Flagpole Sitta

Written By: - Date published: 5:56 pm, December 11th, 2015 - 138 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, brand key, class war, democratic participation, Politics, referendum, uncategorized - Tags: ,

Well, somebody had to write about the flag referendum and in the apparent absence of any interest from other authors here’s my take on things ….. zzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Whoops, sorry, nodded off for a moment there.

Nearly 1.5 million voting papers have been received and the cut off is any minute now. That’s less than half the enrolled voters. Technically, there are 5 options, but I will be interested to see what option 6 (spoiled ballot) gets. I think there’s a chance that it will be the winner on the day, but of course, one of the other flag options will officially ‘triumph’, despite the likelihood that it will have minority support from the minority that bothered to vote.

Whichever one gets to go up against the current flag next year will lose comprehensively and the Prime Minister will have to settle for his legacy being the pandas Jon Jon and Ki Ki that I understand the People’s No 1 Revolutionary Zoo, Beijing, will be sending here about a fortnight before next election day.

Still it’s a kind of democracy folks, so we should at least be grateful that the Tories didn’t just auction off our national symbol to the highest bidder. I’m sure they considered it.

Oh well, as the song says: I run it up the flagpole and see who salutes … (but no one ever does).


I’ll update the post as the first results come through at around 8.30 tonight.


Update: Black, white and blue fern gets the thumbs up, one in ten votes is informal.

Update 2: Conspiracy theory alert! The red, white and blue fern was actually the most supported option, but lost on preferences. The fix is in!


Update 3: the detail (thanks, BLiP!).

preliminary flag results first referendum



This post’s title bought to you by Harvey Danger. It’s also the theme to the superb UK comedy Peep Show.




138 comments on “Flagpole Sitta ”

  1. Muttonbird 1

    I expect the Electoral Commission will be told not to publish the number of valid votes.

    • weka 1.1

      Which would just make the govt look stupid and vindictive esp when someone OIAs the number. It would also make the EC look like it was run out of the National Party’s office. I expect the EC will publish the number as per usual.

      • Muttonbird 1.1.1

        Nothing of the sort has been publish to this point, just the overall votes returned yet I’m sure the counting would have been done as they went.

        On OIA request on the valid vote may not be answered before the next referendum given the current policy of delaying requests for political purposes.

        We’ll see, shall we?

        • weka

          Sorry, I thought that was a typo and you meant invalid votes. What do you mean by valid vote if it’s not the actual count?

    • James 1.2

      Well you got that wrong.

  2. Detrie 2

    I recall this started a year back when John Key was sitting in front of the NZ flag at a big overseas event and someone mistook him for an Australian. I’m sure he mentioned this on TV when he got home. So, here we have a distressed PM who had to restore our [his] mana and place in the world. At $26m, the cost factor of the new flag referendum he never thought a big issue. A natural mistake for an ex-currency trader with a personal worth of $50m. You’d do the same in his [expensive] shoes. For once people, lets look at it from his perspective. It’s not about pride, ego or leaving a legacy. He’s done it for us…

    • Anne 2.1

      the current flag next year will lose comprehensively and the Prime Minister will have to settle for his legacy being the pandas Jon Jon and Ki Ki that I understand the People’s No 1 Revolutionary Zoo, Beijing, will be sending here about a fortnight before next election day.

      Love it.

      Btw, $26m is a load of bullshit imo. My reckoning is: it will be half as much again at the least when the bills are all in.

      • miravox 2.1.1

        My dad has a years old pic of the PM sitting in front of an Aussie flag – and it appears he didn’t know it was an Aussie flag, not a NZ one. He drags the pic out whenever the flag debate starts up – sits there and laughs. My dad reckons that’s when the push for a new flag came from. The PM doesn’t take that sort of embarrassment very well.

  3. Jono 3

    The cretins cloning and feeding/and I dont even own a TV

    (That’s all true, that is, even the last bit. God that song takes me back)

  4. weka 4

    Still it’s a kind of democracy folks, so we should at least be grateful that the Tories didn’t just auction off our national symbol to the highest bidder. I’m sure they considered it.

    What makes you think they didn’t? They just have to be smarter at it than if they ran an outright plutocracy.

