Little open to flag talk with Key

Labour leader Andrew Little (Simon Wong / 3 News)
Labour leader Andrew Little (Simon Wong / 3 News)

An amendment in Parliament to change the flag referendum to a yes/no answer and include the Red Peak will be proposed by Labour today, but the Prime Minister says he won't support it.

Labour has also released a mock-up of what that single referendum with two parts would look like.

The first question would be a vote to keep the current flag or change, while the second part has the existing four shortlisted alternatives plus the Red Peak and asking which flag people would like to change to regardless of their vote on the first part.

John Key has appeared to begin wavering on the inclusion of the popular Red Peak flag, saying if all political parties support including it in the shortlist he would be open to change.

Yesterday, he called out other parties for playing politics with the flag, especially Labour whose policy is for a flag change but have been publicly attacking the process.

Party leader Andrew Little says he's willing to sit down with Mr Key "about how we can get things back on track so he can get on with having his project about flag change".

"Nothing happens without a decent, mature discussion. Let's see if we can have a decent, mature discussion."

The party's position is to have a different process altogether and the party says it will seek cross-party support for changing the process.

"What we don't want to happen is for two referendums at enormous cost to take place, and for New Zealanders to feel cheated by the whole process. Labour has disagreed with the timing of the flag change and the process was botched from the beginning but there is still time to make this right."

But that support won't be forthcoming from Mr Key and National.

"We took the very best advice we could. We consulted, we had a cross-party group, we asked the officials what the best way of conducting this was," Mr Key said.

He didn't think people should be voting to change the flag if they didn't know what the alternative is because it is dependent of what the flag could be changed to.

Mr Key said he was open to having five alternative flag designs to allow Red Peak, instead of the existing four.

He said he would be happy to talk with Mr Little, but not to discuss the yes/no referendum idea.

New Zealand First has been the only political party to oppose the flag change from the start.

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