Why I’m not voting in this flag-blinded vanity project and how to spoil your vote


Most places around the world, a flag unites – In NZ, Key is so divisive, it has managed to divide us.

I’m not voting in this first round waste of time vanity project for the Prime Minister.

$26million is an obscene price to pay when we have 305 000 kids in poverty and children being sexually and physically abused in State Care. When state tenants are freezing to death in rotting state homes, when over 500 children are homeless in Auckland, when beneficiaries can’t make ends meet and when students are studying on the breadline – participating in a project that is designed to obscure those very issues is not only ethically reprehensible, it’s doing exactly what the National Party wants you to do.

By voting in the first round of the Flag referendum you are acquiescing not only to this vanity project, you are empowering it to obscure the real issues this country faces.

If you are going to vote however – here is how to keep our flag with an informal vote…

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com



  1. Somehow I believe Key means to win flag vote,he can bring a law under urgency to say the flag he chose is best for the country ,or he can fraudulently rig the vote.
    At the tppa march we were told by organisers to send vote papers by tracked mail, we will then know if our vote arrived,dosnt mean it cant be lost inside the place of vote counting.
    Its for sure Key intends to win by any means.

  2. re flags ..I like the way flags aren’t so obtrusive in NZ as they are in the US and Israel where flags are everywhere, supporting their militarism and aggressiveness

    • Agreed, I have always found over the top nationalism and flag cults kind of creepy

      America is the perfect example of that

    • Which makes Key’s “project” even more pointless. Let’s face it, we barely, if ever, see our flag…

      Unless there’s a big game on – aka RUGBY. Unlike other countries where you can’t walk 5 feet without being slapped in the face with a flag….. Thankfully most of us don’t have flag poles on our front lawn, and we don’t fly the flag via our ute… Weirdo hyper-patriotism is not the NZ way.

      In saying this, I don’t trust Key to not fix this – one iota.

  3. they all look like crap to me ( John key’s wanker project) …particularly corporate designed Red Peak.


    1.)…a Red Peak Xero designer team member has been offered a free trip to Israel


    “I was recently invited to travel to Israel as part of a delegation organised by Square Peg Capital and the Australian Israel Chamber of Commerce”.

    2.) …Red Peak which certain Greens support eg Green Party leader James Shaw in support of John Key getting it on the first referendum




    3.) … the Green Party supported Red Peak ensuring that the existing NZ flag did NOT get on to the first referendum .


    ( snubbing Labour and NZF in favour of John Key and getting him out of a hole, which would have saved New Zealander tax payers the cost of a second referendum)

    As well as all this John Key’s highly paid selectively picked flag committee suppressed the submissions of thousands of New Zealanders for their existing flag.( corruption?)


    “…Nearly a third of submissions in early considerations were left out of reports.

    Conclusion: If there is a change of flag especially to Xero designed corporate Red Peak logos….the Greens will be wearing it along with mate John Key nactional


    “What’s cute, cuddly, vegetarian and suddenly popular with Prime Minister John Key?

    Green Party MP Gareth Hughes just overtook a pair of pandas to become this week’s most beloved political figure.

    With a deft manouevre, Hughes has delivered Red Peak to the voting public.”

    The Greens have bought into a government of spin


  4. Exactly ! donkey jonkey could care less about bringing this country together and feeling united in what is right and good about our precious home here.

    His tactics stink and his priorities are in the toilet as he smiles that false smile. A phony; rude and insulting weak little man who has many fooled.
    A major corporate kiss up. No wonder so many walked out of parliament.

    Check out this very recent music video putting our idiot of a PM in his place – it put a smile on our faces.


  5. Or how about we go our office, the one jonky squats in, and shove the voting papers down his throat then we go through his pockets and get our money back ?

    Oh, and you want a little bit of sick coming up ? Go here . NZ Herald of course.

    ( Sorry to do this to you guys . )

    ” Leaders overheard praising New Zealand’s ‘wonderful’ PM ”


    He certainly leaves me full of wonder, I’ll give them that.

    • @ Countryboy –

      Yes, I saw and read the “Mr wonderful FJK” praise by Obama and Turnbull. Didn’t get far, because at first I thought I’d cry, but I didn’t. Then I thought I’d laugh. But I didn’t. Then I … had to make an urgent dash to the toilet!!!

  6. Herald today has what I imagine is an intentionally misleading article / photo with Key holding the Australian flag instead of our own in what is probably an attempt to highlight the ‘confusion’ between the two and another article profiles supporters of all alternatives with accompanying photos of alternative flags but when it comes to a supporter of keeping the existing flag of course no similar photo . . media and political manipulation in apparent overdrive. The notion that if we change or flag we will be instantly recognisable is also ridiculous, flags of Angola and Mozambique for instance are quite different but how many people recognise them let alone tell them apart?

