OnPoint by Keith Ng

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OnPoint: Yeah nah, but what *do* we stand for?

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  • 81stcolumn, in reply to Rochelle Wilson,

    Charles is among other things Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall, two of the poorest parts of Great Britain. Shame he isn't such a passionate advocate for people.


    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 790 posts Report

  • Sacha, in reply to 81stcolumn,

    a flag that reflected the graciousness and originality that New Zealand is capable fostering

    imagine if the fleg panel members had been chosen for those characteristics? some of the submitted designs would certainly have qualified.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report

  • Soon Lee,

    I became a New Zealand citizen under the current flag so I have a certain fondness for it. New Zealand has changed markedly since: Rogernomics, Homosexual Law Reform, the market crash of 87, Student Loans, MMP, the freeing up of trade, the increase in migration and increase in diversity and size of ethnic groups, the gradual maturation of our cuisine, I could go on. But the vibe is still the same, you can easily join the dots between New Zealand of the 80s & of today. We are still very much a Commonwealth nation, a major OE destination is still the UK, Royal Visits are still immensely popular.

    Generally, a country changes its flag to mark a momentous event in its history: when it gains independence, or undergoes a radical change (becoming a Republic, after a Revolution). We haven't (yet?) had that momentous event. And even if we had, given the limited number of times a country changes a flag, shouldn't the replacement flag be an improvement on the incumbent?

    Shorter me: The reasons for change aren't compelling enough, the replacement flag isn't good enough.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2013 • 145 posts Report

  • william blake,

    What if we wake up on the morning after and it's the fern flig, how are the traditionalists going to feel? And what will this revolutionary new wind bring with it, John Key and the National party, Ritchie and Dan, et.al. Business as usual. May as well call it job done and recoup the money spent by cancelling the next election.

    Then, after the ensuing shit fight, we might get the flag we need not the one we deserve.

    Since Mar 2010 • 380 posts Report

  • Euan Mason, in reply to Soon Lee,

    Soon Lee, excellent point about momentous events prompting a flag change. That is what motivates Key. He really wants to claim he's radically changed NZ for the better, poor fool.

    Canterbury • Since Jul 2008 • 259 posts Report

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to BenWilson,

    I never have waved the NZ flag, nor flown it,

    Likewise...until my first TPPA march last year. Had a conversation or two with Maori about the flag....and how it represents Maori relationship with the (British) Crown. Change flag...undermine relationship....undermine Tiriti.

    1. We need a cast iron Constitution. None of this namby pamby NZBORA rubbish that gummints can cast aside. Solid Constitution...incorporating the Treaty.
    2. Become a republic.
    3. New flag.

    So...we have been flying THE flag at every opportunity when parked up for the night.

    GREAT conversation starter.

    General consensus?

    No change....piss off Key. (Boy, that man is truly unpopular.)

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1346 posts Report

  • linger, in reply to Euan Mason,

    He really wants to claim he’s radically changed NZ

    thus carrying out his initially stated intention to “ambush us for Nu Zillan”.
    In most fields other than politics, such a pervasive belief that changing the symbol alone is sufficient to change the reality would be called magical thinking.

    But then again, that idea of a government caring about the welfare of its residents increasingly resembles a fairy tale...

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1944 posts Report

  • Ben Austin,

    Growing up as I did on a farm surrounded by rural National Party types I seem to have absorbed their general anti flag change view despite having not lived on a farm for a decade or more and so have not been on board with the current process at all.

    As a republican I'm more interested in a fundamental change first, then we deal with minor issues like the flag, coat of arms and all that.

    I've assumed that republicans like Holden are as much interested in the current campaign as a door opener to a wider debate as they are interested in the flag changing. Which seems like a valid strategy as at least it has made us all think and talk about flag change and other wider issues.

    Maybe in a decade, once Turnbull tries his luck, once Charles is on the throne (or not as it were - I think he'll be fine as king in our hands off remote constitutional monarchy) and time passes we'll be ready to vote for a new flag and republic.

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1027 posts Report

  • Hilary Stace,

    There seems to be a very well funded PR campaign underway for flag change fronted by sports people and media people, but paid for by whom? You can see the public manipulation in action. I think the next poll will be much closer.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3229 posts Report

  • sandra,

    Two things regarding this nonsense that people (including New Zealanders, apparently) can't tell our flag from that of the Australian flag:

    1: It's different
    2: It's different.

    Seriously, as a starting point our flag has red stars; our flag doesn't have one big white star. Okay, that's that fixed.

    Here's something else that isn't much said: We got our flag first, made official in 1902 and having been used (on ships) since 1869. Australia adopted its current flag in 1908, but didn't make it formally official until 1954! Let them change theirs, if they're so worried.

    A new flag is definitely what John Key wants as his legacy - every time he sees one fluttering he will grin that grin.

    tauranga • Since Dec 2011 • 72 posts Report

  • llew40,

    There seems to be a very well funded PR campaign underway for flag change fronted by sports people and media people, but paid for by whom?

    Hmmm, I dunno - I just dont think this is the sort of thing that would stay under wraps for long in NZ. I think the far more likely scenario is that McCaw and Carter - like many prominent NZers - are being asked for their reckons, and they're quite happy to provide them. Don't have any issue with that.

    Since Nov 2012 • 140 posts Report

  • simon g,

    I suspect the final result will be quite close, simply because there's only one possible action for change (voting for it), but several for no change (e.g. not voting, or spoiling).

