Assessing the flag referendum

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union_jack

It’s not easy to interpret the results of the first round of the flag referendum.

For example, 10% voted informal, but they could have done so for several reasons. Perhaps none of the five flag options available took their fancy? Or perhaps they were strong supporters of the present NZ flag and didn’t brook any alternative? Or perhaps they were against the referendum itself because they saw it as a John Key “vanity project” or a “distraction”? Or perhaps they didn’t like the amount of money spent on it? Or perhaps they thought there are more important issues?

Yet 43.5% of registered voters ticked one of the five flag options, compared with 44.5 ticking one of the two options in the 2013 asset sales referendum. These days that level of engagement is quite good for a postal ballot.

The turnout might have been even higher if the committee choosing the flag designs had done a better job. Of the original four designs chosen for the ballot only the two Kyle Lockwood fern/Southern Cross designs had any genuine popularity. Few voters plumped for the two also-rans, the black and white fern design (5.6%) or the black and white koru (3.85%). I have excluded informal votes when calculating the percentages for these two flags.

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The Red Peak design (added as a result of public pressure) had considerably more support than either of the two also-rans, but it was well behind the two Kyle Lockwood designs. It’s puzzling that the flag committee didn’t include what were clearly more popular designs – such as the Otis Frizzell koru or the modified Hundertwasser flag, both of which were among the 40 on the long-list. The committee also failed to draw on the enough flag design expertise to develop and refine the options.

That being said, we now have a clear choice between a reasonably presentable Kyle Lockwood design and an out-of-date colonial flag, with its Union Jack in the corner and looking too much like Australia’s.

I respect those who have a sentimental attachment to the present flag and wish to keep it. But I believe that flag is hardly relevant for a modern, independent, multi-cultural Pacific nation. We are no longer an adjunct of Britain. Nor are we a smaller version of Australia – with one star less on our flag.

I know the flag issue has been a lightening rod for dissatisfaction with John Key, who has overly imprinted himself on the project. But this is not his issue. Long before John Key became Prime Minister people like myself were arguing for a flag change and such a referendum. The late Lloyd Morrison with his nzflag.com campaign laid much of the groundwork. I first saw the flag Kyle Lockwood flag (designed in 2000) on the nzflag.com site. John Key didn’t build the flag change bandwagon – he jumped on to it, as politicians are want to do.

For those who see the flag debate as a “distraction”, it’s worthwhile trying to turn it into its opposite. When arguing for a flag without a Union Jack you can educate people about the dark aspects of our colonial past such as how, under that flag, we followed Britain into the disastrous First World War and 50,000 New Zealanders were killed or wounded. Use this to educate people about how wrong it is today for John Key to send New Zealand soldiers back to the Middle East at the bidding of another great power.

By itself, a flag change is hardly the most important issue we face – as people hammer home every day on social media. But every little step we take away from our colonial past helps us deal more confidently as a nation with the big problems like inequality, poverty, war, ecological sustainability and protecting our rights.

61 COMMENTS

  1. I’m one who didn’t vote.

    IMO Flags are naff, for those who like marching in row behind leaders and practicing ethnocentrism and hooting nationalistic claptrap.

    I couldn’t give a toss what it is, as I’d never get to my feet for it.

    I do however have strong objections to wasting 26 million dollars on this pointless exercise while poverty is at record levels in NZ.

  2. What a pathetic attempt to rationalise this capitalist crony charade.
    I won’t be voting for either flag in the second referendum.
    If the ponga wins it merely replaces Britain with a flag that symbolises Key’s servile sucking up to the US. Britain’s influence on NZ is now weak compared with the US and not far behind, China.
    The All Black logo is there with its world beating corporate brand as is the South Sea location.
    What does that make us?
    FJK and his bankster cronies have created a brand for the 51st state of the US.
    The only flag I will recognise will be that we adopt when we break free of imperialist domination, and declare our independence as a socialist republic of Aotearoa.
    Meanwhile I will look to the Red Peak as an aspirational flag for the time when kiwis have the guts to emulate the raw character of our volcanic Isles and set their sights on the stars.