  7. Yep, ditto here in this household as well for the first round.

    If there’s a box, we will be placing a cross or a zero against the five options and writing “keep the present flag.” A simple but concise message, not hard to comprehend.

    Will vote for present NZ flag in second referendum.

    • I would like New Zealand to have a new flag, but the way the panel was selected doomed the whole thing.

      Here’s a list that explains how messed up the whole process was:
      – No NZ artists/graphic designers
      – No experts that understood Maori culture
      – No community leaders or influential people
      – No international experts in art/graphic design
      – No input from Maori tribes
      – No input from community groups i.e. like the RSA
      And so on…

      I doubt the flag will change, as the flags picked aren’t popular enough, and that tends to happen when you put a few ‘old white guys’ in charge of the selection process and exclude everyone else.

  8. I look at it from another view.
    I believe the best thing for anyone who is angry with this referendum (and believe it, I am f….ng angry about it) is to refuse to take part at all. That means not voting – not even with a deliberate informal vote. My reasoning is that the best way to give John Key the message that his referendum is an expensive personal ego trip the country doesn’t need and doesn’t want – is to make it the lowest turn out possible, and that means ignoring it. If you put in an informal vote, it still sends the message that you were willing to take part, even though you didn’t like it. Informal votes will still be counted and will count as part of the overall turnout. Key will not be able to spin away a very low turnout – it will send a blunt message to him and inflict a blow to his ego, and that is what I want to do.
    Therefore I will be consigning my vote in the first referendum to the recycle bin. As to the second one, I will likely vote to retain the existing flag, although I don’t really care too much either way. In my view the flag has been cheapened by John Key and National’s dirty politics and political posturing; what the flag looks like is not so important, it is what’s behind the flag that counts, and what is behind the flag at the moment is a dirty corrupt lying government who wants to sell us to the overseas corporations for a pocketful of mumbles such are promises (To paraphrase Simon and Garfunkel in the Boxer).
    F… the referendum, f…National and especially f….John Key!

    • The problem with not voting at all is that – much like not voting in general or local body elections – it can be spun as “can’t be arsed” rather that abstaining in protest. So they can then go “well, if you can’t be bothered, it doesn’t matter what you think” – which is why it’s better in all these cases to show your protest through an informal vote. But do know where you’re coming from.

      • I appreciate your reasons, but my argument is that if a large proportion of the electorate “can’t be arsed”, then this will also send a message to John Key that we don’t take him or his referendum seriously. Key will doubtless publicly claim that a low turnout just shows apathy but I think privately he would be concerned that he has lost some of his mojo: He likes to think he can say “jump” and kiwis will ask “how high?” and it would be big blow to his ego if, by ignoring this stupid referendum, kiwis replied “go jump yourself, preferably into the nearest lake”. Here’s hoping.

    • no if you dont vote FJK will claim victory ,send the fucker a message not voteing lets the fucker get away with it


    Strong lead Martyn,

    You have correctly identified that there needs to be a strategic , coordinated attack on the 1st flag referendum vote,(preferably lead by the RSA.) What should we do ?

    eg. 1. Cross out all flags and say get f ..cked ?

    2.Refuse to respond. low turn out ?

    3.Design a well coordinated protest vote for the worst design ,which will have the best chance of losing against the real flag in the second referendum ?

    4.Or Something !

    The RSA have the money and resources to place Weekend newspaper adds directing a coordinated ” counter new flag plan.”

    ie, ” if you want to retain our current flag , cross out all new flags in referendum one, do not rank them, and put it back in the post ” Take that Panda boy !

    With 70 % of kiwis wanting to retain the original flag , its time the RSA got off its backside , harnessed the groundswell of sentiment , and gave real direction to the troops waiting for orders.People are waiting and ready to act .But we must act together.

    Simply not responding won’t help as the numbers won’t be revealed only the relative ranking of popularity .

    If the RSA , (or anyone else ),doesn’t comes up with a better cunning plan ,then NZ ,lets get behind the Bomber Bradbury RV1 Flag Plan, its easy .

    A.Open the envelope

    B. Mark 5 crosses on all flags and all boxes.

    c. Add a hand written expletive of your choice.(Optional )

    d.Reseal envelope and place in post box.

    Job done .

    • I quite like Annette King’s suggestion. She feels we need to cast a vote but make it informal by giving them all the same number – eg. 5,5,5,5,5 or any other number from 1 to 5 – so long as they’re all the same.

      • I went out and bought five very large New Zealand flags today from the $2 shop…except they were $5 each ( good value!)

