Three cheers for the councillor from Howick – he talks sensibly about the folly of flying a Maori flag

Alf was cheered by the news that Manukau City Council has rejected a proposal to fly a Maori flag at its offices on Waitangi Day.

He has made no secret of his opposition to the flying of a flag that symbolises Maori separatism.

The Manukau council’s policy and activities committee – or a majority of it – seems to agree. It met yesterday to discuss the issue for the third time in two years and voted not to fly the flag on civic flagpoles.

Councillors argued that the proposal was inconsistent with their policy on flags.

In addition, Cr Jami-Lee Ross said the flag represents division, racism and sepratism.

The council’s policy, adopted in June 2008, allows only the New Zealand and Manukau City Council flags to fly on civic flagpoles, as well as flags belonging to sister cities or visiting overseas delegates.

But ignoring the objections Alf raised at caucus meetings, the Government late last year established protocols to recognise the tino rangatiratanga flag as the preferred national Maori flag.

The caucus would have benefited greatly had it been able to listen to Jami-Lee Ross, the Manukau City Councillor for Howick, on the subject.

Jami issued a media statement yesterday under the heading Manukau Council debates tino rangatiratanga flag for third time.

It said the flag-flying issue had been placed on the agenda of the Council’s Policy and Activities Committee less than a week before Waitangi Day and without any community consultation.

This is typical of the contempt for public opinion shown by champions of the separatist flag.

The statement goes on to reiterate that Jami-Lee Ross has previously been a leading opponent of the Maori sovereignty flag flying on Council buildings and advised he would be opposing this latest move.

“The tino rangatiratanga flag is not a symbol that represents Manukau City and I’m dismayed that we have to have this debate once again.

“The tino rangatiratanga flag is a flag of division, of racism, and separatism. It has no place flying on Council flagpoles and must not be approved at tonight’s meeting.”

A shit-stirring pakeha?

Nah.

Mr Ross, of Ngati Porou descent, says he is surprised the issue is even being raised after the Council previously decided against flying the Maori sovereignty flag. In June 2008 Manukau City Council adopted a flag policy that allows only the New Zealand flag and Manukau City Council flag to fly on civic flagpoles, as well as flags of sister cities or those of visiting overseas delegations.

“Waitangi Day is our national day and we should be flying a flag that represents national pride and unity. New Zealand only has one New Zealand Flag and it is a flag we should be proud of.

“The New Zealand Flag represents all New Zealanders, both Maori and non-Maori alike. There is no need or desire to fly a protest flag alongside it. The tino rangatiratanga flag is not a flag of our country, nor that of all Maori.”

Ross called on Manukau Mayor Len Brown to show leadership through this issue.

If he wants to lead a united Auckland, then I would expect him to be lining up opposed to this proposal and voting against the flying of a separatist flag on Waitangi Day”.

Just as fascinating for Alf was the news a few days ago that the the red, white and black Tino Rangatiratanga flag will not be flying from the flagstaff on the Treaty Grounds at Waitangi this year.

The Waitangi National Trust has vetoed the flying of the flag.

Prominent local elder Kingi Taurua says he does not want the Tino Rangatiratanga flag to be flown from the flagpole at the nearby Waitangi marae.

The trust chairman, Pita Paraone, says the flag remains controversial, and the trust does not want to be at odds with the local marae.

The Waitangi National Trust Board will discuss the issue at its next meeting, later in February.

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