    • i will vote properly in the second to make sure its a flop i just cant see past the fact its a John key diversion it would what flag it was

  3. a change of flag should be debated along with republicanism imo, this was neatly sidestepped in the highly manipulative process chosen complete with All Black captain’s pick

    I never thought I would want the current flag to stay any more than the Māori activists who originally said “the treaty is a fraud” then changed to “honour the treaty” but I am, because Key wants to put our colonial past down the memory hole before Māori have achieved anything like justice as a second wave of immigrant swamping occurs for Māori and Pākehā alike

    flag change should be left to a future more genuinely engaged populace to decide on, kick Key’s arse and vote to keep the current flag!

  4. I was privy to a conversation about the Flag of New Zealand last week.
    The debate was enjoyable and enlightening. The ” key ” frustration expressed by one, was that his son had taken both postal voting forms
    from him and his wife and posted them in the ” return envelopes “.
    But wait there is more. His son was sixteen years old. Now get this one. His son proudly admitted that three of his mates had done the same mischievous thing as a prank, in objection to their parents’ support of the existing Flag. This prank was done two weeks ago.
    I therefore see that eight votes were counted in support of changing the Flag
    by R18s.

  5. I think I’ll leave the change until we become a republic and get someone with a clue to figure out a flag without the baggage. Doesn’t mean endorsing the current one or what it stands for, but throwing it out for that Key-Lockwood monstrosity is a wasted opportunity.

  6. This is the first time I’ve seen some commonsense on this issue from a left wing commentator. Well done Mr Locke.

    • Common sense is not limited to any particular ideology, but the political right certainly have very limited amounts of it, as you have just demonstrated.

  7. Sadly, I will probably vote to keep what we have and hope we get another chance in a decade. I just really do not like the colours of the winning flag.

    I’ve been a big fan of Lockwood’s Red, White and Blue for about 7 years now and it’s pretty disheartening to see it come so close, but fail. I am not surprised though that the basic design scooped 82% of the valid first round votes. It’s been an obvious winner to me since the moment I saw it.

  8. The flag should, indeed must, stay as it is. Anything and everything else is pandering to a jonky quirk with its associate sinister undertones.

    Really? The only thing we should be discussing here is how we’re going to get our $ 26 million back out of the fucker.

  9. A new flag would be fine with me. I just don’t like the options presented very much and this one seems as relevant as a tea towel that many are comparing it with.

  10. Yeah…some good points raised but nah….

    Keep the old flag – because if the issues are as important as you say… work on the issues first and then worry about the cosmetics like a flag change.

    And the issues are coalesced into the dismantling and neutralizing of the neo liberal ideology . In all its tentacles it has managed to wrap themselves around. Which is manifest in the degradation we now see in national and cultural unity.

    A return to a democratic Socialism with attendant Keynesian economics is the building block of a dynamic and prosperous society – one that gives support to and encourages individuals to flourish with TRUE equal opportunity’s.

    As well as fostering economic prosperity for the provincial areas , our young , our elderly , our family’s and our small business community…..of which currently … are surreptitiously fooled into thinking that multi national corporate’s and the objectives of the New Zealand Initiative ( former Business Round Table ) have them in mind also when they back and lobby such globalist’s as Key….

    As for Maori… do you not think their ancestors had their children’s children in mind as they tentatively accepted the massive changes occurring when the British came here?….they were no fools and had a hierarchy system that was military in structure… they knew what power plays were all about…and were politically astute enough to know how to work around these massive new developments…

    In other words… there is no place for bleeding hearts …which can so often translate to condescending patronage with a warrior society.

    A similar thing can be said of the Highland Scots…

    And like Scotland today….the rise of the Scottish National Party has taken some time to develop…and they too, support Social Democracy. Who better to compare ourselves with than they?… those who found themselves on the back door of England and subject to centuries of resistance to their southern neighbors?

