Flag change discussion in Nelson tonight

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Members of the public are invited to discuss the flag consideration process tonight as part of a roadshow organised by the Flag Consideration Panel.

A meeting is being held at the Tahuna Function Centre with two of the 12 members of the Flag Consideration Panel hosting the event.

Flag Consideration Panel deputy chair, Kate de Goldi, who is also a renowned New Zealand author, will be joined by Malcolm Mulholland, academic and flag historian. They will provide an overview of the process and the history of the New Zealand flag and there will be an open discussion.

Kate says this process is naturally drawing passionate responses from those who like the current flag, those who want to see the current flag reflected in ‘updated’ versions and those would like to see a different design.

“The Panel isn’t making the decision on whether the flag changes or not, that will be decided by the public next year when all eligible voters will get to choose between the current New Zealand Flag and an alternative in March 2016,” she said.

Malcolm says he is personally looking forward to sharing his knowledge on the history of the New Zealand Flag.

“These community discussions are good ways for people to learn more about the process and share what makes New Zealand special to them; particularly values and themes that are important to them,” he says.

He says people have been visiting the online flag forum to learn more about the New Zealand flag.

The website has had over 510,000 visits in the first four weeks of the formal process and 11,000 people have elected to have their names etched into the national flagpole monument.

The Flag Consideration Panel was appointed in February 2015 following nominations by a Cross Party Group of MPs. The Panel is independent of government and has been provided with a set budget within which it is required to conduct a public engagement campaign that will culminate in the recommendation of four alternative flag designs to the Responsible Minister, Hon Bill English.

The meeting will be held at 5.30 tonight at the Tahuna Function Centre.