Key criticised over secret flag-funding lunch

  • 09/04/2016
(Simon Wong)
(Simon Wong)

John Key is under fire again this morning over the extent of his lobbying to change the New Zealand flag.

It's been revealed he was the star guest at a secret lunch with wealthy Chinese donors in February, who handed over enough money to fund a pamphlet drop to half a million homes.

Lewis Holden from the Change the Flag lobby group says Chinese have a negative past with the Union Jack, citing Hong Kong's colonial history, but New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says that's ridiculous.

"It's not just tenuous, it's pathetic that they would be using the Boxer Rebellion so long ago in Hong Kong's history as some reason to be involving themselves in changing another nation's flag," he says.

Labour leader Andrew Little says it's further proof that John Key's activism for a new flag crossed the line.

"This became John Key's and the National Party's project. And the fact that they got into motion the National Party fundraising machine tells us that’s what it was all about," he says.

National MP Nikki Kaye attended the lunch, and says it's nothing out of the ordinary.

"I attend a range of events as a Member of Parliament, I've been very open about my support of the flag, and the Change the Flag campaign had an event and I attended. I'm still trying to work out exactly what the issue is."

She says she's been open about her support for changing the flag, but she accepts the way New Zealand voted and supports the result.


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