    The economy’s of the Scandinavian country’s and the advocacy of such party’s as the Scottish National Party , of Corbyn and of Sanders is the way forward – and changing a flag means nothing if these issues are never addressed.

    It remains a petty distraction- and a source of the very thing Key despises – national unity , pride and prosperity.

    We would do far better to ignore the shenanigans of Key and demand of him the very thing for which he was elected for- that of national unity , prosperity and pride- and the continuation of such to future generations of OUR children’s children.

    And that would do the military rangatira ancestors of today’s Maori people proud – not buggerising round with bullshit like worrying about some politicians flag distraction to avoid having to front up with answers to the hard questions about their deliberate raping economically and socially of our nation.

    Social Democracy and Keynesian economics.

    Keep those two things in mind and you will see a healing of this country once more.

    • ErsIt was a Highland Scot, descended from a line of Chiefs, wearing a skirt like our TOA , returned to be the lines of Sandhurst , the ” Factory “, the School for the Officer Corps of the UK.
      His name is Lt.General Duncan Cameron. History proves that he admitted that at Balaclava, where he valiantly commanded the best of a Highland Division, served with courage and was decorated in the correct way , that he met his match at Rangiriri.
      Lt.General Duncan Cameron with 2,800 soldiers, soldiers of foot, cavalry, and cannon failed to defeat King Tawhaio , his General, Rewi Maniapoto and 400 TOA, (‘warriors,men and women ‘ ) as the Maori soldiers conducted a fighting withdrawal , before taking refuge in the King Country. That was in November 1863. That anniversary should be celebrated like ANZAC day.
      The editor of the NZ Herald will not agree and neither will our ” key back-pedaller “, the Prime Minister.

      • Haha. Glad you spotted it too. It really does look like the NZ cricket teams 20/20 uniform and I think like the one day uniform back about ten years ago

  11. Hey !…and just as a small history lesson…

    My fathers clan name was Gunn… they were originally Norse raiders settled in the Firth of Moray during the 8th and 9th century’s… a small group…they took land and held it by the sword for century’s and were sandwiched between two large powerful clans….. the Kieth’s and the men of Caithness.

    They had the longest standing feud with the Kieth’s that started in the 14th century and ended in 1976 in the USA with a meeting between both clan leaders.

    My mothers people were named Hildrescythe – which in archaic German means ‘battle fought on a hill’…they fought the Norse raiders and were of Angle/Saxon stock…and that was after a Celtic cross was found in a church cemetery in the 19th century dating back to the 8th century bearing that name.

    And the point of all this is the fact that the Scots fighting in Cameron’s army ( which , incidentally ‘Cameron ‘ is a Highland Scots name …) recognized themselves in the Maori…the Plaid , the chieftainships, the warriors, the communal living and protection under the chief… and that this has all happened before century’s ago…

    As with the Highland Scots….did happen to the Maori…As evidenced by the Highland clearances which killed tens of thousands through starvation, military abuses and forced deportations…

    You need to learn and treasure your family’s history and your nations history…and from that you can draw comparisons and predict current policy stripped of its pretensions and deflections…

    If you are worried about ‘colonialism’ , – just recall the suffering of the Highland Scots at the hands of the English with the Highland clearances and just WHY the Scots emigrated…

    The same tactics were employed against Maori tribes that resisted.It happened to BOTH people groups. Taking land by first stealth…then through dubious legal jargon – by force.

    I find it patronizing to view the Maori people as perennial sufferers of colonialism ….where in fact in time , the more communal aspects of Social Democracy – in tandem with Keynesian economics – can restore the vital balance between individualistic and community prosperity.

    And without creating a viscous disruption between the two which was evidenced during the greedy land grab of the Highland Clearances and in this country between certain among the British governance and tribes that didn’t accept the conditions of the Treaty of Waitangi.

    Social Democracy with a Keynesian economic principle is the nearest thing we can have that not only advantages the entrepreneur – but also supplements the community at large – and is the epitome of the ideals of both the Maori and Highland Scot mode of former living.

