No Red Peak rift between Labour, Greens

The Red Peak won't mean any long-lasting damage between Labour and the Greens
The Red Peak won't mean any long-lasting damage between Labour and the Greens

Labour was surprised the Green Party would be introducing a Bill to get Red Peak into the flag referendum, but neither party says it means anything for their relationship.

Red Peak is now officially the fifth alternative flag following a 109 -12 vote to include it this morning as politicians sought to pass the law under urgency.

It was introduced by Green MP Gareth Hughes yesterday but voted down by New Zealand First. It was then adopted by National.

Its introduction effectively broke a stalemate between Labour and National who were at loggerheads about wanting to change the referendum process.

Labour MP David Shearer says the Greens were "a little more surreptitious than we would have liked" in terms of creating the Bill.

"Perhaps what they did do is they saw an opportunity and they took it. I guess it's just when your allies do that without you knowing, sometimes it's a bit of a surprise."

However, he said it was just politics and didn't think it did any lasting damage to the alliance between the two parties.

Neither did Greens co-leader James Shaw.

"We're an independent political party and we don't agree on everything. But we do agree on a Labour/Green government in 2017.

"People's tempers get up a lot of the time, it's no big deal," he says.

The support for Red Peak started to grow after the independent Flag Consideration Panel's shortlist of four wasn't well received.

An online petition of 50,000 was handed over to Parliament last week.

But New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says that's hardly a groundswell of support.

"If you think that an online [petition], social media, 50,000 [signatures] – less than one percent of our population, is any way public mood then sadly you've got it wrong too."

But the flag could have one new fan in Prime Minister John Key who says he'd likely vote for Red Peak in a run-off with the current flag.

"If it got to that point I think I might vote for Red Peak, but I'm keen on changing the flag because I think there is a really strong argument about the future. My preference still very much remains one of the Kyle Lockwood silver fern ones," he says.

ACT leader David Seymour says he'd probably do the same.

"A lot of people can relate to [Red Peak] and I think it is actually gaining genuine, organic momentum."

Adding a fifth option to the ballot paper won't cost any more money, and Mr Seymour says it is important the most value is squeezed out of the $26 million cost of the two referenda.

The vote on the five flags will take place from November 20 to December 11.

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