Legal advice sought by Tauranga City Council says only the New Zealand national flag can be flown from the Elizabeth St/Takitimu Dr flagpole.
In a statement, Tauranga City Council said it had sought external legal advice on whether the New Zealand national flag and the proposed alternate flag can both be flown from the Elizabeth St/Takitimu Drive flagpole.
The legal opinion, received today, is: the resource consent, properly interpreted, is limited to the flying of the New Zealand national flag only. The consent does not authorise the Council to fly any other, including the alternative flag.
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The Flag Consideration Project had requested that government buildings fly both referendum flags where possible.
The flag pole when it was first installed in 2008. Photo/File
The council's decision to fly the alternative flag at Elizabeth St/Takitimu Drive came in response to a separate request from MP Todd Muller to fly both flags from the city flagpole on alternating days.
The Elizabeth St/Takitimu Drive flagpole rigging and security lock were both damaged on the weekend.
The New Zealand national flag will be put back up and remain there once the flagpole is back in full working order.
The statement said Tauranga City Council as an organisation did not, and has never had, a position on the flag referendum.
Councillor Steve Morris said when council staff sought feedback from councillors several weeks ago about flying the alternative flag from the Elizabeth St flag pole, his view was that the council should not give the appearance of endorsing one flag or the other, and that by doing so, it would put the organisation at risk of breaching the resource consent for the Elizabeth St flagpole.
"Since that time the visceral reaction of a small minority threatening vandalism to ratepayer property has caused me to support the majority of my colleagues in choosing to fly an alternative. I will support the flying of an alternative along side the current flag outside of Baycourt or any other legal venue.
"That said, my concerns about potentially breaching consent by flying the alternative flag from Elizabeth St have not changed and have now been endorsed by expert legal opinion."
Mr Morris said "rule makers must not be rule breakers" and there were plenty of other legal places to view both flags side by side.