    It is not the flag that is at fault- it is the policy’s of those and the ideology’s of those who are currently in power that is at fault.

    And those currently in power practice neo liberalism – which – if translated back through the millennia – amount to the same thing – power grabs by the powerful by stealth , deceit, by force and by division.

    • “just recall the suffering of the Highland Scots at the hands of the English with the Highland clearances and just WHY the Scots emigrated”

      Did you forget to mention that their own clan chiefs evicted them from the land?

      • Yes indeed they did – which is a window of insight into human behavior. However the bribes and deceit practiced by their southern neighbors was a classic tactic employed by the Romans centuries before on the Britons to divide and rule.

        You are correct in this.

        And it is also why many Scots were revolted by 19th Victorian England’s fawning patronage of such Scots symbols as the Plaid.

        Many were sold out by greedy avarice from their own chiefs who traditionally were their protectors. The parallels were found also among CEO’S and Union leaders among the public sector in not backing the private sector in a general strike against the neo liberals in the 1980’s.

        Human greed and avarice again. History’s lessons.

    • some of my ancestors were Highland Scots and Northern Irish and English who came to NZ in the 1800s (and a Maori Chief , who signed the Treaty)…they did NOT come here to get away from the English !

      What is more I was told by an Australian Aborigine leader, a Member of the Australian Parliament, that the Aborigine were very admiring and envious of the Maori for their ‘Treaty of Waitangi’ with the British….and wished that they could have done the same. They would have been treated much better and had more rights if they had had such a Treaty.

      This Treaty of Waitangi is a very important founding contract of New Zealand Maori and Pakeha history and is represented by the Union Jack in the flag…just as the Southern Cross was the sky map by which the early Maori navigated and sailed.

      We should keep keep our old flag!

      …no new neolib jonkey mates flag with allegiances to who knows what corporates and countries!

      Many Maori recognise this

      • You are quite correct here as well- by the time the Highland clearances had wreaked its toll…many of the High;and Scots had in fact joined the British Army and fought in Highland Regiments.

        The Clearances occurred sporadically and culminated in the 1700’s… yet the acceptance of the clan systems demise was complete by the 19th century… and employment in the British Empires armed forces was seen as a secure and culturally proud thing to do…much like the Gurkha’s and even the predominance of Maori in the armed forces of today.

        I advocate retention of our original flag. However the principle of divide and rule is the principle Im outlining and the methods used on the populace – any populace – to achieve it.

        That is the mode of operation used by the 1% and always has been . Divide and Conquer… the Roman way… Romanising the Gauls…

        It has always been that way. Nothing changes. So history is vital as our teacher.

      • Chooky – as the 201 anniversary of the first xmas service in NZ approaches, and bearing in mind your comment above – its pertinent to reflect on just how the Treaty came into being. An interesting article is here and I shall repeat the first couple of Paragraphs because they are very interesting and we see how much we have to thank Wilberforce – the champion for the abolition of slavery! Not a great deal is known about this connection and the resulting Treaty.
        http://www.bibleandtreaty.co.nz/history.html

        While the British, had showed little respect for the peoples they would subjugate and often turn into slaves, a new conscience had entered public thinking ahead of any colonial plans for New Zealand.

        If colonised at all, this was to be done differently, in partnership with the indigenous people.

        Both the historic agreement that bought together the United Confederation of Tribes to declare independence and select a flag, under which New Zealand built trading ships could legally operate on the high seas, and the subsequent Treaty of Waitangi, would not have been possible without the influence of the missionaries.

        Wilberforce influence

        Several decades before the Treaty was signed both slavery abolitionist William Wilberforce and others who were part of the humanitarian Clapham Sect backed the Church Missionary Society (CMS) and a missionary move into New Zealand.

        Wilberforce himself was an active patron to Samuel Marsden who would eventually preach the first Christian sermon on New Zealand shores in 1814 at the invitation of Maori chief Ruatara.