    Anyhoo, I’m one of the missing several millions. In the end I just didn’t get around to voting, which was due to too many other things needing doing and the referendum being waaaay down the list of priorities.

    I’d be interested to see turnout figures on stand-alone referenda, pre and post-postal ballots if anyone has them.

    • Anne 4.1

      I think the blue/black/white fern flag is the intended winner. Why? Because they are the National Party colours. JK started hinting to his myriad of mindless sycophants at least 2 months ago that was his [final] choice. I bet it was always his choice, and the Tories will have done what they were told and voted en masse for it.

      We’ll know soon enough.

      • Muttonbird 4.1.1


        John Key stated his preference for the tea towel and his mindless followers will do just that, mindlessly follow.

      • srylands 4.1.2

        God you are a bilious cow.

        • Anne

          I regard that as a compliment coming from the likes of you. Settle down now.
          Don’t want to make yourself ill.

      • mary_a 4.1.3

        @ Anne (4.1) – you got it right Anne. FJK’s choice at this stage has come out as the winner. NatzKEY gobshite Mike Hosking also picked the same design … see his vomit inducing column in yesterday’s Herald.

        And it wasn’t so long ago either that FJK was pictured with Sean Plunkett, wearing the “chosen one’s” choice as a shirt!

        So are we seeing another round of corrupt dirty politics coming out to play with this one? I think so.

        10% of votes were invalid or spoiled.

  5. Morrissey 5

    Te Reo, I have submitted a post on this topic three times on Open Mike today, yet it has not appeared. Lynn has just told me he can’t find it; I wonder if you’d be so kind as to have a look if it is being held up for some reason?

    If you can’t find it, I’d be happy to re-submit it.

    • I found this after rummaging around, Moz:

      2015/12/11 at 10:10 am

      The Flag Consideration Panel denies that it pays RNZ National to keep talking about Key’s referendum; is Richard Griffin responsible for it?

      I sent the Flag Consideration Panel an email on Tuesday…..

      From: Morrissey Breen
      Sent: Tuesday, 8 December 2015 5:59 p.m.
      To: Flag Consideration Panel

      Subject: Is the Flag Consideration Panel paying Radio New Zealand to keep talking about the referendum?

      Dear Professor Burrows,

      Many listeners to Jim Mora’s Panel programme on RNZ National are of the opinion that the Flag Consideration Panel has paid Radio New Zealand a sum of money to ensure he speaks about the referendum every day. [1]

      Could you please confirm or deny whether that is true?

      Yours sincerely,
      Morrissey Breen
      Northcote Point

      The next day I received the following reply….

      Dear Morrissey

      Thank you for your email to Professor Burrows. The short answer, is no. RNZ is covering the topic as news.

      As you will appreciate, New Zealand’s consideration of its flag, and the 1st referendum which is still underway, is one of the key topics of conversation in the country right now. Media outlets and commentators all around the country are covering the story (which has had approximately 12,000 news items across NZ since May 2015) as well as international broadcast in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Ireland, Japan, Middle East, Netherlands, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, UK, and the USA.

      The project was reported by Stuff yesterday to be one of the top Twitter trends in New Zealand in 2015:




      I take Suzanne Stephenson’s assurance to be the truth. So why DOES Jim Mora keep flogging this odious dead horse? I think he, or his producers, have been instructed to keep talking about it by someone in senior management, quite possibly the National Party’s placeman Richard Griffin himself. I’m going to ask Griffin if he has issued any instructions to that effect.

      [1] http://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-26112015/#comment-1101379


  6. Lara 6

    Goddam. I wish the idiots who are in charge of the consolidated fund had some damn sense and pride in this country.

    If they did they’d have given the $26 million to DoC to preserve our endangered species and forests.


    • Tory 6.1

      Yea, like buy a run down train set for a small fortune that you previously hocked off to merchant bankers. The left has no substance when it comes to arguing how $ should be spent.

      • ropata 6.1.1

        NZ gross external debt is now $250 billion

        Thanks Tory & Bill English & NACToid Corp™

      • We had no choice, Tory. Your lot ran it into the ground. As they did with Air New Zealand and Solid Energy.

        Your track record is nothing to crow about and if I were you, I’d be thinking twice before raising it as an issue. #backfire.

