Peters: Immigrants shouldn't vote in flag referendum

  • 28/02/2016
NZ First leader Winston Peters (Getty)
NZ First leader Winston Peters (Getty)

Immigrants should get to have their say when it comes to choosing New Zealand's flag in the upcoming referendum, according to the Change the NZ Flag chairman.

Immigrants with New Zealand residency are presently allowed to vote in the referendum, but NZ First leader Winston Peters has argued that "outsiders" such as immigrants shouldn't be heard.

"Why should thousands of immigrants who have come here in recent years be involved in making a decision that goes, in the words of the flag committee, to the very heart of who we are and what we are as a nation?" he said.

"You will not find any other country that would allow outsiders to make a decision about their national identity and it certainly should not happen here."

But Change the NZ Flag chairman Lewis Holden rebuked the NZ First leader and said the alternate fern and stars flag will unite all New Zealanders under a new, fresh banner.

"I had hoped Mr Peters would have grown tired of playing the immigrant card," he said today.

"Some people who have residency may have lived in New Zealand for very long periods of time and have legitimate reasons to keep the passport of another country."

The second flag referendum opens on March 3.