        The more humanitarian attitude championed in part by Wilberforce and his legal counsel, friend and later brother-in-law James Stephen, who together bought an end to the slave trade, extended to the new generation of influential humanitarian Christians.

        It was James Stephen’s son, who as British Colonial Secretary, gave the instructions to Lord Normanby ensure Hobson set out the mutually beneficial principals of agreements that became known as the Treaty of Waitangi.

        Stephen was well aware of the atrocities that had been perpetuated on the indigenous people of other nations by the process of British colonisation and was determined that this was never to happen in New Zealand.

        Maori land and resources were to be protected by law and they were to be treated as equal rights citizens with the British.

    • “If you are worried about ‘colonialism’ , – just recall the suffering of the Highland Scots at the hands of the English with the Highland clearances and just WHY the Scots emigrated…

      I think you need to read this before you put the blame on the English!

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Ranaldson_Macdonell

      “under his authority timber was felled for sale, the cleared land was leased to sheep farmers and many of his clansmen were forced from the land by increasing rents and evictions. He continued the evictions to make way for sheep farmers which his mother began when his father was chieftain, and most of the clan was forced to emigrate to British North America, as part of what was later known as the Highland Clearances. “

      • +100 Mike…Scots clans were chased out of Scotland by other Scots clans and members of their own clans into Northern Ireland and elsewhere ….just as in Maoridom….certain Maori tribes trashed other tribes

        http://my.christchurchcitylibraries.com/ti-kouka-whenua/kaiapoi-pa/

        I have read at least one Chief signed the Treaty to get away from Maori wars..he hoped for a new era of peace

        http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/politics/treaty/making-the-treaty/signing-the-treaty

      • Yes…you are correct… except for one thing…the motivators and instigators didn’t originally come from the Scots.. it was cunning deviousness that utilized the greed and avarice among certain of the chiefs…

        And /or these chiefs who saw the English as a way to get back at their more powerful Scots enemy’s…or gain protection thereof. Many ‘pseudo clans’ were deliberately encouraged to settle in certain areas as a way to instigate unrest and division – the Keith’s for example were one of these ‘late arrivals’ encouraged by the English.

        Which is no different from the English ploy of pitting one Maori tribe against another using the Treaty of Waitangi.

        Lets be blunt – the whole Waikato war was not only instigated by the Waikato’s sending troops to the Taranaki wars… but behind all that was the motives of avarice and greed of those entrepreneurs who wanted to open up the Waikato for a land grab- through land confiscations.

        These ‘entrepreneurs’ knew full well that land confiscations would follow in the wake of a successful war in the Waikato waged by allied Maori tribes with the British army.

        Vultures were circling in those days…

        • no doubt true …however there was bloody fighting amongst the Maori and between tribes well before the British arrived…and there was no doubt fighting amongst the Scottish clans well before the English arrived

          …also some Maori used the British to settle scores with other Maori…eg getting British ship captains to transport warriors to places like Akaroa and the Chathams to conduct warfare, murder and and kidnappings

  12. “It’s puzzling that the flag committee didn’t include what were clearly more popular designs – such as the Otis Frizzell koru or the modified Hundertwasser flag”

    The Modified Hundertwasser design was disqualified because the current owners of the Hundertwasser flag design did not give permission for it or modifications of it to be used as a national flag. This seems unfortunate when Hundertwasser designed it for that purpose, but that’s what they said.

    • a flag is not a work of art, no matter how good the artist…it is a symbol of the founding history of a peoples and a nation

      nor should a flag be annexed and changed on the whim of newcomers to a nation…by those aggrandizing and self important who would like to appropriate the nation country for themselves, together with its symbols…. and rewrite history

      …like a corporate takeover

      note; National Archives is no longer an independent entity …but is now part of Internal Affairs, under political governance

      • Indeed…. newcomers such as Key ( as in his rise to political power) do not , should not ,be allowed that platform to blithely rearrange the flag to suit his current and temporary claim on history…

        He is but a season.. a blip in time.