      • Expat 6.1.3

        Hey Tory, what about nine years of surpluses under Labour and a triple A credit rating, Nats have given us eight years of deficits, a $105B debt ($25000 per every man woman and child) and destroyed the Kiwi dream.

        There has not been an economically successful Nat party since the seventies, every single reign has left the country in a fiscal mess.

        • lprent

          The early 1970s at that. The Nat government from 1975-1984 was an economic disaster.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Actually, it’s more accurate to say that there has never been an economically successful National government.

          The cycle goes like this:

          Left wing governments build up the economy and make everyone feel rich
          Right wing trash the economy

          With Labour going hard Right-wing in the 1980s we’ve only had trashing the economy happening.

          • Expat

            DTB, your absolutely right about the cycle, and each time the harm is increased, and requires more effort to rectify.
            I still find it funny that an MP of the Labour party in the eighties can end up leader of ACT.

  7. Ovid 7

    Very interesting that the black Lockwood only overtook the red at third preferences.


    • Anne 7.1

      No surprise it won. It’s a dismal set of colours and yet the Nat Party pricks voted for it cos the Kiwi Prick in Chief told them to…

      • Tinfoilhat 7.1.1

        Did you vote Anne?

      • BLiP 7.1.2

        Yep, although if it were a FPP vote the winner would have been the silver fern with red in the top left corner.

        574,364 for red vs 552,827 for John Key’s logo.

      • srylands 7.1.3

        That is the most absurd statement I have ever read on here and that takes a lot.

      • Don't worry.Be happy 7.1.4

        Key’s pick was also printed first on all voting papers in a process that the EC itself called “psuedo randomisation”. Apparently this means that the flags position on the papers was “pulled out of a hat”. Yeah right.

      • ngatimozart 7.1.5

        Rubbish, absolute rubbish. This flag referendum is democracy in action and if you didn’t vote then don’t come the raw prawn and whinge about it.

        • McFlock

          Normally I do vote.
          But in this case the old “it just encourages them” line is valid. In the end I wanted no part of it.

        • BLiP

          Choosing not to vote is also democracy in action and does not limit anyone’s right to speak out as they wish. Ignoring the will of the people – as John Key did when he sold out assets – now, that’s NOT democracy in action.

  8. BLiP 8

    Preliminary Results: http://www.electionresults.govt.nz/2015_flag_referendum1/

    WINNER – Option A: Silver Fern (Black, White and Blue).

    The next most preferred flag design was Option E: Silver Fern (Red, White and Blue), followed in order of preference by Option B: Red Peak, Option D: Silver Fern (Black and White) and Option C: Koru.

    The total votes received were 1,527,042, which includes 148,022 informal votes (9.7%) and 2,476 invalid votes (0.16%).

    Voter turnout is 48.16%. Turnout is calculated by taking the total votes received as a percentage of the total number of voters enrolled as at 19 November 2015 (3,170,726).

    The official result for the first referendum on the New Zealand flag will be declared on Tuesday 15 December.

    The second referendum on the New Zealand flag will be held between 3-24 March 2016.

    (emphasis mine)

  9. maui 9

    Well it’s disappointing over 1 million kiwis voted for the Lockwoods logos.

    On the bright side protest votes (148,000) trounced the black & white silver fern (77,000) and hypnoflag (51,000), and even took out red peak (119,000).

  10. Lanthanide 10

    I’m not surprised at the low informal vote.

    A little disappointed that the black and blue won; red and blue was my preference.

    • I’m also a little surprised at the low spoiled vote, but I suppose a majority also gave an informal vote of a kind; registering their opinion by simply binning the ballot papers.

      Edit: Just trying to do the maths. By my calculations, the winning option was supported by about 16% of eligible voters.

      • weka 10.1.1

        Yep, if I had voted I’d have spoilt the papers, but in the end I couldn’t be bothered with the whole thing. The only other time I remember not voting was that Firefighting referendum, where you had to go to a polling station and I simply forgot.

        • BLiP

          Same. As far as I’m concerned its just an exercise in optics to make John Key look good – basically the start of the 2017 election campaign during which we can expect to see whatever logo is chosen wrapped around National Ltd™. Also, I can’t remember where I saw the suggestion, some MSM native-advertising piece, talking about what to do. It said that if a person objected to the exercise on the grounds of it being a waste of money then help reduce the cost and don’t vote. I will, however, be voting in the next referendum. Today’s result confirmed what that vote will be.

