New Zealand needs to have a New Zealand Head of State. It also needs a flag that better represents contemporary New Zealand and which will carry on representing New Zealand for at least the next 100 years.
It is not as important which of these changes happens first but it is a simple fact that only a New Zealander as Head of State will make us constitutionally independent. Removing the British flag from ours will not remove the need to change the way we appoint our Head of State.
New Zealand Republic's priority is, and always will be, achieving an independent and democratically selected Head of State that serves the interests of all New Zealanders. Once that important change is in place then the issues associated with it can be updated and resolved as and when it is necessary to do so.
We are proposing a Head of State Commission be established to guide the process of change. A fair and independent body that will work outside of party politics to make recommendations on how best to enact the necessary legislative changes and how to deal with all the smaller incidental issues like whose head appears on our coins and whether Queen's or King's Service medals are still awarded.
It is up to New Zealanders to decide whether New Zealand gets a new flag next year. If it happens then that is one less thing to change once we have a Kiwi Head of State. If the current flag remains in place then the flag design will simply be revisited after we have achieved a New Zealand republic.
Many have argued that we should only change the flag as a symbol of New Zealand once there is a substantial change in our national identity. Having our own Head of State won't radically alter New Zealand society but constitutionally it will represent the final step to full constitutional indendence. At that point in time it will make sense to have a flag that reflects our new found sense of pride and nationhood.