        He is also a revisionist of a very deceitful nature.

        And is hardly of the type of caliber to be the one suggesting such revisionism in light of the massive social unrest and change that we are currently experiencing.

        Particularly as he… is the symbolic zenith of the divisiveness of the neo liberal policy’s . Yet without total popular acclaim .

        Until there is a huge unanimity among the people of this country – and not just a 50% vote – he, nor anyone else has that mandate.

        Therefore until further notice is given by the people of this country , the flag should remain as it is currently.

  13. Let me try again.I pressed submit by mistake.
    I respect all that is good about the NZ Green Party and wish to say that the finest compliment paid is that when someone else adopts the soundness of it’s environmental manifesto.
    In response to your opinion about the ten percent,who registered an informal / protest vote,I was one of them, I ticked “d.” to ‘ all of the above ‘

    I did some homework and read that there been have ten referenda in New Zealand. I wish to point out that this government initiated referendum at a turnout was about 48%. Subtract the ten percent of informal votes and the result is a net 38%. The statistics speak volumes. The 1949 referendum for CMT polled at 63.5% , the 1997 for Compulsory Retirement Savings at 80.3% and the 2015 for a change in the Flag at 48.2%. That says something.
    We know that the Flag issue in Canada was extremely divisive in a Nation colonised by France and Great Britain where the language is multilingual, acknowledging the indigigenous Indian tribes. It divided families and provinces, Quebec vs British Columbia and the discord created was bitter.
    The lines in the sand have already been drawn in New Zealand and I predict with evidence that change just will not happen. There is “mike hosking speak “,here and no ” key speak ” either.

    I then studied the Referenda Act ( Postal Voting ) 2000 , which I shall call the act The Act and looked at Section 42 (Processing of Voting Papers) and Section 73 ( Undue Influence ). I ask the readers who are expert to study the Act and various sections.
    I enjoyed a debate last week , convivial , thought provoking and constructive.
    Now get this!!!!!
    This guy expressed his frustration about the Flag issue. He was somewhat bemused and annoyed. He said that two weeks ago he and his wife mislaid their voting papers and therefore did not register their protest votes. But wait it gets better. On Friday their sixteen year old boy tells them he sent them off in the POST supporting a change.
    But wait it gets better. He then told his olds that three of his mates did the same thing.
    Well good on you boys, i could not have done it better. So now we have on record eight votes in favour of change , being a net eight votes versus half a dozen informal votes.
    I therefore need some expert answers to the following .

    1. Is this referendum of 2015 and and if it happens in March 2016 , an indicative or a binding one?

    2. Given that this mischievous prank was not a one off, and we multiplied it by ten , across the country then where does the validity lie to the postal ballot results in terms of tha rule of of Law?

    3. Unlike Australia or Switzerland which have codified constitutions we have had sporadic use of referenda. So how legitimate are the results of this referendum.?

    4. Given that there have been eight ” informal votes from some bright young future MPs ” in support of change , does eight or eight hundred such R18, postal votes make last weeks results null and void, or is there a section of the Act ( 2000 ) that beats this one?

    5. Would anyone amongst you be prepared to inform the Electoral Commission to seek advice?

    6. Would there be any reader out there be prepared to instruct the PM that ” NZ/Houston we have a problem “, and advise him to put away his bottle of NZ Pure, stopping hugging a plunket and reply.

    I do not wish to be a bush lawyer, but where do we stand now. Will the referendum in March be halted and the question of Flag change be deferred until November 2017, when the the decision made by each of our three million plus voters on the EGR can decide behind a curtain and in front of scrutinisers , and see their ” sacred intangible ” placed safely into a ballot box.

  14. Keith Locke: “…an out-of-date colonial flag, with its Union Jack in the corner…”

    In my view, the Union Jack – love it or hate it – is a symbol of our heritage, with all that that entails, both good and bad.

