Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A new flag for New Zealand?

The old 12th Century Biddenden Church 
Tollbooth Tavern ... once a prison.
Part of me does not want to dignify the flag debate with comment. To me it is a red herring floated by our prime minister. I am not a big royalist.  It annoys me the way the media prattle about the royals. I know too that we are an Asian nation, and I am a proud Kiwi. “Home” is here for me, not Great Britain. But I was looking at our flag while posies were being laid at the cemetery on ANZAC day. I saw the Union Jack on the flag not so much as recognising political dependence, or even allegiance, but rather pointing to our heritage.  For me it is a reminder of the type of society we are. In the UK there are reminders all around of the fact that it was there that values like democracy, justice (a fair deal) and freedoms, were hammered out on the forge of history.  A couple of examples are; A stone in a Church in the village in Biddenden in Kent recalls two martyrs who died seeking religious freedoms. A plaque on the Tollbooth Tavern in Cannongate in Edinburgh tells the story of people imprisoned there for wanting freedoms we take for granted.  There are hundreds of such places recalling the path toward a free and fair society. The Union Jack on our flag is a reminder that we in NZ are a product of that history. It says to all we are a country where democracy, justice and freedom are valued.  It speaks of the important ethos and heritage we have received. We need that reminder. Perhaps our leaders want to forget it? In the face of such things as the lack of transparency around TPPA, the increasing difficulties for the poor, the ridiculing name calling of any opposing stance and the arrogance displayed by our political leaders, we need to retain that reminder.

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