Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The flagging referendum

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  • John Palethorpe,

    The curious hypocrisy of Key claiming, in the same sentence, that Labour voters were voting for political reasons which disappointed him because he knows lots of National voters would vote against a new flag.

    So Labour voters who are against it are against it because of John Key, but National voters who are against it are against it for personal reasons, including liking the old flag and not liking the new flag.

    Um. Yeah, nah.

    Auckland • Since May 2015 • 83 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Good column on the RNZ site by Finlay Macdonald:

    The singular achievement of Mr Key and his pro-change acolytes is to have ruined a good idea for a long time. A huge proportion of those who will vote to retain the current flag will do so regretfully; they would prefer to replace it, but not with just anything, least of all the meretricious logo of a phony national brand campaign.

    It's more than ironic that the Union Jack should become an unwitting emblem of dissent in modern New Zealand. But Key's flag campaign has inverted old establishment orders to a surprising degree. A vote for change is, weirdly, a vote for the new political orthodoxies embodied in the current prime minister.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    I'm going to hold my nose and vote for change because I think this is a first, faltering step on the way toward more comprehensive redefinition of our political culture. Key should have stepped back and not become so closely associated with the Yes campaign, it has muddied the issue too much.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 566 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Craig Young,

    I would argue the exact reverse: those hoping for "more comprehensive redefinition of our political culture" need to consider carefully what this vote achieves. Voting for change would just reward a poorly-designed process that has subordinated democratic consultation to authoritarian decree and spin. This is a teachable moment for our present and future governments: changing the flag under these conditions goes against any definition I want for my country.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1889 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Young,

    I’m going to hold my nose and vote for change because I think this is a first, faltering step on the way toward more comprehensive redefinition of our political culture.

    I’m an inveterate incrementalist, but this is not a case of incremental change. We don’t get a do-over on this. We’re locked in.

    And as Keith Ng noted, it looks less like change than giving the status quo a lick of paint.

    Key should have stepped back and not become so closely associated with the Yes campaign, it has muddied the issue too much.

    He was closely associated not only with a Yes vote, but with the Lockwood designs, before the process even began. It was really improper.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • bob daktari, in reply to linger,

    I'm not sure our government or politicians generally will take any learnings from this process going forward... but you've nailed my thoughts very well, thank you

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 537 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Hart,

    There's a non-poll running on Radio New Zealand if you feel inclined to express your flag preference in a countable way

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/flagvote

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • JLM, in reply to Russell Brown,

    He was closely associated not only with a Yes vote, but with the Lockwood designs, before the process even began. It was really improper.

    What is the evidence for the second assertion? I mean the Key involvement with Lockwood, not its impropriety.

    Judy Martin's southern sl… • Since Apr 2007 • 239 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Even if I thought the new flag was the bestest thing ever, I'd still vote for the current one to discomfit Key. Nothing else matters. I'd imagine maybe a third of the electorate think that way.

    Then, you've got probably half the right-wing vote who are inveterate conservatives ("'we' killed lots of foreigners under that flag and hope to kill lots more").

    Take those out, and it's hard to see Key winning. Which is a Good Thing as far as I'm concerned.

    Also, I wonder how the conservatives in the National party are enjoying having Key throw their party so solidly behind a cause they don't buy into?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to JLM,

    What is the evidence for the second assertion? I mean the Key involvement with Lockwood, not its impropriety.

    From Stuff’s report on Key announcing the referendum in a speech to the RSA back in 2014:

    The Prime Minister had softened his preference for a silver fern on a black background, saying it was unlikely to be a popular option.

    He had swayed more toward a design by Kyle Lockwood, which retained New Zealand’s current flag colours, with a Silver Fern and a southern cross.

    David Farrar quickly followed up with a post featuring the Lockwood design headed Our next flag?

    All before entries had even opened.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Even if I thought the new flag was the bestest thing ever, I'd still vote for the current one to discomfit Key. Nothing else matters. I'd imagine maybe a third of the electorate think that way.

    Tactically I kinda half-hope you're right, but strategically I fucking pray you're wrong, because that's what a "breakdown of the political process" looks like /:

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 856 posts Report Reply

  • JLM, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Thanks, that's pretty conclusive evidence.

    Judy Martin's southern sl… • Since Apr 2007 • 239 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    We don’t get a do-over on this. We’re locked in.