    We should not be trying to airbrush out this aspect of our shared history. God knows my forebears had no love for the British Empire, but were it not for its actions, we – along with many other descendants of the first settlers – would not be here. Neither we nor the indigenes can pretend that the great colonial enterprise never happened; so we ought not to be attempting to eliminate its symbols.

    These things matter a great deal in the long term scheme of things; not because we want to return to Empire, but because for the sake of our future, we need to remember the past.

    I’m sure that nobody commenting here would want the sort of resolute “keep looking forward, don’t look back” attitude that we’ve met among some people in Central Europe. It doesn’t serve them well; they desperately need to remember their past, so as to avoid a repetition of it.

    The same applies here; in fact, I’d argue that it has been having one eye to the past – witness the Waitangi Tribunal – which has saved us from the desperate situation that pertains in many postcolonial countries around the world.

    Keep the current flag until we become a republic; and even then, keep the Union Jack on any redesign.

    • Hear hear….we do not need history revisionists trying to sanitize any of what happened in the past to fit into interpretations designed to further any modern political objectives or goals.

      The past is the past – and should be acknowledged as such. Right or wrong, good or bad.

      Only dictators or radical ideologues want to obliterate the past and pretend it didn’t exist.

  15. I refuse to be railroaded by the keyster into his blue (Nats), black (as in All-) and small usgly version of the splendid Crux constellation, which is already on the current flag. I don’t care about jk’s legacy as it now adds $26m+ of citizen and child neglect into it!

  16. I don’t like the current flag, but at the same time not really interested in this one either.

    If the flag changes it won’t be because people support the flag change, but rather because of general apathy over the current flag that leads to an insufficient number voting to retain the current flag.

    I am still reminded of the layabout non-voters who claimed to support Labour/Greens/Mana,etc in phone polls, but on election day were too lazy and apathetic to get off their asses and vote*. If that trend continues you can be sure the flag will change, even if a large number don’t want it to.

    *Rain is no good excuse for not getting out to vote. 😉

  17. The present flag, although it represented some bad aspects of NZ history, also represented many good things about how New Zealand became a nation. Just as important, it represented ALL New Zealand. If a new flag is chosen it will represent (to me) John Key b..s, National Party spin, corporate symbolism and wasteful expenditure.
    It won’t represent me.

  18. I am getting brassed off with the “you’ll only get one chance” mantra, trying to convince people to change now just for change’s sake.
    While I agree that we probably are about ready for a new flag, I really, really think we have to have something that is more than just something “reasonably presentable” because if we DO change to this, then yes, we will have had our one and only chance, but we will be stuck with a cartoon fern on black and blue (probably) which is a god awful combination of “colour”.
    I reckon we hang out for something decent, something that better encompasses the Maori aspect (as that is the only truly unique thing about NZ).
    Pity the Rangatiratanga flag was taken as that is gorgeous.
    And if you want an example of a truly stunning flag, check out the Australian Indigenous flag. Now THAT is a flag.
    We need something better than a crappy logo for our flag.

  19. They are both awful.

    It is like choosing between the Natz and NatLite.

    Pretending to be a democracy but actually having two horrible choices to try to navigate.

    The biggest indicator of the process and choices was that 56.5% of registered voters were so disillusioned and disfranchised they did not bother to vote at all, even with the amount of money, media attention, blogs and debacle thrown at the process.

    That is what the political message is – the flag is not an important issue right now.

    Would prefer to see the same amount of attention and referendum on TPP and climate change, things that actually will effect Kiwis day to day lives.

  20. Nice try Keith but if the left (as you claim) is locked into supporting the “butcher’s apron” (are you yet another Irish malcontent?) your appeasement locks you into supporting John Key and his cabal.

    It has to be a political issue.

    There is simply no choice…

  21. Analogy:
    If you are the head of a large family and in so much debt that your family is inadequately clothed & fed, do you go get a top up on your mortgage because you want new designer curtains in your lounge to replace perfectly adequate old ones, (while letting them choose from among the selections), and telling them to work harder to pay for them whilst collecting an even bigger cut from their miserable wages ?

