Flying the flags of discontent – MOBILISE!





On 1 September, the Flag Consideration Panel, based in Wellington, whittled down ten thousand submissions for a new flag – to just four. Sadly, my personal favourite, ‘Lazer Kiwi’, was not amongst them;


Lazer Kiwi


On a more serious note; Key’s $26 million vanity-project – a new flag based on his own, personal, fern-fetish – has taken a step closer.

TDB Recommends

This  distraction from this country’s real problems (housing, child poverty, tanking economy, unemployment, etc) began as a joke that most dismissed with an eye-roll or shrug at best – and outright scorn when people realised they were paying for this exercise through their taxes.

It has been said that Key wants a new flag to be  his “legacy”.

It is a crying shame that he could not set his sights higher. Like eliminating child poverty.

That would have been an achievement. Key would have joined the ranks of honoured former prime ministers; Michael Savage, for introducing State housing and progressive social welfare policies; Norman Kirk, for saying ‘No!’ to atomic bomb testing in the South Pacific; and David Lange, for making New Zealand nuclear-free.

Instead, Key’s ‘ambition’ for this country focuses on a small  rectangle of brightly coloured cloth that we can wave in the wind.

As I wrote on 20 July, I will be participating in the upcoming two referenda on this issue. But not in the way our esteemed Dear Leader would like it.

I offer the following strategy for those voters who are opposed to this referendum;


The referendum will be carried out in two parts. The first part will be a referendum held in November-December this year to determine which alternative people might prefer;


flag referendum stage one


This is the ballot paper to spoil by writing over it your opposition to this referendum. In a written piece entitled “Winston Flags Referendum For Protest“, fellow blogger Curwen Rolinson suggests writing “I support the current flag” on your ballot paper. Or you can create your own appropriate message.


The second part of the referendum will be held in March next year. This will be the run-off between our  current ‘Stars’n’Jack‘, and an alternative selected from Step 1.


flag referendum stage two


This step must not be spoiled. A clear message can still be sent to our esteemed Dear Leader by voting for the status quo, to keep the current flag.

If the alternative is defeated, and the incumbent flag is maintained as the preferred choice, John Key will have been shown to have engaged in a vanity project, and wasting $26 million dollars of taxpayers money in the process.

By this simple strategy, we, the people,  can show the same scorn to Key’s  pet-project as he did to the asset sales referendum in 2013.

Step 1: Spoil


flag-referendum-Ballot One


Step2: Foil


flag-referendum-Ballot Two


Remember the tactic;

Step 1: Spoil

Step 2: Foil

Fly your own flag of discontent.

Share the message. Spread the words: Spoil and foil.

It is in our power to stop one man’s vanity-project and his so-called “legacy”.




Previous related blogposts

The Flag Referendum – A strategy for Calm Resistance








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  1. I just hope that the postal votes showing preverence for keeping the original flag dosnt get interfered with in the mail. This pm cant be trusted when he wants something.
    Shame on All blacks who want the rugby symbol for a National flag.Key is relying on people who love rugby to vote for the fern ,an innocuous
    “False Flag” who the majority dosnt want .
    I know people who don’t want the flag of Keys choice ,the very reason being its Keys choice, everything Key does is suspect.

  2. Apparently Nikki Kaye likes the blue/black fern one. Not surprising as it comes across as a National Party logo.

    I think we should have a new flag sans Union Jack. But none of this shite.

    (My favourite of the 40 is the black/white/green swirly koru/wave with the Southern Cross.)

  3. Yep, that’s what we two old codgers in this household will be doing. Write a personal message on the first referendum. Then choose the present ‘stars and jack’ flag for the second round. And most people I have spoken to will be doing the same.

    Although there seems to be a groundswell against changing the flag, as well as the four hideous options, I have a sinking feeling regardless if the majority vote for the present flag, FJK has already made up his mind, his choice will be it! That’s what despots do!

  4. Gee, aren’t you so lucky to live in a country where you can mock and deride the democratic process. Whether you are in agreement with this flag process or not, it’s called Democracy.

    • The right to protest and disagree with our leaders is a core function of democracy.

      You seem to be insinuating we shouldn’t do that…. which is more like a dictatorship.

      • No absolutely not. You can do what you like, but don’t then whinge and bleat if you the majority vote is against you. So many on this site seem to see the world in terms of conspiracies. That’s why I love reading the articles and comments here. Provides a great deal of amusement.

