While many in Rotorua get set to wave their red, gold and green flags at Raggamuffin, spare a thought for the old red, white and blue.

The New Zealand flag is under threat with the Prime Minister suggesting there could be a referendum on its future at this year's election.

Key issues, so to speak, with the flag include that it looks too much like Australia's and that the Union Jack in the corner is no longer relevant.

There also seems to be a widespread view that it should incorporate our national colours, and that those colours are black and white.


Now, I'm a sucker for novelty so I'd quite like to see a flash new flag representing our fair land. But I can also understand the opposition to any change, especially among those who fought under the flag or who lost loved ones who died doing so. But a flag is more than just colours, lines and stars - and if we change how it looks that doesn't change what it stands for.

Last year this newspaper underwent radical change. Having seen the positive effects of that, I wouldn't be surprised if, on a much larger scale, a fresh new look for our flag had a similar uplifting spin-off.

Many opponents argue that there are more important things to worry about - and of course they're right. But they'll always be right - there will always be more worthy issues to deal with. Nothing would ever get achieved if you always ran with that argument.

So a change would be nice, if only because it would be a change.

But I would argue that the Union Jack is not irrelevant - the United Kingdom and our colonial past are a huge part of what made this country.

As are our Maori culture and history. Any new flag should surely recognise this in a major way.

As for black and white and silver ferns? Black flag is a punk band and a fly spray. And we don't want a silver fern that looks like a white feather.

Let's stick to red, white and blue, as a nod to our colonial past, but with the imagery along Maori art lines.