Bill English on flag: 'I'm leaning towards change'

Bill English
Bill English

John Key has been a cheerleader for changing the flag for nearly the entire time he's been Prime Minister.

His deputy Bill English, however, hasn't been so emphatic -- or even clear at all about his preference.

That was until today, when he gave this hint:

"I've been leaning toward change. But I'll decide when I get my voting paper," he said.

That's a big change from his previous answers, which have always been along the lines of "that's what the referendum is for" or "the people will decide".

His caginess could have been because he's the minister in charge of the flag-change programme  and maybe he's wanted to remain impartial to the process.

But he let the guard down today when he hinted he was leaning towards the side of his boss.

"There may a few people who don't like the Prime Minister who will vote against the flag for that reason.

 "I haven't decided yet whether I'll change, but I'm leaning toward change," he said.

"The Prime Minister likes it. I'll decide when I get my voting paper. But I'm leaning towards change."

To top it all off, Mr English seemed to back off from his near-endorsement, by saying "I wouldn't want to pre-judge it".