Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Art with a job to do

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  • mpledger, in reply to Steve Todd,

    The vote count really makes the whole process look like a sham. When one flag only generates 1/10 of the votes of the another flag, it shows the flag committee did a really bad job of choosing with flags to make it to the final four.

    Ideally, what should have happened was that the five flags should have gotten near equal numbers of first preference votes but from the other preference votes one flag should have run away with it.

    I didn't vote - I dithered around trying to decide if I liked any of the flags enough to vote on them that I ran myself out of time to get it posted or go to a post office. This is the craziest time of year to have a vote anyway - there are so many end-of-year things going on at schools, clubs, work etc and then Christmas. It will be interesting to see the sex/age distribution of voters.

    Since Oct 2012 • 97 posts Report

  • Michael Smythe,

    Very well said Russell - market research will always deliver the comfortable and familiar. It is all about followship. Flags should lead from the front!

    Auckland • Since Jan 2013 • 3 posts Report

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Lilith __,

    At least laser kiwi knows it's silly.

    Nothing says punch above your own weight like laser kiwi.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report

  • richard,

    Just realised what the Lockwood “symbol salad” flag reminds me of; it is like what happened when Homer Simpson was asked to design a car…

    Powerful like a gorilla, it's tough and yielding like a nerfball…

    Not looking for New Engla… • Since Nov 2006 • 268 posts Report

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Michael Smythe,

    It is all about followship.

    This strikes a chord!
    I can see an epic in this…
    …The Followship of The Key…
    a group of elfish impersonators trade in an old vanguard
    for some dodgy ‘new standards’ that fail to fly…
    They then try to flog the family silver and future,
    and salt the wells in retreat,
    all the while, and unbeknownst to them,
    their fey leader ‘Tuglock – the ponypuller’
    (a greased poll climbing champion from way back)
    has allied himself with dark forces beyond this land…

    Now read on…
    …it’s writing itself!

    take me to your lieder!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report

  • Jason Kemp, in reply to Steve Todd,

    What I meant was that when 3 of the 5 designs featured ferns - that people who liked ferns would vote them 1, 2 and 3 before voting for the other non-fern designs.

    If there had only been a single fern design then the voting pattern might have been a bit different and the 2 designs which were not ferns might have got more preferences.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 368 posts Report

  • Russell Brown,

    Just added to the post: The Red Peak of New Zealand site collects many instances and invocations of the design. Nice.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Joe Wylie,


    I’m sure people will be flying laser kiwi, too.

    Ah why not.

    Joe, I took the liberty of sharing your work via social media (with due credit, of course). You have made many people happy. This remix happened too.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Jonathan King, in reply to Andrew Dubber,


    I'd love to see it adopted as an emblem for NZ Music. For NZ On Air, NZMIC and others to band together to license it for use to denote "homegrown" at home and "straight out of Aotearoa" elsewhere. Not exactly a flag or a logo, but a badge of pride. And it would be money very well spent.

    Since Sep 2010 • 185 posts Report

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Jason Kemp,

    Hi ho, Silver!

    …people who liked ferns would vote them 1, 2 and 3 before voting for the other non-fern designs.

    It does have a certain inherent fractal inevitability …
    - even though they have only used a shallow imitation of a real ponga leaf which does not reflect the true nature of this fractal fronded pith-filled plant …
    …and how modern of Key to favour a national symbol that emerged from the Carboniferous era swamps, reproduces asexually by releasing lightweight double crossing diploid spores which blow whichever way the wind blows and create parasitic zygotes!
    They are also prone to same malaise as National – Crown Rot – where an excess of liquidity builds up in the centre of the crown causing the fronds to off and the centre to go soft – sure explains Key’s spongiform memory and morals, what’s more, they support many twiners, rootclimbers, scramblers and tendril climbers – otherwise known as the National List MPs…
    Of course he could have played his cards more openly by opting for one of the more opportunist epiphytes like Clubmoss or Sickle Spleenwort!

    everything you ever wanted to know about Cyathea dealbata (Canterbury Nature site)

    and here (Zealandia)
    here, too (Te Ara)

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report

  • Ian Dalziel,

    That picture of prime posers Key & Plunket looks like a coupla washed up superheroes in alter ego mode: Flag Boy and White Wing the Crow quaffing the ales of the great corporations...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Russell Brown,

    This remix happened too.

