The preliminary results of the flag referendum / distraction are out around 8pm this evening (possibly here). “Turnout” has been reasonably high. Bragging rights I guess to whomever best predicts the outcome.
I thought some salient points were made by Geoff Neal in this Stuff piece:
The missing vote in New Zealand’s flag referendum
This Thursday, March 24, the second flag referendum results will be revealed and supporters of our old flag will proudly boast “two thirds of New Zealanders voted to keep the existing flag”. Right? Wrong. Very wrong. Such a result will simply mean two thirds voted not to change it to the alternate blue/black fern design.
In fact many people who hate the old flag have already voted for it as the lesser of two evils. Better to stay with ol’ average and have the chance of getting this right next time (and despite political intimidation, there will be a next time), than change to the new slightly-better-than-average design for the rest of our lives.
The sad thing is that, despite two national referendums, we won’t actually have a single electoral statistic that tells us how many Kiwis support a change of flag. It wasn’t asked in the first referendum. It wasn’t asked in the second referendum. …
The polls suggest that the current flag will be retained – although I’d be surprised if the massive barrage of pro-change publicity and scaremongering hadn’t had an effect.
Key is conveniently leaving the country for some “time off” – the very same evening. He insists that a public rejection of his campaign for change wouldn’t damage his legacy, leading many to pose the obvious question – what legacy?
Anyway, the great flag distraction will eventually be over (after the postmortems of course). Then perhaps we can all get back to focusing on stuff that actually matters, like say: poverty and inequality in NZ, our environment and climate change, our wobbly economy and the dairy crisis, the future of health and education, fair employment conditions and equity, how to reduce child and domestic abuse, the need for ethical and competent government, planning for the future, and so on…