          • Anne

            Agreed. I think the word “dreary” sums up the winning logo. Almost certain to ensure the current flag continues, but Johhny boy is going to pull every trick in the book to get his flag permanently flying from the flag poles. A good piece of subliminal advertising for the 2017 election campaign. And the taxpayers will have effectively forked out $25-30 million for the Nat Party’s campaign coffers. 🙂

            • Murray Simmonds

              I’m no political guru by any stretch of the imagination. But didn’t the Key/fern camp simply shoot themselves in the foot by putting up more than one fern option, thereby ensuring a split vote on the part of those who were hell-bent on voting for one or the other of the fernleaves?

              • Lanthanide

                In some ways yes. In other ways no.

                By putting up two very similar options, against 2 very ugly ones, it effectively guaranteed one of those two would make it into the final two after all preferences were counted, and given the other ones were so hideous you could then expect the remaining fern / stars design to take it out. This is because anyone who preferred the fern stars design in a particular colour way would be highly likely to select the alternative colour as their 2nd preference.

                It does allow you the final situation we have now where they ended up at #1 and #2 which may look a bit fishy to people, but it also confirms that it really was the most popular design.

              • BLiP

                . . . But didn’t the Key/fern camp simply shoot themselves in the foot by putting up more than one fern option, thereby ensuring a split vote on the part of those who were hell-bent on voting for one or the other of the fernleaves? . . .

                No, I don’t think John Key has shot himself in the foot, not if the intention of this flag debate is an exercise in optics and division. From that perspective, count it as a major win for Crosby Textor.

      • Lanthanide 10.1.2

        I get 20.88% of eligible voters selecting blue/black fern via full preference allocation.

        • Murray Simmonds

          Yes, Lanth, 20.88%, and that is part of the problem. If it had been a first-past-the-post tallying of the votes, then the red-white-blue fern would have won. It only dropped back to second place after the 3rd and 4th iterations.

          No voting system is perfect – each has its own particular advantages and disadvantages.

          I actually think the majority of legit voters wanted the red-white-blue fern, and when voting would have put the most care into making their first and perhaps second choice(s). After that, a portion at least of the “valid voters” may have distributed their preferences increasingly less carefully (I hesitate to use the word “randomly’).

          The net effect may well be that a lesser-preferred option will now go up against the current flag.

          Jeez, I sometimes wish i were a mathematician. But anyway, as my preference is for the status quo, it doesn’t bother me much one way or the other which of the “top two” goes up against the current flag.

    • Draco T Bastard 10.2

      The informal vote is usually less than 1%. For the 2014 General Election the full amount was 10,861 out of 2,446,279.

      So, no, it wasn’t a low informal vote.

      • Lanthanide 10.2.1

        It was much lower than a lot of commentators were suggesting it would be, for example TRP in this post suggesting that informal vote would be over 50% of the returns.

        • Muttonbird

          But in fact it is an extremely high informal vote compared with both general elections and other referenda.

          You seem reluctant to admit that.

          • Lanthanide

            I’m not reluctant to “admit” anything.

            I’m just saying I’m not surprised the informal vote is a lot lower than some commentators were expecting – I think those people were projecting their own opinion onto the nation as a whole.

            • Muttonbird

              You said it was a low informal vote.

              It was not.

              It was the highest informal vote recent elections and referendums have seen by several orders of magnitude.

              • Lanthanide

                Yes, what I wrote was “I’m not surprised at the low informal vote.”

                What I meant was “I’m not surprised at the low informal vote compared to what various commentators, such as TRP in this post, were predicting”.

                You can choose to think that I’m trying to ‘back-pedal’ because ‘I realised how wrong I was’, or you can think exactly what I am saying – that it is low compared to what a lot of people were expecting. Frankly it doesn’t worry me what you think.

                Obviously this referendum was going to have a higher informal vote than previous referendums, given the general public sentiment as well as the various informal campaigns encouraging people to spoil their ballot. But I honestly hadn’t really thought what the informal votes would likely be – just that I snorted when I read TRP’s prediction of 50%+ informal.