    That cat on the left certainly looks as if he believes he got the cream.
    So the world has Grumpy Cat, but we have Grateful Hua.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report

  • Alec Morgan,

    given the absence of anything even approaching good design practice, the panel manipulating its internal polls, co-option of the All Black captain, insider conflicts of interest etc. the flag fiasco seems a text book example of attempted manufactured consent

    a flag change also fits nicely with a national consideration of republicanism which was nicely sidelined in this exercise, and while no fan of the “butchers apron” union jack on the current flag it should perhaps stay as a reminder until post colonial NZ is doing better on the legacy of the New Zealand wars, rather than just go down the memory hole in Keys rebranding

    the only fitting response to the above imo is to vote for the existing flag in round two and hope some years hence a genuinely engaged populace will do a better job

    Tokerau Beach • Since Nov 2006 • 124 posts Report

  • George Darroch,

    If you like a flag, fly it. That is the best way to demonstrate how the image ‘works’ (or doesn’t) as a flying moving thing. I suspect that the thousands of Red Peaks out there will continue to have an impact as people see them. It may not ever become the popular choice, but they’ll make their statement.

    And that’s my biggest complaint about this omnishambles. There was very little opportunity for the New Zealand public to interact with them as flags. Not as clipart – which was the primary medium through which people interacted with these.

    Some of them look great as gifs or on paper, which is how they were presented on voting papers. They fail as flags. A rushed and underresourced (I’ll get to that) process meant that the great majority of New Zealand not once saw these flags flying. If you live in Tokoroa, you did not see them flying. If you live in South Auckland, you did not see them flying. If you lived just about anywhere in New Zealand they were absent.

    And because of that, the chance to familiarise with them was absent. Instead, people felt rushed into making a decision, and either rejected the process or stayed with the familiar. Both are understandable.

    Supporters of any of the flags were denied the chance to fly them by being rushed through the process. Buying and distributing flags, fundraising, and having them adopted by their supporters were all highly limited, and the later in the window of time that anyone participated, the less impact their decisions had.

    A much better process would have recognised the need to put the flags out there in large numbers, with public institutions flying these in rotation alongside the current (British Naval Ensign) flag. In some places, semi-permanent poles would have to be erected, but this is also fine.

    Imagine: A giant red peak / weetbix #1 on the Auckland Harbour Bridge alongside the current ensign. Or furled above Mt Victoria. Colour and design against the sky and above nature and structure. In full size and in full glory people would have the chance to make up their mind, and compare them to what they have already. No apprehensive second-guessing, but an assured choice to select, keep, or reject.

    This would have cost money. I estimate several million dollars for flags and associated costs, to be generous. A $26m process would become a $30m process. And it would have meant time; a period of 4 months at a minimum but preferably a whole year. Both would have been fine…

    After all, you only do this once.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report

  • Mark Hadfield,

    I like the solver fern + stars flags and I've always been mystified by the confident statements of various people, notably on this site, that not only are these flags not to their personal taste, but that they are actually rubbish in an objective sense. (One finds a similar attitude in beer snobs.)

    I don't think much of Sean Plunket's shirt though.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2015 • 7 posts Report

  • James Littlewood*,

    I can't fuckin stand this shit. It's bollocks, from arsehole to breakfast.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 410 posts Report

  • mike gemmell, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Russell, is there audio of your time on the radio for the flag marathon?

    Since Aug 2012 • 9 posts Report

  • sandra, in reply to Lilith __,


    I’ll be voting to retain the current flag because I want to protest the total lack of designer-input and the pretend public-consultation, not because I have a particular attachment to it.

