7. Robert owen 7

    Fern? What is special about a fern symbol of the Bush . we would clear it and have a dairty farm on as quick as a flash
    We should have a flag with a. deficating cow on it . much more representative

  8. Wynston 8

    I would have have real difficulty with a flag that includes the “silver fern”.
    1. It depicts the underside of a frond from a tree fern that doesn’t even naturally occur throughout the whole country (the ponga [silver fern] occurs throughout most of North Island, but extends only as far south as the Catlins in the east and about Karamea on the west coast of South Island).
    2. Its strong resemblance to a white feather (apt as that may be given the current political rush to sell off our country to overseas entertainers their ilk, and foreign-owned farming and mining companies).

    Lke the RSA, Labour, NZ First et al, I also have a real problem with the proposed referenda. Surely the first should determine whether the majority of people want a new flag. If they do, then we should move to deciding on one.

    • Rob 8.1

      I agree
      Shouldn’t we first as a country decide if we want a new flag then go though a process to choose one if we as a nation make that choice?
      Why do we let some “foreigner” who is here as a puppet get to make the call on this??

    • dukeofurl 8.2

      The silver fern has been an ’emblem’ representing NZ for a very long time. Long before the stylised kiwi in fact.

      I would say its our oldest recognised symbol

      If we we were starting from scratch I would adopt the penguin as our national bird

  9. vto 9

    The flag should not be influenced by war deeds and misdeeds. War and its misery is not to have such an upfront place in society. War and its misery is to be remembered for sure but that is the end of it.

    The RSA has it completely and utterly backwards.

  10. les 10

    the Silver Fern flag looks like the remains of a fish dinner.

  11. millsy 11

    If the flag has to change then the United Tribes flag is the only alternative.

    From 1835 to 1840 this country was technically an independent nation and that was the flag.

    • dukeofurl 11.1

      having a flag doesnt make you an independent nation. In fact the very statement of United tribes is a misnomer.
      Then there is the idea of flag was a foreign concept to maori then , and since. Which is why a shipping company flag was just a bit of bunting then and now.

      • millsy 11.1.1

        For all intents and purposes the United Tribes of New Zealand was technically a national government, and was intended to meet each year to make laws for New Zealand.

        Of course, it never really panned out that way.

      • Charles 11.1.2

        Hey, dukeofurl, Is part of the game here saying things that are clearly historically inaccurate, feigning ignorance for effect… and maybe even things that are racist? Oh right yeah, it’s the internet. Almost had me there, you pesky little cyberpixie.

  12. RedBaronCV 12

    I just want to tick a box saying – “stop wasting our money on your ego trip JK”

  13. Tom Barker 13

    I wouldn’t vote National with a shotgun at my back, but I totally support changing our dumb, craven, embarrassing flag. A fine move by Mr Key, and he deserves the support and respect of every left winger for initiating it.

  14. John Shears 14

    I agree with the RSA and wish them well in their submission.
    For the rest of you , forget the change of the New Zealand Ensign/Flag it is a John Key
    diversion and is a complete waste of money.
    Our energy should be directed at getting rid of John Key and his Government.

  15. Charles 15

    $26 million spent on re-instating the Unites tribes Federation Flag would be money well spent.
    An act even more ground-breaking (in the nation-building sense) than legalising gay marriage.
    It would detract nothing whatsoever from the deaths of those who fought in previous wars, in fact, it would elevate and amplify their sacrifice.

    The only problem I see in selling the idea would be that, as I understand it, the meaning the flag has contradicts the current attitude of “let me take anything I want from anyone I can” that is prevalent in mainstream culture. The United Tribes Flag says: Leave people alone to mind their own business, and let them trade freely. You’d think that’d be the most positive description of “the free market” by free market proponents possible, but in reality we all know what free market really means. In addition to that, Maori have their own meanings for the flag and older inter-tribal issues that might hamper an easy switch. We all have to make a compromise.

    To go some way to solving that, I’d suggest NZ have two flags: the one mentioned above, and the Maori Sovereignty flag. Even if two flags cost $52 million, it wouldn’t be money wasted. You could spend that much building a developmental America’s Cup boat, that never raced. It’s not at all unusual to have two flags for a country. Switzerland has considerably more and no one complains it’s too complicated.

    From the options, the United Tribes flag comes closest to what everyone wants for the present, and it already exists. Maori would get a validation not seen since 1835, Whities would get a validation of their current state, minus their potentially nasty extremes, and no one has to go about sporting the white feather of cowardice on a black anarchist’s flag.

    • Wynston 15.1

      Interestingly the “United Tribes” flag was actually one used by the Church Missionary Society. It was then chosen to be New Zealand’s flag by the chiefs of the far north of North Island who gathered at Waitangi on 20 March 1834. http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/zoomify/33966/united-tribes-flag-original-flag

      The ones seen these days almost without fail depart from the original in that the black borders of the the smaller St George’s cross in the upper quarter have been replaced with white.
      A still further variant excluding the white borders was adopted as the house flag of the Shaw, Savill and Albion shipping company. Given that we are selling so much of the country to overseas interests though it might well be appropriate that the latter form be adopted by us!

  16. Ian 16

    Leave the flag alone.I fully support the RSA.

  17. Shane 17

    How opposed were the RSA to changing the National Anthem from God Save the Queen/King to God defend New Zealand in 1976 I wonder? To throw their argument back at them’ – Oh but NZers fought and died under that ‘God Save the Queen/King’ Anthem’ – we shouldn’t change it! How opposed were they in the 1970’s? We don’t need the Union Jack on our flag – why should be be reminded and call ‘sacrosanct’ a flag for a nation that was the cause of so many young NZ and Australian lives at Gallipoli being lost because of the British ineptitude at leadership? The soldiers at Gallipoli and throughout the First and Second World wars fought for independence – for NZ to be recognised as an independent nation – a country in our own rights – not to remain a puppet of the pathetic British leadership that sent so may young men to their deaths

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