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Flag Debate Welcomed By Businessman Lloyd Morrison

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Feb 5 NZPA - Wellington-based businessman Lloyd Morrison is pleased to see people discussing the issue of the national flag again, believing it is time for a new flag selected by a process people can support.

The tino rangatiratanga flag will fly at eight official locations on New Zealand's national day tomorrow. Some Maori and political leaders regard the flag as divisive and further controversy was created by reports Maori Party MP Hone Harawira's family was involved in a plan for a trust to gather royalties on the flag.

The New Zealand Herald newspaper is running a campaign for a new flag for New Zealand.

Mr Morrison has been a long time campaigner for a new flag and sees it as a difficult issue but one worth tackling.

He said the debate about the use of the tino rangatiratanga version on Waitangi Day had raised the issue of whether the existing flag was a good one for New Zealand.

He welcomed the move by The New Zealand Herald newspaper to promote a debate on the issue.

"The problem last time was we under-estimated what it would take to run a campaign. I think it has to be very well organised and it has to involve a lot of face-to-face contact with people," he said.

A good process with participation from as many people as possible was needed.

A significant number of people did not want to change the flag.

"A normal reaction is they are sick of change and who do you think you are and what right do you have to change flag. But I don't think that is the way most people think.

"You have to get through that to get engagement," he said.

Mr Morrison is an investment banker and successful businessman and he has talked previously of how people were suspicious of his agenda in the debate about the flag.

He is a businessman who stayed in New Zealand and he has spoken of how proud he is of the business team he works with at Morrison & Co and Infratil, the infrastructure investment company that Morrison & Co runs.

Mr Morrison simply sees the current flag as a colonial one representing a time in New Zealand's history.

New Zealand had to stand alone after Britain turned to Europe in the 1970s. A new flag was appropriate for the more international, multi-cultural country New Zealand had become since then.

"I think we should be looking for something that reflects New Zealand as a stand alone country and not as a colony," he said.

Mr Morrison said a panel of people could choose six flags, hold a debate on those flags then choose one of them. Then there could be a referendum between the chosen flag and the existing flag.

"If you don't like the new proposed flag you can keep the old one. But at least for the first time in our history we would have chosen our flag," he said.

He said the process would not be costly.

"What we do need is a flag that we all accept as New Zealand's flag," Mr Morrison said.

Prime Minister John Key said yesterday that the Government had more important things to do than start a debate on whether New Zealand needs a new flag.

"I think the thing with the flag is that is a very emotional issue for a variety of reasons," Mr Key said.

"New Zealanders have a variety of views... and for the Government to set its focus on whether we need a new New Zealand flag I think would be a very foolish thing to do when you are trying to deal with big international economic issues."

A 2008 Nielsen poll for North & South magazine in 2008 found only 25 percent support for changing the flag.

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