        …intend getting more for Xmas presents as they were so enthusiastically received…one wants to hang it in his lounge

        I have given them to friends and family to wave from poles over their front fences or hang from trees or super glue to their fences …just to remind everyone that this is New Zealand! …this is a flag worth keeping…this is a flag which is a part of our history

        (not jonkey land)

      • I went out and bought five very large New Zealand flags today from the $2 shop…except they were $5 each ( good value!)

        …intend getting more for Xmas presents as they were so enthusiastically received…one wants to hang it in his lounge

        I have given them to friends and family to wave from poles over their front fences or hang from trees or super glue to their fences …just to remind everyone that this is New Zealand! …this is a flag worth keeping…this is a flag which is a part of our history

        ..this is New Zealand …our ancestors fought under this flag…our heroes like Hilary had this flag on top of mountains

        (not jonkey land)

        • Yep. Good one Chooky 🙂

          Hubby and I have bought and put the present and only NZ flag on our backpacks, as well as on our car bumpers.

          I also see a few stars and jacks flying in gardens now. The message is out there 🙂

  10. For all the talk of “talking about our country – who we are as a people” – I’ve just heard people talking about changing the flag like you’d change your wallpaper and repeating all the spin that’s been flowing through the media. Marc Wilson had an article in the Listener about the psychology of flags and he sited research that showed that kiwis are more egalitarian when they’ve been shown the NZ flag – unlike aussie or american who get more nationalistic. If this is the case maybe there is more to the changing the flag than just John Key’s vanity.

    • jonkey and friends want to break our spine…our egalitarian ethics….our sense of history….Treaty of Waitangi…sense of who we are as New Zealanders

      …and impose a new world order on us….whereby we are just another place for multinationals to plunder and play and spy…and bring in their friends ….and treat New Zealanders as serfs in our own country

      …what gets me is that the Greens have supported jonkey!

      …yes flags are more than bits of cloth…they represent who we are

      ….we change them at our peril

      • on the recent anti TPPA demonstrations it was interesting to see how many Maori and Pakeha were waving our existing flag….and proud of it ( this how I found out where you could buy it)

        ..our existing flag does after all represent the Treaty of Waitangi and NZ sovereignty and history…as opposed the recent overseas corporate control agenda of New Zealand that John Key would like

        ….eg USA corporates like Goldman Sachs and Hollywood and ….Monsanto …and Palantir …and Xero….and

  11. Your intro says it all: A flag is supposed to unite people. Hell it works a treat in the United States. Republicans and Democrats can be poisoning each other but as soon as someone drags out the old Stars and Stripes, almost magically they stop fighting and start singing the praises of America, hand over heart, hand in hand.
    Does his happen in New Zealand much, or at all?
    Makes you think, doesn’t it?

  12. It just seems so ironic to vote in a referendum sponsored by the very party who brought us public referendums but who has point-blank ignored and thumbed their noses at every single one since!

    And to participate in a project that is championed by THE King Rat behind the insidious disease that is the National Partys Dirty Tricks machine, in this already rigged process, is tantamount to encouraging the behaviour and likes of John Key even more.

    As others have said it wouldn’t surprise me if the flag wasn’t already selected!

  13. I have nothing much against changing the flag, although I don’t see much merit in any of the five we are presented with. The problem, as you say Martyn, is that this initiative has been identified, rightly or wrongly, as a vanity project for John Key.
    The opportunity to enunciate the growing dissatisfaction with his Hooray Harry leadership is to too tempting to miss.
    Maybe the whole subject will be reconsidered some other time, maybe.

    On the subject of John Key’s vanity, it was intriguing to note what appeared to be a Love-John fest between Obama and Turnbull.

    Actually, that wasn’t exactly what was happening.

    Well-briefed, Obama made a little joke about whether or not Australia and New Zealand were still on talking terms after they royally shafted us over the deportation of Aussie-“Kiwis” over loud objections on this side of the Tasman.

    A good soldier, that John Key. Only a couple of weeks earlier the American negotiators, inter alia, had taken their turn in crushing and humiliating our free-trade hopes at the TTP talks.

    We know that the Jolly John Key can be relied on not to spoil dinner by criticising his host, either publicly or privately. If it hadn’t been for that impertinent Davis the whole thing might have been forgotten!

    As for the TPPA, a couple of days ago Key was snappishly telling off the Vietnamese for complaining that the TPPA would hurt them. “We didn’t get what we wanted either”, I understand him to have said, “suck it up”.

    A good man; a reliable foot-soldier, sure never to cause any trouble, no matter what happens.

    A good golf partner, too, it appears. Not that good, maybe. Both Obama and Key holiday regularly on Maui, yet John’s Golfing Red-phone rang once. And never rang again.