        A little learning and the Web are a dangerous thing. But guess provides excellent amusement.

    • @ Peter…doesnt sound like you are a New Zealander….didn’t you claim to be Tangata Whenua?…doubt it!….Maori have very robust debates on the marae and it is part of the British tradition to debate don’t you know?

      …now China is a different story

    • @ Peter. ( Why have all these pro neoliberal trolls have such half Spanish White names ?? )
      What you just coughed up wasn’t a hair ball, perhaps from licking your own … ego. No, it was yet another dreaded logical fallacy. Anyone criticising the shambolic circus that greedy scumbags like jonky have reduced our democracy to must be anti-democratic. AKA to be as free to be enslaved as you like.

      ( Peter … ?? Good grief. How about something with a little zing to it? Like Ramon or Carlos ? )

      Jonky’s using a flag change to leverage us away from the Crown. That’s all. It’ll be like swapping a Range Rover for a Toyota Landcruiser . The Toyota has everything except Class darling. The human connection, for all our warts and foibles.
      An Arizona American ( Who else ) bought and imported London Bridge. Why? Perhaps he was desperately trying to be classy? Forget about it.
      Jonky-stien ? What’s that little man-thing up to ? Doing the bidding of others or course, most of us know that. But for why and for whom?
      What do we have that presumably very rich others would want? Hmm, let me see now?
      Our gumboots ! They want gumboots! Or perhaps it’s our huge, vast, amazing, wonderful, beautiful, sparkling, world leading, cafe ridden, uber, super city ? Or turnips ? That could be it. Wrested out of the gummy bite of some mud plastered cow tits deep in icy water while trying to fend off those fearsome winter Sou Westerlies down this way with a scant few bristles and some raw sofa material i.e. leather skin. That’s it ! They want a Kiwi, cow-bit, turnip to display on their mantle piece beside the faberge egg in their tacky mansion in upstate NYC near the golf club down by the yacht club. The “ Be a dear and pass another Ferrari Dahling , the tank on this one’s empty. “ brigade .
      The same fuckers who jammed up Las Vegas’s airport with gulf streams just to watch two middle weight boxers punch each other. They should have paid SERCO to watch our damaged Maori in Mount Eden. And tell me ? Is, in my innocent statement, there not an element of truth and irony?
      Or, or perhaps it’s our entire country ? Do the Gulf Streamers want our country for their own. The last unsullied jewel in a tarnishing crown ? Lets face it. The worlds fucked . Global warming closely followed by global freezing. Hoards of climate refugees will be fleeing along with war refugees and political refugees. The planets water’s putrefying, our farmers are being eliminated by the Banks and Monsanto has life itself on file in a laboratory.
      @ Peter. You’re a good fellow are you not. Using our democracy to cement in our hearts and minds the traitorous intentions you secretly hold on to. You are precisely what the problem is. A liar wrapped up in a truism. And no doubt for a dollar . What a Peter you are?

      Good work as usual @ Frank.

    • No, it isn’t. It is a partial representation of democracy. we only get to choose who we want to govern the country on our behalf.
      True democracy would see the sheeple’s input being sought after on every major issue, and abided by. Without all the MSM propaganda. True democracy is the average politician’s nightmare, and they are dead against it.

    • You must be joking Peter,in a democracy people count,in NZ we are ignored by Key he is a despot, maybe you support him.
      The fact that we can deride Key is of no concern of Keys he is oblivious ,we people are just inconsequential tax paying nobodies,He will do what he likes and what he likes is the money from the sale of NZ.

  5. I was interested in a blog that linked the fact the three of the designs have the silver which connects to the All Blacks which connects to their corporate sponsor AIG. It seems that all roads for this government always lead to corporate power and profit.

    • And the rowing boat from the last election, with pirated Eminem’s “Lose yourself” humming away in the background….

  6. Dont’ spoil the first referendum vote–Vote for the flag JK doesn’t want–the Koru. All the right will vote as he wants. A massive left vote will skew it away from his favourite, and he won’t like that!

    Give him what his heart least desires, and he’ll have no traction.

    Of course, the current flag will trounce it in the 2nd ref.

  7. We need to make sure this is not seen as a left wing, anti-Key movement. Plenty of people across the spectrum don’t want a new flag – let’s not turn them off.

  8. “a new flag based on his own, personal, fern-fetish ”

    Ah – just twigged, I’m a bit slow. A fern looks like a ponytail?