                [I wrote that there was a chance informal might be the winner on the day, Lanth. That’s in a six way race. That doesn’t mean I thought it would get an outright majority, just that there was a possibility it would be the most popular of the six. Mind you, ‘informal’ plus ‘couldn’t be arsed voting’ were actually an outright majority. 😉 TRP]

                • Muttonbird

                  I’m just wary of people like yourself trying to minimise legitimate protest action on this.

                  I’m not aware of anyone apart from the OP putting numbers on the possible protest vote but that it was ten times the normal occurrence is a fact you continue to refuse to accept.

                  • DoublePlusGood

                    In the end though, way too many people meekly complied and made an actual vote, for the flag they were told to.

                  • Lanthanide

                    Please quote specifically where I “refuse to accept” that the protest vote was 10 times higher than a usual referendum.

                • Jester

                  So we are now including the couldn’t be arsed voting block into the protest vote camp.

                  Still trumpeting the missing millions argument TRP 🙂

                  • In this case, it was clear that not voting was a deliberate political act for some people. But obviously, there is no way of quantifying the amount. If there had been an option on the ballot for those disagreed with the whole thing to have their opinion counted, we would have a better idea of the real feeling on the matter. But, clearly, this wasn’t a ballot designed to reflect the democratic will of the people.

  11. cogito 11

    I’ll be voting to keep the current NZ flag.

  12. BM 12

    That was my choice.

    New flag of NZ.

    • DoublePlusGood 12.1

      I think we could have guessed beforehand that you would vote for whatever John Key told you to vote for.

  13. Tory 13

    And the great thing about NZ is you get to vote.

    • maui 13.1

      Hmm, just don’t go looking too hard at voter engagement. I wonder what the turnout was like in lower socio-economic areas.

      • Muttonbird 13.1.1

        Poor people do not matter to Tory.

        • left for deadshark

          Muttonbird…. I think TRP is right in a way, this would had been the easiest vote you could ever make, so counting non votes also as protest vote is quite valid. Not all of coarse, but a good many I would claim.
          Many potheads in the 70’s and 80’s who thought a non vote, was a vote for the weed. When I was in Normal, we encouraged that idea.

      • DoublePlusGood 13.1.2

        Around 20-30%.

    • Draco T Bastard 13.2

      We do? Could have sworn that this government sold our assets against our will.

    • ropata 13.3

      why did FJK keep slamming Labour’s attempts to amend the ballot and save the country $25 million? surely not because its FJK’s pet ego project?

    • galeandra 13.4

      And to express & publish opinions disagreeing with the complacent heavy-handedness of the Toryboys’ Mesomorph Club

  14. BLiP 14


    I’ve uploaded a graphic from the Electoral Commission site to The Standard’s “media library” which shows the breakdown of how the count went if you want to add it to the post??

  15. Muttonbird 15

    Has the blue in the black and blue tea towel “design” changed already?

    I’ve been very aware the black and blue and the red and blue tea towels had markedly different blues.

    This from tonight’s live feed…


    and this is all of them together…


    yet this is the one Key’s pollster is showing on his hate site.


  16. Magisterium 16

    Red Peak was my first choice, but I will happily take any of the candidates over the current flag.

  17. I didn’t vote in this referendum. I had been thinking of either spoiling the ballot or voting in the reverse order of what I guessed would be the popularity of the choices (either the red and blue or black and blue fern would have been last on my list).

    I will be voting to retain the current flag in the next referendum.

    My reasoning is straightforward.

    If a national flag is an important symbol then a change in flag should symbolise an important change. That change should be either constitutional or something of equivalent importance. Currently I see no evidence of such a significant change in relation to the New Zealand nation.

    And I don’t think a sufficient change would be to claim that ‘attitudes’ towards symbolic ties to Britain are significantly more negative than previously. Attitudes are hardly the kinds of thing that should be the basis for changing a constitutional symbol.

    Worse is that changing symbols without substantive change is typically a delaying tactic for that same substantive change. Far from improving the chances of change it achieves the reverse by blunting the impression of a need for change. It assuages to some extent the desire for substantive change.

    Note that despite changing its flag (or, perhaps, because of changing the flag) Canada remains a constitutional monarchy. That, of course, is Key’s position – change the flag but keep the Royal tours coming.

