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'Was there a meeting? Whatever': Anti-flag change National MPs not invited to secret meeting

A leaked email reveals Conservation Minister Maggie Barry rallied National MPs keen to see the flag change to a special meeting in the famous Backbencher Pub across the road from Parliament this morning.

Judith Collins wasn’t invited to Maggie Barry’s strategy meeting for MPs who support the change. Source: 1 NEWS

Ms Barry held a meeting in the Backbencher Pub for National MPs offering information on why the flag should change – just 10 MPs or so of 59 attended. Source: 1 NEWS

Ms Barry emailed MPs after caucus yesterday, encouraging them to come to the breakfast meeting to hear from flag campaign spokesman Lewis Holden and discuss strategy on how to engage with Kiwis on the flag change.

"Following our discussion today at Caucus, if you support the flag change and would like to hear more about the campaign I’m inviting you to join me for a breakfast meeting tomorrow morning," Ms Barry wrote.  

"I've asked organiser Lewis Holden to come and outline some of the flag change campaign initiatives, and we can take the opportunity to share our own proven and effective ways to engage people in an informed debate."

The venue was the Backbencher Pub in Molesworth Street from 7.30am to 8.30am today and Ms Barry concluded, "Please advise me as soon as possible if you are able to attend. Warm regards."

Ms Barry confirmed that 10 of the 59 National MPs attended the meeting this morning.

However, she denied the meeting was a sign that National was panicked by recent poll ratings showing a majority of Kiwis want to keep the old flag.

National is not requiring its MPs to vote along party lines for the referendum next month, and a number of National MPs don’t support a change.