Ballot papers are appearing in letter boxes for the first part of Key’s expensive flag distraction. The instructions are to rank the flags in preference 1 – 5. A second referendum in April next year runs off the winner of this process with the current flag. It’s all a waste – even Key pretty much accepts that his project is in trouble:
John Key: I’m probably on the losing side on flag vote
Prime Minister John Key, who has championed a change in the New Zealand flag, acknowledged he was probably on the losing side at present, with more Kiwis preferring to keep the old one.
But he also says the numbers could change once an alternative is chosen from the first referendum, which starts today. “By the time you get to the final referendum, that’s where it will hot up both sides,” he told reporters last night in Manila.
So it will “hot up” when we get down to the final referendum will it? Funny, when no one turned up to the public meetings Key said it would hot up when we got down to the shortlist:
Mr Key said the low turnout wasn’t relevant because he bet his “bottom dollar” there’d be plenty of debate once the top four designs were put to a referendum.
Wrong. Apart from the rush of attention that got Red Peak into this ballot, we the people been steadfastly unenthused by the project. Poll after poll shows that a healthy majority don’t want to change, but Key is still pushing for his “legacy”. (I guess it would be a fitting legacy in its way, with the incompetence, the conflicts of interest and the mass suppression of dissenting opinions.)
Anyway, I still haven’t decided what to do with my ballot paper. Binning it in protest has a certain appeal, as does expressing my opinion in writing / defacing the ballot (many people are planning to write KOF for Keep Our Flag). But the thing is, I like Red Peak better than the current flag – so I’ll probably vote for it. If it wins I’ll probably vote for it in the second referendum too, but I can’t see myself ever voting for the other options. Your milage may vary!
When this process is over, lots of money will have been spent on something that doesn’t improve anyone’s life, and lots of ink will have been spilled on something that was always a distraction from the mess this government is making. Emmerson in The Herald…