August 2010 Labour’s Charles Chauvel introduced a private members bill to parliament seeking to hold a debate on changing the New Zealand flag. He proposed an 18 month consultative process and a design competition, culminating in one referendum asking voters if the wished to retain the existing flag or to adopt one of the three competition winners. Unfortunately for Chauvel, who resigned from parliament in 2013, his bill was never drawn from the ballot.
So it may have come as some surprise to Chauvel and his Labour peers when John Key announced in January 2014 his government would be holding a referendum on this very issue. As only a few short years earlier change was not on the government’s agenda, not even remotely, as noted in this 2010 article.
“However, Mr Chauvel may have his work cut out for him as Prime Minister John Key has said changing New Zealand’s flag isn’t on the Government’s agenda.”
Would be interesting to compare and rank Chauvel’s New Zealand Flag Bill with the government’s New Zealand Flag Referendum Act and see which flag process offered New Zealanders the best opportunity for unity, identity and change.
Also, just exactly what changed between 2010 and 2014 Mr Key?