    But one little tug on his pony-tail and he’s yours for life.

  14. The following letter to the Editor was published in most NZ papers except the Herald about twelve months ago.

    “….All this mischief afoot concerning our Flag centres around a key problem which is the Prime Minister. a dealer, who when on Wall St traded in dollars amongst wolfish companies leading us inexorably toward the GFC.
    So September20th, 2014 saw in Epsom, Ohariu and nearly in Esat Coast Bays, more dealing in ad nauseum of that sacred “intangible”, the Vote squandered as currency and we said very little.
    Our forbears worked,served and fought, shed their tears, their sweat, their blood and even their lives to preserve and cherish that icon of true democracy, all in service under the Flag of New Zealand.
    And forget not our boys and girls who returned home, their caskets cloaked by that “piece of cloth”.
    Leave it all alone Mr Prime Minister and let the two or three generations hence decide! After all they WILL in frustration change it, given the legacy of pollution and extinction they will inherit.
    Let the debate die a natural death. The Leader of our country may as well fire a shotgun into the Flag on the grounds od Parliament.

  15. I have decided to vote, because I don’t believe not voting will make a blind bit of difference. If only 50% of eligible voters do vote the government will still use the winning flag and go ahead.
    So although I don’t like any I will have my limited say this time around… and still vote in the final referendum to keep our current flag.

  16. Will do,

    A.Open the envelope

    B. Mark 5 crosses on all flags and all boxes.
    c. Add a hand written expletive of your choice.(our current historical flag-)

    d.Reseal envelope and place in post box. Job done .

  17. At the same time as I post my informal voting paper I will be sending John Key an invoice for the cost of the referendum. No postage is necessary… if I were KingKey the reference to Odious Debt would give me nightmares… Quite aside from all of the other millions that have been squandered by his regime just the flag referendum alone represents half of his wealth…
    If I had your e.mail address, Bomber, I would send you a copy of it. There are several copies floating around on the “John Key has Let Down New Zealand” and the “I’ve Sacked the Nats” Facebook pages.
    The definition of Odious Debt… In international law, odious debt, also known as illegitimate debt, is a legal theory that holds that the national debt incurred by a regime for purposes that do not serve the best interests of the nation, should not be enforceable. Such debts are, thus, considered by this doctrine to be personal debts of the regime that incurred them and not debts of the state. In some respects, the concept is analogous to the invalidity of contracts signed under coercion.

  18. We can all look at the new NZ flag in the future and acknowledge it is a legacy to the most popular Prime Minister ever in New Zealand’s history.

  19. While I agree with a lot of the sentiment expressed here, my decision is different. I will be voting in the referendum. Whatever we feel about Key’s pet project, we cannot stop the referendum process. I would love NZ to be free of the colonial ties to England, the monarchy and all it represents and as a consequence is depicted in our current flag. However much we despise the process and the man who has foist it on us, it is an opportunity to start a change that may just be the beginning of our true independence.

    I will be voting for First to the Light, because it it well designed, it’s simple, it tells a story that many people have enjoyed contributing to. You can read my rationale more fully on my blog: http://abrainydeal.me/2015/10/18/flags-emblems-and-revolutions/

  20. Then if the final vote count is honest and upfront as it should be, if the flag referendum doesn’t go FJK’s way and the present flag is retained, watch him blame those of us who cast informal votes for wasting money! It will be all our fault. And his loyal band of dribbling, unquestioning muppet supporters will believe him!

    Wish I could feel more confident about the final outcome of this referendum though. But I don’t, because FJK is a slippery, manipulative operator, who will if possible make sure the result is rigged to suit himself!

  21. Martyn, I share your disgust with the imposition of this gesture of flag-changing and the cost that’s involved. The closest explanation I’ve picked up as to why the PM is so determined that this is ‘necessary’ is that it constitutes a ‘branding’ image for NZ goods into the ‘global marketplace’. Martyn I have a request. I’ve been noticing the repetition of the use of ‘children’, as an expression of compassion i.e. vulnerable children, poor children, homeless children. In my experience children are generally part of some kind of family. When a child is vulnerable, poor and homeless that means the whole family is in that state. Would you be willing to restore children into families in the way you describe these issues? i.e. vulnerable families unable to pay rents of $400 on the minimum wage that hasn’t been a living wage since 1991. Thank you for your consideration of this request 🙂

  22. Random thought!

    I don’t want to be over-dramatic, but maybe people that have relatives who fought and/or died under our flag could photocopy a pic of their person and attach it to their voting paper?

  23. Can’t we just do away with the flag altogether and have some kind of digital cookie or RFID? Facebook page we can “like” as a nation?

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