BustedBlonde bothered me, at her Roarprawn blog site, with a one-word comment on news that Prime Minister John Key is supporting the flying of a Maori flag.
“Good,” she said (without bothering to justify this dubious position).
I can only imagine she really meant to say “Good grief” but choked on a prawn before coming to grief, or had a blonde moment and couldn’t remember if “i” came before “e.”
She was commenting on the NZ Herald’s report that Key has no problem with flying the Tino Rangatiratanga flag from the Auckland Harbour Bridge on Waitangi Day, so long as Maori are consulted and the meaning of the flag is agreed upon.
So long as Maori are consulted? What about consulting the good people of Eketahuna? Or deaf people…one-legged people…Hottentots… compulsive flag-burners…?
Or whole clusters of people who make up 85% or so of our population?
The dismaying answer from Key is that the great majority won’t be consulted (constituents can be assured I will be taking up this matter with him at our next caucus meeting, reminding him about what happened when Helen Clark fell victim to high-handed arrogance).
“New Zealanders take pride that as a country we are doing well in race relations and this is just another step,” were Key’s honeyed words to a press conference yesterday.
Forget about bloody pride in our race relations, I will be telling him. What about the right to be consulted about objects to be hung from a bridge built with our money?
Nothing should be allowed to hang from the bridge – any bridge – except flags incorporating the good old Union Jack, although I would be prepared to make an exception if it meant stringing up the likes of BustedBlonde.
The Act Party, a sad bunch of wallies on many other issues, is on the money with this one. It reckons flying the Tino Rangatiratanga flag on Waitangi Day would be a mistake, because it is a symbol of division.
How right they are. If it wasn’t divisive, there would be no political controversy.
Anyway, Maori themselves seem to disagree about which flag is appropriate, and Key’s requirement that they be consulted about the meaning of the flag at least has the virtue of putting them to the test on the matter.
Adam, at The Inquiring Mind, admits to having second thoughts on the issue.
He has been nudged into calling for a wider debate by a letter to the NZ Herald (fully quoted on his blog) from one Areti Metuamate, of Wellington, who says she is among many Maori who reckon the Tino Rangatiratanga flag represents values and past actions that are quite opposed to unity and progress as a nation.
She points out “this flag is not recognised by all iwi/hapu” and calls for a proper national debate about what an acceptable flag is for all New Zealanders.
I’ll go along with that, provided the Union Jack is featured somewhere on whatever flag might emerge.