The Prime Minister has been too quick to rule out the addition of Aaron Dustin's Red Peak to the shortlisted flags that will be the subject of next month's first referendum. After pointing out that this would require a law change, John Key suggested Parliament had better things to do with its time.
Not if it wants to provide New Zealanders with genuine choice, and to inject a much-needed level of interest into the flag consideration process.
The selection panel erred when it included two of Kyle Lockwood's silver fern flags in the shortlisted four. They differ only slightly in colour. In effect, one of the options has been eliminated. The late addition of Red Peak, through a quick and uncomplicated legislative tweak, would resurrect the intended idea of choice.
The response to an online petition and much social media comment suggests it has enough support to warrant that. Many people obviously admire the strength and straightforwardness of its multi-coloured triangles.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
They also see one particular strength: like all good flags, it can be easily drawn. Many of these same people were left uninspired by the flag panel's offering. Their enthusiasm for Red Peak has helped enliven a process in danger of falling flat.
That is not to suggest it will be the people's choice to run off against the current flag. The Kyle Lockwood design probably remains the front-runner, thanks to the symbolism of the silver fern and the Southern Cross.
Red Peak, however, deserves its chance.