    Which is also not true.

    We can change our minds as many times as we can be bothered.

    However, like the government department that changes its logo every three years, there is a cost ... real dollars ... guesstimates for the NZ flag change are $60 million and up, that's not the cost of the referendum that's the cost of changing letterheads, letterheads, passports etc

    But yeah I agree there will be very little public will for change after this debacle

    UNLESS what we change to is really beautiful

    And that's been the whole pity about this campaign for me NONE of the designs was really beautiful, they were all just flags

    And yeah flags can be beautiful, these, setting aside the union jacks are pretty damn cool

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to James Butler,

    Broken down? Did it ever work?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    $60 million is about 0.005% of public spending.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    $60 million is about 0.005% of public spending.

    would pay for our research for the next 20 years!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher, in reply to Russell Brown,

    We don’t get a do-over on this. We’re locked in.

    Mm, the current flag has been in official use for 114 years, so I'm going to assume that the Lockwood flag would be in use for at least that long.

    It doesn't work to think that voting for the Lockwood flag would mean "New Zealanders want a new flag, but not this one, so let's come up with another design."

    People say that if NZ becomes a republic, there would be a new flag. But what if this isn't the case and the Lockwood flag is decided as being good enough to keep using?

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    I find the public response to all this quite heartening. Often derided as "sheeple", it turns out the people have a healthy disregard for being told what to do by a petulant politician and his coterie of ill-advised sports stars.

    Like countless celebs before them (Exhibit A: the Oscars) they find that their pronouncements on matters outside their day job matter much less than they would like to think. Good.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1321 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to JLM,

    Attachment Attachment

    the flutter buy…

    that’s pretty conclusive evidence

    Plus:
    He signed the TPPA under a ‘false flag’ – dispensing with his usual silver fern lapel pin and wearing a Kyle Lockwood design instead, he wears it a lot nowadays – surely must constitute ‘electioneering’ – in fact I notice that the posters advertising this heavily politicised 2nd round of voting don’t carry a promoter name and address (Just the elections.org logo)

    Key photo Source

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7889 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    I think you should understand the fallacy in that argument.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    The only way I can find to protest this process is to not take part in it at all. No other signal can convey what I feel about something so underwhelming as the choice we're presented here. Do I want coke or pepsi? No. Right, so we choose for you? Fine, I'm still not going to be drinking it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to BenWilson,

    All very well, but the process carries on regardless of how few people vote, and a flag still gets chosen for you. If you don’t care about either choice (you’re equally ‘meh’ about either the current or the proposed new flag), but you want to protest against the process, it would be better to submit an informal vote recording that [e.g. handwritten “(3) Neither"] than not to be counted at all.
    If you don't mind the current flag, and want to protest the process, the even better option would be to vote for the current flag; but I appreciate that might not be your position.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1889 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    What fallacy? Bart's implication was clear enough: research with practical aims is more important than arguments about symbols.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1889 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to BenWilson,

    The only way I can find to protest this process is to not take part in it at all.

    And risk ending up with the tea towel flag?

    I'll certainly be registering my protest by voting to keep the current flag. Not because I have any particular affinity to the union jack, but like so many people I'm offended by the stupidity of the two-vote process, the stage-managed fanboys rallying around Key's choice, and the deeply flawed way the whole mess has been managed at enormous cost to the country.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1386 posts Report Reply

  • dave stewart,

    I chose not to vote in the first referendum because I was disappointed in all 5 options selected for that referendum (including "Red Peak", which I thought was equally crap). However I have been committed to change since before even the short list of 40 were presented, primarily because I strongly believe that the current flag is well past its use by date. I therefore intend to vote for the new flag, not because I endorse it as a my preference for a new flag, but because I think any flag is an improvement on our existing one. Hell, I would even be voting for "Laser Kiwi" if that was now the choice! My personal favourite was Otis Frissell's "Manawa", and I do think it is sad that there is no reference to Maori (by including e.g. a Maori motif, or a stylised hint of one) on whichever flag we end up with out of this process. What does that say about cultural inclusiveness? And why did the "Tino Rangatiratanga" not even make the shortlist of 40? Anyway, I predict a close result, because people will grasp that this opportunity is unlikely to occur again anytime soon, and maybe best not to look a gift horse (donkey in this case) in the mouth!

    Since Aug 2014 • 37 posts Report Reply

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