03 Sep, 2015 Flags, ethics and a new national identity

At present, some are pushing for a new flag. You may have seen the FB post which points out the possible connection between the flag and our constitutional foundations. If not – skim to the bottom and I’ve copied and pasted one of the shorter posts on this topic.

Foundations for a new national identity

I’ve reflected upon this – and why I feel so annoyed at the way our media discuss it. It is because I feel that some in our government are attempting to establish a new sense of national identity – but the question is, who is forming it – and what are they forming it into? I agree that we have a fairly weak appreciation of our identity as a nation – and that this needs strengthening. But what are the values of those wanting to shape our ‘new identity’?   Let’s consider two contrasting world views:

Theistic government (government with a background belief in a knowable and good God similar to the Christian God) leads to democracy, and things like freedom of speech and religion. Our own freedom of religion was established by our early missionaries and Pompellier at the time of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.  Theism (belief in one knowable God) brings moral accountability – because we believe God sees all, and will judge/reward all. Theism places a policeman in the heart of each person. We correctly assume that humans are naturally inclined toward selfishness – and so we seek to morally train children to do right – because ‘right’ and ‘good’ exist! They aren’t arbitrary. The end doesn’t justify the means. Bicultural New Zealand started as a Christian nation – with a ‘Christian-secular’ government (the powers of religion and government are separated – and it was Christians who established this separation).

In contrast, Deistic government (belief in a distant and unknowable God, who morally indifferent) is what I think we primarily have – mixed with atheistic government. In terms of values, the foundations of the two are pretty much the same. Deism and atheism leave us with no one to be morally accountable to – other than each other, and that can be corrupted (and can randomly change too). Freedom of speech and religion continue as remnants of our Christian past – but are no longer morally protected without God. It is only in Christian nations that these rights (freedom of speech and religion) exist (where else can you openly critics the government and predominant religious worldview?). Morals and values can shift with the tide. Its a completely different moral framework

The new identity

We are being changed from a ‘Christian-secular’ nation to an ‘atheistic-secular’ nation. This is a big change. The problem is, without a policeman in the heart, right and wrong can be defined by what you can get away with. I mean, right according to who’s opinion? The end can justify the means. Without a policeman in the heart we’d need a policeman on every corner – and a large pile of books full of laws that they enforce, to maintain ‘righteous’ government, because it is only human to ‘sin’! (Remove the flag, undermine our constitutional foundations, remove God from the picture – and the path is open for someone to complete remake who we are!). My dad moved to Auckland about 60 years ago, and didn’t need to lock the door of his car when parking in the lower socio-economic part of central Auckland. As God is removed, motivation to be honest when no one is looking is removed!

…and now, people with this view of life and humanity are wanting to shape who we become. Our moral values are being changed – whether we like it or not, and whether the majority like it or not. The flag (which might be constitutional) is again facing an attempt to be removed (an elderly lady told me she recalls a couple of times this has been raised – once during Helen Clarkes government. She wondered why it was so important our politicians when our people don’t seem to mind). The national anthem – which links to our true identity as a Christian nation, will be removed. Prayer in parliament and Bible in Schools will follow – because we are receiving a ‘make-over’.

But how will an Atheistic-Secular government serve us? It assumes the goodness of humanity – instead of the natural ‘sinfulness’ of humanity. This leads to us trusting leaders, that they are men and women of honest working for our good – but in a world in which the words ‘honesty’, ‘truth’ and ‘integrity’ have little meaning. If I live with integrity I live in accordance with what I believe is right – but who defines what is ‘right’?

Also, without God, there is nothing to stop the end justifying the means. What if they believe global governance is best for us – trusting the goodness of global leaders, foregoing our sovereignty, placing us in their mercy? If was the Frensh philosopher Rousseau who first suggested the idea that humans might be instinctively good, rather than evil. The problem on this planet, he suggested, is the religious and governmental systems that constrain us with their rules… This led to the French Revolution and a myriad of other revolutions, including the atheistic Communistic regimes of China, Russia and Cambodia, and also Hitlers Germany. History has shown us the values that come about – and also the worst of where this value system can lead.

The question is this: Can we be good without God? The answer is no. History shows this. Without a ‘fear of God’ (a policeman in the heart), humans are corruptible. And this is why I am bothered! Our media support the ‘atheistic-secular’ value system and agenda. The bias to too clear. Decisions are being made -and we are being manipulated!


I was in Singapore when the idea of legalising gambling was raised. With 2 of the main 3 religions in the nation having ethical problems with it – the reaction was as expected. Then the government listened – and there were local meetings to hear everyone’s concerns. The leaders showed empathy over an extended period of time, and said little. Then – with much time having passed, the most influential person – their elderly previous Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, appeared in a television explaining why he believed that their small nation needed to open the doors to the big casinos, because revenues were measured in the billions per year, and surviving as a small nation is difficult. Measures sould be put in place to protect Singaporeans from becoming too addicted to gambling – and programs in place to help those who do. Everyone had already said their piece. The fire had cooled. The nation was compliant. The change – into something the majority had disagreed with, was peacefully negotiated.  This is called ‘leadership through change’ – and it is what is going on in our nation right now.

