RSA members pleased by flag results


Tonight the preliminary results for the flag referendum results were announced, and New Zealand won't be getting a new flag.

Among those who won't be disappointed were those gathered at the Papanui RSA tonight.

A group of about 100 met for dinner and drinks and, like they do every night, all stood at attention in silence -- hundreds of war veterans facing the flags they had once served under as the Last Post played over the loud speaker.

To the left, framed behind glass, was the original New Zealand flag that went to Gallipoli with the soldiers. The four bullet holes in the middle of the thin fabric is proof it was with them on the battlefront.

There's no denying this crowd want the flag to stay.

Alec Cameron served all around the world in the Navy and he wanted it to stay as is.

But what if the Lockwood flag won?

"Disappointment," Mr Cameron says. "It's not a flag that represents New Zealand."

Many of these men spent more than a decade in either the Army, Air Force or Navy.

Six years and 246 days was spent serving overseas for Stu Rankin.

"I've served under that flag four times overseas. I'm very, very proud of that flag."

They say it's not that they're against change, it's that the options don't represent New Zealand the best way possible.

"I say stick with what we've got until such times that we become a republic, then we look at seriously changing the flag," said Mr Cameron.

Earlier in the night, they were confident Lockwood's flag wasn't going to be the winner.

"It ain't going to make it and I'm confident," Mr Rankin said.

Meanwhile at Birkenhead RSA in Auckland, there were mixed reviews. Some said they were pleased with others looking forward to a change.

President of Birkenhead RSA Lynda Gage said she doesn't mind that our flag is similar to Australia because we're both ANZACs.

"All the way along I thought we'd keep the current flag. Most people I talked to did say they'd like to keep the current flag," she said.

"It makes me real happy because it was the flag that made me immigrate to New Zealand," patron Ernest Henshaw said.

"I liked the flag so I said, 'Alright, that's where we're going to live'. So it was a good result."

But fellow patron Allan Eriksen thought the country had missed an opportunity.

"No I'm not at all happy, I thought it was a great chance to change our image. I think it's a sad day," he said.