    • ropata 17.1

      All style, no substance
      More PR fluff from NatCorp™

    • Bill 17.2

      That over 1 000 000 people voted speaks huge bad volumes…. 🙁

      Most desperate positive spin I can salvage from the whole steaming pile of shit, is that folks had finished the quiz page in the monthly/weekender or daily and were treating it as a ‘Spot the Difference’ bonus, brainless time waster that landed in the post…

      • Hanswurst 17.2.1

        That over 1 000 000 people voted speaks huge bad volumes…. 🙁

        Yes, it does. It was a higher turnout than for the asset sales referendum. I can’t help but suspect that the next stage will get an even higher turnout. I’m not really sure whether I can be arsed returning to a New Zealand with such screwed-up priorities and leaden political aspirations as what we can see under Key. As much as I shall be happy to see the back of the dickhead when he does wander off or get the boot, I have severe reservations as to whether much will change for the better, irrespective of whether his successor is National or Labour.

    • left for deadshark 17.3

      Here here …Puddleglum 😉

    • Tautoko Mangō Mata 17.4

      +1@ Puddlegum

      If a national flag is an important symbol then a change in flag should symbolise an important change. That change should be either constitutional or something of equivalent importance. Currently I see no evidence of such a significant change in relation to the New Zealand nation.

      Key’s hypocrisy of bringing back Royal honours such as Knighthoods and Dames while pushing for the removal of the Union Jack from the flags is blindingly obvious. My view is that removing the Union Jack from the flag should be done only when NZ dispenses with these honours (which seem to have been misused to some degree to reward National Party donors.)

    • If a national flag is an important symbol then a change in flag should symbolise an important change. That change should be either constitutional or something of equivalent importance. Currently I see no evidence of such a significant change in relation to the New Zealand nation.

      My sentiments exactly. This too:

      Worse is that changing symbols without substantive change is typically a delaying tactic for that same substantive change.

      Yes. It’s not just mistaking style for substance and treating the country’s flag as a company logo, it’s a way of actively avoiding substantive change of the kind that might justify changing the flag.

  18. b waghorn 18

    I find that big black corner jars the eye . I could’ve liked red peak or the red one but I’ll be voting against the black flag.

  19. Wayne 19

    If any of the regular commenters wonder why John Key keeps getting elected, you might want to consider the tone of many of these contributions. When you are trying to persuade your fellow New Zealanders to change their vote, it is not really very sensible to keep insulting them.

    One of the less savory aspects of many of the pro Red Peakers is that they kept publicly saying that those who supported the Kyle Lockwood options were shallow and craven. The effect was probably to increase both the turnout and the support for those two options.

    My prediction on the next referendum – voters will go for change, probably by quite a slim margin. And if that does happen it will have included a significant number of voters on the left.

    • vto 19.1

      Wayne, I don’t think this forum is used for trying to persuade people to change votes is it. It is a forum for debate and discussion, yelling and jumping up and down, ranting at times, and listening and reading at others.

      So yep, your types are shallow and craven and often deserve to be insulted – the lack of criminal sanction for deceit by business people in competition, while maintaining it for beneficiaries for example, is the latest example. What a bunch of nasty wankers eh.

      You will just have to suck it up.

    • Anne 19.2

      My prediction on the next referendum – voters will go for change, probably by quite a slim margin.

      Oooh, you have insider knowledge? Dirty Politics on the rampage again? Who will be running it from the PM’s office this time? Will Slater be getting the contract to handle the output or is there someone new waiting in the wings? Or maybe the votes are going to be ‘bought’ this time around – a kind of reverse National Party Givealittle campaign? Do tell us Wayne. We promise to keep it a secret.

      Btw, I’d be a bit careful cos according to RNZ:


      • Wayne 19.2.1


        I presume you are being ironic. It is simply my prediction. I might be right or I might be wrong. We will all know by March.

        • Molly

          “It is simply my prediction. I might be right or I might be wrong. We will all know by March.”
          All good if your whole intent in participating on this forum is to make predictions and then say “I was right” or alternatively – stay silent and hope no-one mentions it ever again.

          …” you might want to consider the tone of many of these contributions.”
          Wayne, this is what honest, robust, sincere debate and discussion looks like. It is not about being “right” or “winning” the argument, or rigidity in thinking. It is a place for those who are strong enough to have their ideas viewed objectively, and tested, and to respond with either further explanation or concessions.

