11 March 2014
Speech at Victoria University
It’s good to be here in a place where ideas are encouraged and discussed, because that’s what I want to do today.
Anzac Day is approaching and, as you know, next year we will commemorate the centenary of that fateful landing by the Anzacs on the Gallipoli Peninsula on April 25, 1915.
In the struggle, the sacrifice, and the wretchedness of Gallipoli, an Anzac reputation for courage, endurance and mateship was forged that has endured long after those who survived that campaign have passed on.
Each year, on Anzac Day in particular, we remember our fallen as we should and as I hope we always will.
But once the centenary has passed, I think it will be time for us to take some decisions about how we present ourselves to the world beyond 2015.
For more than a hundred years the New Zealand flag has served us well, and we in turn have served it well.
11 March 2014
PM plans public vote next term on NZ’s flag
Prime Minister John Key today outlined a plan to hold a public
discussion and vote next parliamentary term on New Zealand’s flag.
In a speech at Victoria University today, Mr Key said it was his belief that the design of the current flag symbolises a colonial and post-colonial era whose time has passed.
“I am proposing that we take one more step in the evolution of modern New Zealand by acknowledging our independence through a new flag,” he says.
He outlined a plan for a cross-party group of MPs to recommend the best referenda process, and a steering group to ensure the public has the opportunity to engage in discussion on the flag and to submit design ideas.
“It’s really important that consideration of a new flag includes genuine input from New Zealanders. All voices need an opportunity to be heard,” he says.
“A flag that unites all New Zealanders should be selected by all New Zealanders. This decision is bigger than party politics.”
Mr Key says he wants to give a clear assurance and commitment that retaining the current flag is a very possible outcome from the process, and there will be no presumption in favour of a change.
He says New Zealand retains a strong and important constitutional link with the monarchy that he did not see a groundswell of support to change.
“Our status as a constitutional monarchy continues to serve us well,” he says.
Mr Key says that should he have the privilege of remaining Prime Minister after the general election in September, he would write to leaders of all political parties represented in Parliament asking them to nominate an MP to join a cross-party group to oversee the flag consideration process.
The group would recommend the best referenda process to follow, and also be involved in nominating New Zealanders from outside Parliament to form a steering group which would be primarily responsible for ensuring the public has the opportunity to engage in the debate.
“One of the tasks of that steering group will be to seek submissions from the public on flag designs.
“I would like to see the referenda process completed during the next Parliamentary term, so it does not intrude on the 2017 elections.”
11 March 2014
RNZAF P3 Orion to search for flight MH370
Prime Minister John Key says a Royal New Zealand Air Force P3 Orion will soon be joining the search for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.
“The Malaysian Government has accepted the New Zealand offer to join the international search and rescue effort, and I will be talking to Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib tonight to reinforce that New Zealand stands firmly alongside Malaysia at this challenging time” says Mr Key.
“The aircraft departed yesterday and, after a stop-off in Darwin, will arrive in Malaysia later today. It is expected to join the multi-national search and rescue mission.
“The New Zealand aircraft will be based at the Butterworth air base in Penang along with two Australian P3 planes. They are likely to assist Malaysian authorities by searching the sea areas North of Malaysia.
“Much remains unclear about what has happened to the flight. New Zealand wants to do its part in the search and rescue effort to locate the aircraft,” says Mr Key.
“While we are aware the hope for positive news is fading, our thoughts remain with the family members of those who were on the flight, particularly the families of New Zealanders Paul Weeks and Ximin Wang.”Tweet