  9. When I read the words “fern fetish” I was immediately struck with the fact that the silver fern strikes more than a passing resemblance to… A pony tail?

  10. Damn. To slow. I await with baited breath the moment when all our scheming comes to nought as key will do what he wants and ignore democratic process. Could be the proverbial straw… Strange that it could be something as innocuous as the flag when NZ’ers are almost drowning in the corruption this government has wrought

  11. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that the fabulous JK already has a pair of hand-made satin pyjamas styled after his personal choice for our new flag.

    He’d love mincing around the pool on a Sunday morning in those.

    He won’t mind the bit red colour being included because it will remind him of his favourite political party back home in the US.

  12. Frank, an excellent sum up of an effective way of letting our democratic rights speak!

    I’ve planned on that particular action right from the start.

    John Key wants a legacy (perhaps he can do a deal with Subaru?) and he will certainly get one. Just not the one he wants.

    Any flag selected from the blacklist of four, that makes it through to be our national flag will automatically inherit all the negative effects of this National Government. This is because it is this National Government that is making the change.

    This new flag will symbolise

    Child poverty
    The inflated rich/poor gap
    A melted down health service
    Illegal espionage and surveillance of its law abiding citizens
    The use of state espionage for political gain
    Refusing to listen to its citizen’s requests via referenda
    Condoning murder in state/private prisons
    Not meeting UN standards with its state/private prisons
    Not meeting UN standards/requests to accept a more realistic number of refugees
    Dismantling an education system
    Preventing its citizens from affording housing
    Condoning the murder of children by dangerous housing
    Endangering its citizens in an illegal overseas war
    Murdering its citizens through totally inadequate work protection legislation
    Minimising sexual harrassment and failing to act in the interest of women
    Persecuting and allowing/instigating the dismissal of opposition media/journalists
    Murdering its mentally disabled citizens by service cut backs
    Murdering its citizens by failing to provide cheap electricity
    Failing to control the banking cabal
    Deliberate destruction of independent state media
    Its total failure to honour its treaty obligations to the Tangata Whenua (ask anyone with brown skin – they’ll tell you what it’s like)
    Failing to do what a government is supposed to do – act on behalf of its people

    And though this list be long, it is in no way complete and final.

    All this will be appended to the new national flag (yes even the only flag with three colours and no black that Dear Leader wants us to vote for). The new flag will be eternally connected to this particular National Government.

    None of the above will stick to the good ol’ Stars & Jack, our present flag, because it has had a long and distinguished life and has represented too many good deeds to be tarnished by any finite government – no matter how manipulative and fascist they might be.

    Finally, just in case Dear Leader does get his wish (as he always “seems to”), I shall purchase as many stars & jacks as I can and resolutely use it whenever I can. The new flag can be ceremoniously burned at the same time…

  13. “The New Zealand Flag Referendums Act 2015 does say the number of informal votes will be reported, but they will have no bearing on the actual result of the preferential vote.”

    Vote for the ugliest one and ensure your vote is counted so that the current flag has no contender. Vote Koru..

    • I suspect Key would take pride in whatever alternative flag design was ultimately chosen. Supporting the “ugliest one” sounds fine in theory, but who is to say one is uglier than the other. (Ok, I admit it, that’s from the bloke who likes the Lazer Kiwi option…)

      • I will obey the hypnoflag…
        I will obey the hypnoflag…
        I will obey the hypnoflag…
        I will obey the hypnoflag…
        I will obey the hypnoflag…
        I will obey the hypnoflag…
        I will obey the hypnoflag…
        I will obey the hypnoflag…
        I will obey the hypnoflag…
        I will obey the hypnoflag…
        I will obey the hypnoflag…
        I will obey the hypnoflag…
        I will obey the hypnoflag…
        I will obey the hypnoflag…
        I will obey the hypnoflag…
        I will obey the hypnoflag…
        I will obey the hypnoflag…
        I will obey the hypnoflag…
        I will obey the hypnoflag…
        I will obey the hypnoflag…

  14. Key’s fern fetish has some logic as to why he is gravitated towards it.

    As a fern has a long curl it reminds Key of a his fetish with long curling ponytail doesnt’ it the sicko?

  15. National have clearly dined out on their own bullshit, that we all love John Key and this flag referendum will be lapped up by us fools.

    Or the little matter of how we came to arrive at John Keys personal choices for a flag that we can “vote” on. Whoopdy do!