    Politically the best result for Key would be 51% to keep the flag. The worst would be 51% for change, on a low turnout. This may seem counter-intuitive (the PM getting the result he wants) but if we vote for change, the story goes on, in unpredictable and damaging ways. If we vote for no change, the story ends, shoulders are shrugged, and Key will recover. National voters who are anti-change will forgive him soon enough - as long as the change doesn't happen.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1333 posts Report

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Rochelle Wilson,

    He also spends his time surreptitiously intervening in UK politics using a range of concealed methods e.g. http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/dec/15/revealed-prince-charles-has-received-confidential-cabinet-papers-for-decades

    (Everyone's entitled to a political opinion, but for ordinary mortals, their opinions need to be justified and debated to take effect - Charles uses his position to push his ideas whilst being above, for instance, going on "Today" to justify them. If his ideas are so popular, why doesn't he run for Parliament?).

    Not to mention the weird attitudes of the Royals. Who else, in the modern world and outside BDSM situations, expects their children, close friends and colleagues to call them "sir".

    Would you go to a hereditary dentist?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report

  • linger,

    Royals […] outside BDSM situations

    They’re kingsters by definition.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1944 posts Report

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to linger,

    In most fields other than politics, such a pervasive belief that changing the symbol alone is sufficient to change the reality would be called magical thinking.

    Well, in business it is called Re-Branding and if you have ever dipped your toe into that morass we call Economics you will see "Magical Thinking" is par for the course.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report

  • Rich of Observationz,

    ...what does Gallipoli say about us? That we’re a nation of brave red-blooded men who are willing to lay down our lives for God, king and country? Or that after being sent into a senseless meat-grinder by our imperial overlords, we said “never again!” and were henceforth masters of our own destiny?

    I was talking with a museum professional from overseas who'd just seen the two Gallipoli exhibitions in Wellington, and her comment was that there was pretty much no communication of the context in which WW1 happened.

    It's almost as if WW1 is to be seen as a natural disaster that befell the nation, after the fashion of the Christchurch earthquake. The "imperial overlords" narrative ignores the fact that NZ was at least quasi-independent - the imperial government held no powers (short of reverting to direct rule) to direct the NZ government to supply troops. Going to war was a conscious decision of government and populace.

    Presenting WW1 as an exceptional event ignores the fact that all subsequent wars (except arguably WW2) have had a near identical context: military alliances, imagined or exaggerated threats, geopolitical calculations and the demonisation of the hostile states (from Germans bayoneting Belgian babies to Saddam's weapons of mass destruction).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report

  • Ross Mason,

    Link to SA Flag design and "selection"

    I like the idea of a 5 year moratorium on whatever flag "wins" and then decide if you like it. Should also include the result of the current flag "winning" this time round.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1590 posts Report

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Wonder what kid of flag related 'dead cats' will be thrown into the pre-voting debate?
    ...and who will throw the first one?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Everyone’s entitled to a political opinion

    It was my impression that, being no ordinary mortals, the royals aren't entitled to political opinions, or at least, expressed political opinions, and certainly not running for parliament. Trouble with Charlie is he has been known to push the limits of what he is allowed to express.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Wonder what kid of flag related ‘dead cats’ will be thrown into the pre-voting debate?
    …and who will throw the first one?

    Kid of Flag? Is that John Key?...
    Nah, I know what you meant and I have had several thoughts along those lines.
    I doubt if the TPP will be that cat.
    It will, in my less than humble opinion, be how the omnipotent Key fights the Aussie dragon of Kiwi rights in that big brown land, how he single handedly, with the help of his oh so talented son the DJ Musician, charmed the Monstrous Malcolm into caring about human rights.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report

  • Matthew Hooton,

    We will have to change the flag if we become a republic

    There's no necessary link between these issues. An example is Fiji: still has the Union Jack on its flag despite being a republic. Others have mentioned Hawaii.

    I also doubt the republic will happen in my lifetime. The stars just don't align on these things very often. Look at Australia and its republic. It came close in 1999 - with a pro-campaign led by Malcolm Turnbull. Now he is PM, he is ruling the issue out. On Friday, when asked at a business lunch I was at about the NZ flag change, he was uncomfortable even being asked about that. I think we'll head to the 22nd century with current flag and King George.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2007 • 195 posts Report

  • linger, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    we’ll head to the 22nd century with current flag

    but 2 months ago, right here you were opining

    For the fern to lose, turnout will have to exceed that of the 2014 election, and pretty much all the non-voters in the first referendum will need to back the Union Jack

    Which is it? (Or, what changed your mind?)

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1944 posts Report

  • Rich Lock, in reply to BenWilson,

    Some clothes look better than others and you probably want those

    Blue overalls for the Outer Party, Black for the Inner Party.

    Now all sir has to choose is: tapered waist or straight? collared or collarless? Belt loops or not? If belt loops are required, please specify numbers, width and thickness. Breast pocket? One or both sides? Open-topped or flap closure? Zipped, button or pop fasteners?

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Steve Barnes,


    Kid of Flag? Is that John Key?…

    Doh! – ‘Kind’
    Now I see what happens when proofreaders with pudgy digits go bad…

    I also see that the orchestrated ‘Vote For Change’ campaign is signed off by Lewis Holden, who was also the campaign chair of the New Zealand Republic Inc organisation from 2006-2013.
    I’d imagine there were some deep pockets amongst their members and supporters.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report

  • Alex Coleman, in reply to Joshua Arbury,

    Best outcome is that the current flag wins, but only just. Therefore the narrative can focus on there being a general appetite for changing the flag, but not to this design.
    This may mean I vote for the new flag. Even though I hate it.

    Worst outcome is that Starry Fern wins, but only just, on a turnout of under 70%. Be careful how you go :)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 247 posts Report

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