    Pretty f****d up priorities, wouldn’t one say?
    This is NZ “government” today. Something immoral & fraudulent has been creeping in for years and taken over.

    (PS: in the analogy above, the longsuffering & hard done by members of the family all have short attention spans & all have been supplied with “Smartphones” which keep them sufficiently & independently distracted )

  22. Changing the flag while Key reinstates Royal Honours and toadies to visiting “royalty” for endless fucking photo ops?

    Spot the contradiction.

    I spoiled my first vote by writing “$26 million wasted on this stupid referendum while poverty grows in NZ? For shame!”

    I intend to vote to keep the current flag. It may not be perfect, but I’m damned if I’ll play into Key’s little ego vanity while kids go to schools hungry because their parent’s incomes are swallowed up by outrageous rents, food bills, power bills, increased prescription charges, etc.

    Fuck you John Key and the goat you rode in on.

  23. The flag has very likely already been chosen and this all was a big con job to distract and brainwash the people into thinking they have real and honest choices in where and what the govt. does or does not do. Another John Key lie and con job.

    The chosen flag has already been used on products sent overseas and printed on shirts of those who kiss up to Jonkey Donkey.
    If the people in NZ think that this govt. cares about their choices or their needs, they are deluded. Their priorities are greed based and corporate bound. Look at the pay rise these criminal MP’s and the prime minister just gave themselves yet they give the wives of deceased vets a rise of .75 a week. Do they think that a dying or invalid Vet wants a just Vets financial support to help them fairly OR A NEW FLAG ?

    • Hypocritical wankers, dear Blake , hypocritical wankers… is what you would’ve liked to say of these neo liberal globalists…

      I am honoured and privileged to add impetus and artistic creativity to your plaintive and honest exposure of the criminality currently masquerading as our govt..

  24. I can’t stand the current flag but the proposed one looks like corporate branding of a Weetbix packet. As some of the commentators above have noted, we need to change the reality before we change essentially meaningless symbols. The process reminds me of the radical activists of the 60s who wanted to change society but eventually settled for changing a few words. The Pasifika woman having to work two or three underpaid jobs does not benefit at all from having the opportunity to choose Ms on the census form, nor does the cripple benefit from being called differently abled while benefits are cut. Let’s look for real change and forget this deceitful renaming of things and changing of surface symbols.

  25. Oh hell, I think I have just thought of what the flag should have been. I reckon just replace Union Jack with Tino Rangatiratanga flag

  26. Somehow I can’t help thinking that in a country that has such an appalling record of Child abuse, child poverty and family violence,
    a black and blue Flag seems, unfortunately,entirely appropriate.

    • Indeed…and add to that image a masturbating, pissing in the shower, pony tail pulling , drunkard, reaching for the soap endorsing leader and you have a general picture of the sort of smutty , self indulgent personality’s who have lied and misled this country under the ideology of neo liberalism in its most graphic and debauched form imaginable.

      Compare this bogus current set of leaders with such as Mickey Joseph Savage, Sir Keith Holyoake, Norman Kirk and you will easily and rapidly spot the difference.

      I feel deeply ashamed.

    • Sorry G W but you did vote for the Lockwood flags.

      How come?

      Because the sneaky bastards used the preferential rather than the one choice system. You were instructed to rank all five in order of preference not simply choose one from the five.

      This meant on counting, (and remember it was close) second, third, fourth and fifth preferences would have been used. You may have ranked the Lockwood flags fourth and fifth, but your ranking vote for them was counted.

      That’s why this system is so dishonest and undemocratic and was why I spoilt my vote; I was counted as one of the 10% but at least I didn’t cooperate with the fucking Tories…

  27. Why you would suggest that a “reasonably presentable” option should be the best NZ can aspire to (remember, we only get to do this once) is beyond me, Keith.

    • The Neo Liberal Tories want the new Weet Bix box design and traditional hard working Kiwis and Te Tangata Whenua want the original design, still early days in the discussion Canada took 35 years to decide, still water to go under the bridge.

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