    It certainly doesn’t help that that National have never ever abided by a single referendum and one can’t help but feel that they would not honour this one honestly anyway.

    And its just that this process and the man behind it really can’t be trusted on any level, so National it’s time to get a reality check!

  16. What really annoys me about this ridiculous flag debacle, is why don’t they have our current flag as an option on the first ballot????

    I like our current flag and do not want a new one, why can’t those who feel the same have the opportunity to state that straight off – then if the majority DO want it changed – then look at corporate logos as alternatives, it’s a waste of resources and time.

  17. Our current flag has a name(s): New Zealand Ensign,1902 NZ Flag, or the National New Zealand flag. Not ‘stars and jack’.

  18. Far too many of you posting on TDB seem to think you get to choose one of the four flags.

    You don’t.

    You have to put ALL four in order.

    Your votes on choice two three and four will be added to the total for those flags. This means if one of the three you put lower down the list wins, your vote will have enabled that.

    That is not a choice.

    And it renders completely null and void any attempt to try and skew the vote by choosing the horriblest flag first.

    That is why the spoiled paper is the ONLY way to get your message through if indeed you are against changing the current flag.

    Do not be misled by the “choose” the flag proponents.

    There is no choice and your voice will be lost…

        • GM

          wsdfsdf is unhelpful, but not incorrect with his; “not correct”. It might be better to say that the ranked votes count as:

          1/ +1 (definitely counted, unless ballot spoiled)
          2/ 0 (counted if your first option is the first to be eliminated)
          3/ -1 (probably not counted; unless your first two votes are first eliminated, and neither remaining option has 50% yet)
          4/ Will not be counted.

          So if I was to vote:

          1/ Hypnoflag
          2/ Immigration Fern
          3/ Bruised Fern
          4/ Tricolour Fern

          There would be no way my ballot could count as a vote for the plastic plate flag. I actually do like Fyfe’s Koru (though would have preferred either; Manawa, or the Black Jack as options), and loathe the 1902 flag (about the only thing you could say for it is that it was better than the 1867 flag). However the flag selection process is so flawed that I might vote for the current flag next year no matter which one gets through this stage.

          But then again, I do hate having the UK flag taking up a quarter of ours. This whole thing made more sense when it looked likely that Scotland would regain its independence, so being prepared for a flag change was prudent. I’m half inclined to vote for whatever makes it through just to get rid of that relic of colonialism.

            • GM

              Yes, the; “order of preference for the 4 votes does have an effect”, however it is not correct to say (as JSB does):

              Your votes on choice two three and four will be added to the total for those flags. This means if one of the three you put lower down the list wins, your vote will have enabled that.

              I read that elections site guideline before commenting above, the process is very similar to the STV elections we have for the DCC (except with less candidates). However, my attempt at analogising the process may have been obscure, and did wander off to different topics.

              TLDR: First place vote will be counted, fourth won’t be. The other two; maybe counted, with the second more likely than third.

        • [Comment disappeared into moderation queue again so I can’t edit. I get that the site is a target for trolls, and that some of my previous comments might have been pushing it. But you used to have a “moderation pending” (or similar) tag that came up but still let us edit the comment.]

          [Pasupial, posts are still queued for “moderation pending”, though occassionally they end up in incorrect folder instead of “Pending”. You should still be able to edit a post, within a set time period, as long as you don’t navigate away from it. – ScarletMod]

          Anyway, another reason I might consider voting for any of the alternatives to our current pathetic rag of a flag, is that we are not going to get the $27 million back so we may as well get something out of it. The issue there is how much it would cost to implement the changeover to the new flag with all the official branding, and the various subsidiary ensigns that would have to be designed.

          • [SM

            Nope, the edit function is still not working for me. I waited a few minutes on the same page, and have just pushed refresh to no result. The allowed five minutes of editing time must have expired by now in any case.

            I don’t have much time to comment nowadays, so usually just up- or down-click comments. When I do comment myself, I paste a Ctrl-C copy onto my comp, and will resubmit if I don’t see the original comment by the time I return to the site (which does lead to a bit of eventual duplication). At least you’ve got rid of that captcha that you had a few months ago, which just never seemed to work.]

  19. Agreed @ J S Bark – Any new flag would only stand to represent the National parties failure to govern for the betterment of ALL New Zealanders. They have let this country down.

  20. We don’t want Keys bloody flags but we are forced to prove it by paying millions to say no,its a con.getting angry now.

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