Winston comes out swinging



Mr Key recently told Paul Henry: “Here’s the silver fern. Front page with one frond coming off like a tear with Jonah Lomu and his years. Amazingly powerful, that’s New Zealand. Where was our flag? Nowhere. I’ll tell you around the world everywhere you go people know the silver fern and that’s the thing they use when we’re doing well and when we’re hurting. That’s our flag not some Union Jack…”

People can decide on the appropriateness of bringing the late Jonah Lomu into the flag debate. Suffice to say, there is a wonderful photo of Jonah and Eric Rush together at the 1998 Commonwealth Games holding a flag many New Zealanders will recognise.

Having Key push for a flag change on the back of a rugby player’s death was very, very cringe-worthy.  Peters continues… 

Mr Key’s out of hand dismissal of the Union Jack sounds uncannily like the famous Monty Python skit – “What have the Romans ever done for us?” The Union Jack is not only our historical anchor but represents the rule of law, parliamentary democracy, freedom of the press and the very language we speak. So what have the British ever done for us? Quite a lot actually and the Union Jack within our flag represents the ideal behind the formation of New Zealand.

The sad truth is that Mr Key and the modern National Party do not care for history, or for tradition or for service. When the Canadian singer, Justin Bieber, contradicted Mr Key’s narrative on the Canadian flag, Mr Key’s petulant response was: “When we change the flag and we have one of those beautiful new ones, there will be a whole generation of New Zealanders that won’t know we had an old one, but what they will know is that they’re so proud of that new flag.”

Think about Mr Key’s words for a moment. Everything we’ve ever achieved under our flag since it was gazetted in 1902 counts for nought. Our Olympic gold medals, our World Cup and famous sporting victories, our sacrifice in war and our achievements in art, culture and science do not count in Mr Key’s myopic branded world. Only his flag will make New Zealand great and this has got to be Mr Key at his most pompous.

Vintage Winston.   But he has a point.  By the time you have a Prime Minister saying that in another generation or two, nobody will remember our achievements under the old flag is pretty gutting.  It shows a total lack of respect and no understanding as to what it means to be a New Zealander.  How we sweated, toiled, died, celebrated, achieved and won as a nation.

Whatever your preference in the referendum, remember to vote.  That means you also have to post the ballot form.  No use it sitting on the dining table.


– Winston Peters, NZ Herald

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.