15 Sep 2015

Little offers PM flag olive branch

7:23 pm on 15 September 2015

Labour Party leader Andrew Little has offered to sit down with the Prime Minister John Key to resolve an impasse on changing the flag.

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Photo: Supplied

Labour and the Government are in a stand-off over the planned referendums, with Mr Key challenging Labour to back the including of the Red Peak flag in the line-up of options, and the referendum as it stands.

Mr Key told Labour to man-up and be honest with the public over its position on changing the flag.

But Labour wants Mr Key to ask voters,in the first referendum in November, whether they even want to change the flag.

Mr Little said he was more than happy to have a sensible discussion with the Prime Minister about how they can get public confidence back behind the flag referendum process.

"He threw out his suggestion yesterday completely unforeshadowed. I've given my response, and if he is serious about public confidence in the flag referendum process, let's have a discussion about how to fix it up," Mr Little said.

Mr Key was somewhat open to the idea.

"I'm more than happy to meet with him, but only on the condition that it's not about a yes or no vote."

During question time in the house, Mr Key questioned Labour's motives.

"In an act of conciliation and the like, I've tried to say to the Labour Party that if they want to actually honour their election pledge and actually go out there and back a fair and even process."

Red Peak NZ Flag.

Mr Key wants to include Red Peak as a fifth option. Photo: Facebook / Red Peak NZ Flag

"In other words man-up to the words that they went to the electorate with," Mr Key said.

New Zealand First MP Ron Mark asked what was behind Mr Key's decision to include the Red Peak design.

"Does he consider the Red Peak design his saviour for his failed flag change project?"

Mr Key replied that the process they were going through was a good one and was about national identity and pride.

Mr Key could solve this stalemate by replacing one of the four finalists with Red Peak, but he defended his refusal to do that, and said that would expose him to criticism from those who favoured the original four options.

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