How depressing that an opportunity for New Zealand to stand for itself on the world stage with a new flag that truly represents its individual identity has descended into a debate in which some Kiwis must come across to the world as small-minded and stubborn.

Some have made this debate so personal against John Key, that I've heard people say that they will vote for the old flag even though they want a new flag just because they don't like "how it has been done".

That seems to me like cutting off one's nose to spite one's face.

How would they like it to be done?

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What could be more democratic than a referendum?

Others say they want a new flag, but they don't like the one chosen, so they are voting to keep the old flag. But it would be impossible to get consensus as to a new flag that pleased everyone.

A vote to keep the old flag does not necessarily mean the opportunity to change it will come again in the future.

What will happen? It looks, according to polls, as though we will be left with the old flag - which is a pity as it is a missed opportunity to shed that Union Jack which seems to me to have little relevance to New Zealand today.

My opinion is that the new flag is not perfect but I would vote for it anyway as it is more symbolic and representative of New Zealand than the old one.

If the referendum doesn't go my way - which looks likely - then I will, like the two people on opposite sides of the pole featured in Anna Whyte's story in the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend, accept the public vote and live with it.

It is a pity that some in this debate are so adamant that they are right that they are willing to go to extreme lengths like the man in our story on page 5, who took the alternative flag down from Elizabeth St yesterday.

He didn't want to give us his name.

In my view his behaviour is unacceptable-the flag was not his to take down.

The two flags were flying on alternative days.

We have a chance to vote on our choice. What will be, will be.

No need for the antics.