Man fly­ing the al­ter­na­tive flag

Matamata Chronicle - - Your Paper, Your Place - ABBY BROWN

Derek Lug­ton’s sup­port for the al­ter­na­tive New Zealand flag is ob­vi­ous most places he goes.

The Mata­mata man is fly­ing it on a flag pole on his Pi­akoiti Rd prop­erty, on his car and is even think­ing of print­ing it on shirts.

Be­tween March 3 and March 24 2016, New Zealan­ders will get to vote in the fi­nal bind­ing ref­er­en­dum on the fu­ture of the New Zealand flag.

He said the sil­ver fern, like the one on the al­ter­na­tive flag, rep­re­sents New Zealan­ders all over the world.

Lug­ton was ‘‘taken back’’ by the RSA’s com­ments that sol­diers fought un­der the cur­rent flag.

He has vis­ited world war graves in Tu­nisia, North Africa and Flan­ders Field where the New Zealand sol­diers’ graves all had sil­ver ferns on them.

‘‘My father cer­tainly fought un­der the flag but all his mates who died in the war are rep­re­sented by a sil­ver fern on their head­stones.’’

He said when sport stars wrap them­selves in the coun­try’s cur­rent flag you can’t tell if it is a New Zealand or Aus­tralian flag.

‘‘It would be lovely to have a flag that gives us a sep­a­rate iden­tity to Aus­tralia.’’

The na­tional sup­porter said pol­i­tics didn’t come into his sup­port of the flag. ‘‘I know there has been a lit­tle bit of ill feel­ing be­cause peo­ple think it is a John Key pro­ject but I dis­agree with that. I think it is a New Zealand pro­ject.’’ He said in 20 to 40 years time peo­ple will say who is John Key?

He also knew that the $26 mil­lion flag ref­er­en­dum put some peo­ple’s ‘‘hack­les up’’ but said that was ‘‘a drop in the ocean’’ in his es­ti­ma­tion of the $400 mil­lion lost in ben­e­fit fraud an­nu­ally.

He also thought sell­ing prod­ucts un­der the sil­ver fern, ‘‘which is unique to New Zealand’’, would pro­vide the coun­try with more lev­er­age.

What are your thoughts on flag ref­er­en­dum? Are you a Mata­mata res­i­dent fly­ing the cur­rent flag to show your sup­port for it? Email abby.brown@fair­fax­me­dia.co.nz.

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