Important questions

What are we being shaped into? To whom are our key leaders accountable? Without a policeman in the heart, I fear the very idea of ‘a brighter future’ is philosophically flawed. History shows this! Humans are too corruptible.  Its too easy to serve the applause of those we admire – like global leaders who pat you on the back when you help to bring about the regional and global governance patterns they want – rather than to serve your own people who might value your nation’s sovereignty and work to protect your right and ability to self-rule well into the future. Who employed David Lange and Roger Douglass after they served so well in NZ government – privatising (selling out) our assets? (The World Bank). Who employed Helen Clarke after she served so well? (The UN). What is really going on here? Who are our leaders esteeming, looking up to, trying to be like, and believing? These are the important questions – because this gives us a glimpse of where they are trying to lead us!


I trust John Key to make good financial decisions within our nation – because he understands money, but not to be the ‘spiritual leader’ of our nation leading us into a new identity – because we already have an identity, and I believe need to understand and value it better, because it is good! I love that our government gave $19m to celebrating 100 years since Gallipolie – but where was the same gift for celebration 200 years since the first invited European settlement, modelling the beginnings of trusting two-way relationship between Maori and Pakeha, in contrast to the discriminatory worldview of most in England and Europe? We are a Christian nation,  even though only half of us believe in a God. But this identity is under attack in the current ‘facelift’ – and the question is what will replace it.  Yes, we are secular – and that is not on contrast to being Christian. Our values are shaped by the Christian faith – and we need to better appreciate this.

Leave the flag. Leave the national anthem. Leave the prayer in parliament. Leave Bible in Schools alone. Stop playing with who we are – to make us ‘atheistic secular’ when we are ‘Christian secular’ in our history. Christian faith is well proven in history as a very beneficial and safe ‘master’ (or ‘sponsor’)  of a nation. Atheistic/deistic-secular faith is well proven in history to be lead to government who decide on our behalf (not democratic) and who act on the assumption that their own beliefs are right, and in a manner that reflects a belief that the end of the envisage justifies the means (which is does if there is no God!). I do not believe this facelift will work out for our good!

To find out who we are, we need to look backwards with less prejudice – and to affirm the good!

I was open to changing the current NZ flag, but I also didn’t understand (like most people) the LEGAL significance of doing so…
Why not change the flag?
Here’s why not – its called ‘Due Authority’
DUE AUTHORITY in a nation like NZ is represented on the NZ flag by the Union Jack and signifies that we are a constitutional monarchy.
A change of flag means not only that we have taken a major step to removing the DUE AUTHORITY of the crown. It also means we take away the very power which enforces both the 1981 Bill of Rights Act (the closest thing NZ has to an entrenched Constitution) and the founding plank upon which the Treaty of Waitangi has meaning.
It does not matter if you’re pro or anti monarchy but if you take away the DUE AUTHORITY of law (which includes our flag) you then open the gates of hell, or to be precise the means in which John Key can legally sign the TPPA (Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement). Currently if the matter was taken to court it would undoubtedly end up at the Supreme Court.
The Privy Council is our former chief court and unlike the new US-styled NZ supreme Court, has its legal interpretation interpreted by Judges that are picked by the Law Lords of the Common Wealth.
In the new system those Judges are picked by parliament – uh oh.
At the moment it is likely that a legal challenge could be mounted against the TPPA, even if John does sign it, even with the Supreme Court Change, in that it breaches the 1981 Bill of Rights and the Crowns obligation to Iwi as set out in the Treaty of Waitangi.
However, if the DUE AUTHORITY of the State can be removed then the TPPA can not only be signed but it then means that once signed the DUE AUTHORITY of the TPPA would supersede the power of any NZ laws already in place. Such as the 1981 Bill of Rights etc.
New flag? No thanks.
Please feel free to copy & paste or share… A lot of people don’t seek education but will take it when offered!
(Credits: Lyall Te Ohu & Dan Greenman)


DAVE MANN. Dave is an Author and gifted communicator with a passion for the Gospel. This passion started when he came to faith at age 11. After Secondary School he went straight to Bible College, followed by 7 years in outreach ministry in New Zealand, then nearly 9 as a pastor in Singapore, before returning to New Zealand at the end of 2011. Dave is a visionary and fearless about pioneering initiatives aimed at helping the Church in New Zealand in the area of its mission. Author of various books and Tracts including “Because we care”, “That Leaders might last”, “The Elephant in the Room” and available free on this site: “The what and how of Youth and Young Adult ministry”.
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