Rachel Smalley is a radio host for Newstalk ZB. Listen to her between 5am and 6am every weekday morning.

Rachel Smalley: This flag is a lemon - and nothing the All Blacks say will change my mind

Will it fly? Kyle Lockwood's design for the New Zealand flag.
Will it fly? Kyle Lockwood's design for the New Zealand flag.

There's just a month to go. Just over a month until we vote on whether to change the flag.

I've moved a little on this issue.

I was vehemently opposed to changing it. I love our flag, I've traipsed around Europe, Africa and Asia with it sewn on to the front of my trusty old backpack, I've raised it up a flagpole as a girl guide, I saw it flying high above the Beehive last week. It's my flag, I love it. I'd be quite happy if it never changed.

However, I do understand the reasoning behind why we should - and I do accept that there is a mood for change in this country.

But if we're to change our flag, it needs to be something quite magnificent, I think.

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If, as seems to be the case, we're tired of being mistaken for the Aussies, well our flag needs to be instantly recognisable.

If I think of some of the world's great flags, they're what I call statement flags.

So - the maple leaf of Canada. Quite possibly one of the world's most recognisable flags - it's one of my favourites.

I love the Union Jack as well - although it doesn't represent a county, per se - but it's a very strong, very recognisable flag.

The Welsh flag -- the Red Dragon. That's another of my favourites. Japan's flag. White with a red dot. Simple. Unmistakable. The stars and stripes. And there are lesser known flags too which I think stand out.

I love the Lebanese flag. It's an image of the national tree - the cedar. It's a simplistic but it's bold too.

And so in the context of that, you then look at what we're being asked to vote on. It's a got a bit of blue, a bit of black, four stars and a flat, lifeless silver-fern. But it's not silver. It's white.

So how on earth did we get here?

And the question I would ask is, is this flag our maple leaf?

And the answer to that question is - no. No it's not.

It's boring. Truly. But worse then that, it's weak. It looks insipid. It looks bland. It looks, well, beige.

And now they're rolling out former All Blacks to encourage us to vote for it.

Dan Carter and Richie McCaw. Both are fine men. Both are experts on the game of rugby. Neither is an expert on design.

Dan and Richie want us to vote for this beige job.

The argument is no longer about whether to change the flag or not - it seems inevitable it will happen at some stage.

But is this alternative flag our maple leaf? Is it our red dragon? Is it our union jack? Our stars and stripes?

No, it's none of those things. Change will come, I think. It has to. But not this time. And not to this flag.

Because this flag isn't a maple leaf - it's a lemon.

Debate on this article is now closed.

- Newstalk ZB

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Rachel Smalley is a radio host for Newstalk ZB. Listen to her between 5am and 6am every weekday morning.

Rachel’s career in journalism is extensive. She has reported from Europe, Africa, Asia and America, covering elections in Britain, the United States, France and New Zealand. She joined Newstalk ZB as host of KPMG Early Edition in 2013 and also works on TVNZ’s Sunday and Q&A current affairs programmes.

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