Updated: 01/31/2014 08:38 | By Agence France-Presse

Queen's man in New Zealand backs flag change debate

Queen Elizabeth II's representative in New Zealand has publicly supported debate on ditching the Union Jack from the national flag, saying ties to former colonial ruler Britain have waned.


Queen's man in New Zealand backs flag change debate

The New Zealand flag on December 6, 2013 - by Marty Melville

Commenting on Prime Minister John Key's call for the country to adopt an All Blacks-style silver fern flag, Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae said modern New Zealanders' national identity was strongly bound to the Pacific.

Mateparae, the former chief of the New Zealand Defence Force, said he had not yet seen a design he felt reflected the country's identity but he supported debate on changing the flag.

"From the First World War onwards, we have been looking at our identity and we are much more comfortable with our place in the world today as being in the Pacific," he told Wellington's Dominion Post newspaper.

"A hundred years ago there was a greater affiliation to the United Kingdom. We do now see ourselves as deeply seated and rooted in the Pacific."

Key floated the flag change proposal this week but said the government would hold a referendum before any decision was made to alter the existing banner.

The current flag features the Union Jack in one corner, with the remainder consisting of four stars representing the Southern Cross constellation.

Critics say it is an anachronism to have Britain's flag featured so prominently and argue the banner is too easily confused with those of other former British colonies such as Australia, which has an almost identical design.

Others say that New Zealanders have fought and died under the flag, which was first used in 1869 and formally adopted in 1902, arguing that to change it would dishonour their memory.

Key said he believed the flag should display a silver fern on a black background, the national emblem already used by New Zealand sporting teams such as rugby union's All Blacks.

He said Canada, another former colony of Britain, had never regretted adopting its distinctive maple leaf flag in 1965.

Latest Photo Galleries on xinmsn

NEWS VIDEOS

MORE NEWS VIDEOS

facebook recommendations

LIVE NEWS RADIO STREAMING

  • 938 Live

    938LIVE is Singapore's only English news and talk station which transmits round the clock with an engaging and enticing spread of programmes on current affairs, health, business and lifestyle as well as news every half hour until midnight.

  • Capital 958


    95.8FM城市频道的前身是"第三广播网"。上个世纪30年代末,新加坡就有中文广播,一路走来经过不少政治,社会局势的改变,中文广播在本地一直扮演举足轻重的角色。