Awkward... Paddon's Aussie flag mix-up in WRC
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Paddon supporting flag change after Kiwi flag mistaken for Australian flag at WRC Sweden
Some of us, myself included, have avoided this wretched flag debate like the plague — while our mothers, fathers, friends, and whanau have waged war with each other across dining tables and Facebook threads across New Zealand.
Most New Zealand sports stars, from what I’ve witnessed, have avoided it as well. But this morning, Kiwi World Rally driver Hayden Paddon waded into the fracas after having organizers and local sign writers mistake the Australian and New Zealand national flags during WRC Sweden — resulting in his i20 and local displays sporting the meat pie, Kangaroo, Fosters for everyone, Aussie flag. Stone the flaming crows.
“I'm all for a New Zealand flag change. On our adventures we are often mistaken for our west island cousins, and even just last week there were occurrences where our flags got mixed up. A new flag would give our country a clear identity worldwide which everyone would reap awards from for generations to come. Of course there are always 2 sides to arguments and I'm no politician,” says Paddon.
Hayden’s recently blossomed into quite a vocal sportsman, underlined when the driver resisted becoming part of a boycott at last weekend’s rally.
That said, his flag opinion has — naturally — left a few people cold. “Love your work, and I'm one of your biggest fans but NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO flag change,” reads one complainant, while another posts; “If you're changing the flag only because we get confused from time to time with another country then that's quite sad.”
While I continue to bury my flag opinion next to the other real-world views concealed beneath layer upon layer of bland inoffensive self-deprecation where they will never be found, I applaud the Hyundai Motorsport star for braving the doubters — and even replying to a few of them.