    Yeah, that's pretty much my view. If we're going to have a new flag (and there's no reason why we shouldn't) it's got to be something special. I have no real beef with the Lockwood designs, except that it looks like a Team New Zealand tee-shirt (Sean Plunket, gaaah), something you'd see athletes don as 'casual wear' at international meets.

    From the long list I was drawn to Mike Davison's Black Jack, but now that Lilith has pointed out the tukutuku stars flag, I'm interested in looking at it further. And that's the crux I think. We (the silent majority) weren't given a chance to assess the long list, it was all down to a faceless panel in a room somewhere. Why even show us the long list?

    The road show came to Tauranga but was so under-publicised I didn't know the meeting was taking place. I intended to make my opinion heard but that didn't happen. And's that kind of how the whole process has felt. Sure, I got to vote but I got to vote for flag designs I hadn't had a hand in choosing, the choosing of which resulted in three fern designs from four, then five, options. It's been a mess.

    tauranga • Since Dec 2011 • 72 posts Report

  • JessicaRose, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Red Peak might now become the white liberals’ Tino Rangatiratanga flag.

    I was just thinking that as I bought the Red Peak flag and patches. I don’t identify with the Lockwood designs and also now understand people who have never identified with the current flag. And I only vote red peak because it makes the most graphical sense for a modern flag (within the 5 available to choose from).

    I’m sure the argument has been had, but the United Tribes of NZ flag has a wonderful case when you consider it’s purpose was to encourage ‘people’ to act collectively under one emblem.

    It appears to me that this referendum is initiating the opposite of this, we can all have our own flag representing our differing identities. This is going to get confusing at the next Olympics.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2011 • 61 posts Report

  • Steve Barnes,

    Flag vote: John Key thinks RSA is wrong about pride

    "You see the arguments from the RSA that, well, people fought and died under the flag - and that's true. They certainly did fight under the flag.
    "But I think they actually fight for values and principles - human rights, women's rights and democracies."
    Mr Key pointed out that many Commonwealth war tombstones featured a silver fern.
    "That's the national symbol of New Zealand - that's what we're known by.
    "The reason why I support the change of a flag is simply because we will wear it, use it and promote it more. It's therefore all about national pride and recognition of our country and showing the world how great we think New Zealand is.
    "And I don't think we do that very much with our current flag."


    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report

  • llew40, in reply to Alec Morgan,

    the flag fiasco seems a text book example of attempted manufactured consent

    Given a choice between conspiracy or cock-up, I always think the more likely is the omnishambles (as George so adroitly put it)

    The thing I am surprised about is - assuming the Government genuinely wanted to change the flag as part of the PM's 'legacy thing' - the way in which the process has actually worked against that strategic goal ...... if someone *tried* to architect a process that would lead to a high probability of a status quo, this was it.

    Since Nov 2012 • 140 posts Report

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    I suppose the idea of still flying it no matter, and good on you for that, (it is nice to look at), is in and of itself a protest vote. It would seem it has been a protest flag all along which is why it couldn't win.Why the Key had to comment about beating it as soon as voting was in. He was about as subtle as tossing a bobby calf. (too soon?)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report

  • Carol Green, in reply to Sacha,


    Carol Green's list for instance

    Fixed the link... here

    Also that Scooby Doo gif? By Toby Morris. Always on point.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2008 • 53 posts Report

  • Rich of Observationz,

    They certainly did fight under the flag.
    “But I think they actually [fought] for values and principles – human rights, women’s rights and democracies

    Re-engineering history. With the exception of WW2, all NZ's wars have been primarily about advancing the interests of the ruling classes in Britain and/or America against those of other powers.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report

  • Steve Barnes,

    One of my biggest concerns is the divisiveness that the final vote may cause.
    Correct me if I'm wrong but if the final referendumb is FPP then a 49:51 result would set father against son, brother against brother.
    We need, at least a 75% in favour for a change this traumatic, surely?.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report

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