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Irish Examiner's Jonah Lomu Tribute Is Causing A Serious Debate In New Zealand

Irish Examiner's Jonah Lomu Tribute Is Causing A Serious Debate In New Zealand
By Gary Reilly
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There's a big debate going on in New Zealand at the moment regarding the country's flag. To most of the world, it must be said, the New Zealand flag is rather indistinct. It looks a lot like the Australia one and the presence of the Union Jack is not to everyone's taste. With that in mind, New Zealanders are currently being asked to vote in a referendum to decide whether to keep their current flag (below) or switch to one of five alternatives.

At the moment, the favourite alternative is being decided with the winner going up against the current flag in another referendum in March. All well and good and very democratic.

As things stand, it would appear that it's likely that there will not be a change. Latest polls indicate a two thirds majority are in favour of keeping the current flag but Prime Minister John Key is doing his best to try and change that. And he's using the Irish Examiner's front page tribute to Jonah Lomu to do so.


Key appeared on a TV show in New Zealand this week and he pointed to the Examiner's front page as an example of the insignia that most of the world associate with the country.

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.

The fern features in three of the five alternative flags (one of which is below) and Key has suggested that the Examiner's much lauded tribute to Lomu is an example of why the flag needs to be changed.


However, opposition leader, Andrew Little, has accused the New Zealand Primer Minister of using Lomu's death to his own benefit by bringing up the Examiner's use of the fern.

I think it's pretty tasteless for the Prime Minister to use an occasion for mourning and grieving to press his case for particular design of the flag.

It's certainly an interesting debate they're having down there but, leaving that aside, it really does go to show how much of an effect that very moving tribute from the Examiner has had.

See also: Kiwis Are Really Loving The Irish Examiner's Front Page Tribute To Jonah Lomu

See also: Ian Madigan In Line For Huge Pay Rise As English Clubs Make Their Move


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