          I personally have no investment in whether your prediction is accurate or not. You appear to think it would be vindication of your choice, but you have provided no clarity or discussion around the wider issues that usually accompany a change of flag.

          If you are “right” then perhaps someone will give you a chocolate fish.

          But the issues regarding constitution, republic and outdated honours systems remain.

  20. Matthew Hooton 20

    “I will be interested to see what option 6 (spoiled ballot) gets. I think there’s a chance that it will be the winner on the day”

    What a wonderful example of how out of touch of their fellow New Zealanders most authors at The Standard are.

    • Lanthanide 20.1


    • It came a solid third Matthew. And as it wasn’t included as an option in the ballot, it didn’t get to go in the preferential part of the vote counting. If we’d had the ability to tick ‘none of the others’ or ‘no change’ as a first, second, third or fourth preference, it may well have gone significantly further. But this wasn’t about gauging the will of the people, it was about assuaging the ego of the Prime Minister.

    • “I will be interested to see what option 6 (spoiled ballot) gets. I think there’s a chance that it will be the winner on the day”

      What a wonderful example of how out of touch of their fellow New Zealanders most authors at The Standard are.

      Not really, Matthew. Te Reo Putake merely voiced the possibility of “a chance”. Considering the cynicism and/or resentment expressed by many voters that option was a real possibility.

      By contrast, I cannot remember any such discussion taking taking during the Asset Sales Referendum.

      In the end, around ten percent of votes were Informal/invalid (http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/291919/and-the-early-leader-is-option-a). That’s a sizeable chunk.

      Had the Spoil Campaign gained more publicity, the Informal vote may well have been higher.

      • The lost sheep 20.3.1

        ‘The flag referendum is a criminal waste of resources / purely an ego project for JK.
        I support the call to express that view through a protest vote’

        For the sake of the exercise, let’s accept all informal votes as being ‘protests’.

        % of citizens who did vote who made such a protest = 10%
        % of citizens who could have voted that made such a protest = 4.9%

        Given the amount of pre – vote speculation on the level of ‘protest’ feeling, it’s great to have a concrete figure on that. Instead of trying to spin it into something that it isn’t, why not have an honest think about the reality. It clearly indicates that the ‘protest’ view was the view of a smallish minority of citizens.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          You might as well read tea-leaves.

          Prior to the farce, some were saying they’d vote for Hypnoflag in protest. Others felt Red Peak would be a slap in the face for the spiv. Still others, that the best protest was not to return the voting paper at all.

          I think we’re all out-weighed by the huge majority who couldn’t give a stuff. I expect “Number Twos” to lose in March, and as for the real issues, the government’s attitude was articulated perfectly by Mr. Fuxit: “Whatever.”

          • The lost sheep

            Why would i need to read Tea Leaves when I have concrete fact to go on OAB?
            Fact. Only 4.9% of Citizens able to vote responded to the call to make a ‘protest’ vote.
            Fact. By any standard the % of ‘protests’ represents a very small minority of the electorate.
            Fact. 95.1% of the voting population did not feel they needed to register a ‘protest’.

            Tea Leaves. Attributing a specific value such as ‘didn’t give a stuff’ to non voters when you have absolutely no data on which to base any claim about why they did not vote.

            You are hilarious OAB. When it suits your argument you are such a stickler for insisting on ‘evidence’, but when the ‘evidence’ is going against you, you have no scruples about dismissing it out of hand on the basis of utterly unsubstantiated anecdote….

            • lprent

              Fact: About 50% of the voting popuulation didn’t think that this was worth voting on at all. So they didn’t.

              Fact: Of the about 50% who did vote, 10% of them deliberately spoiled their vote.

              Fact: Proportionally this is more than 10x the spoiled vote in any previous referendum or election in NZ. So the campaign was effective at highlighting dissatisfaction with the numpty process that John Key foisted on us to try to get his mark on our history.

              Fact: Assuming that the invalid vote campaign hadn’t gone ahead, and the people who spoiled their vote had not voted, then this would have been the lowest vote for ANY countrywide vote or referendum. Which rather says that this was a really bad campaign by the change the flag proponents – including John Key and his brown nosers.

              Fact: The lost sheep can’t do maths without making a dickhead of himself and lying by omission.

              Speculation: The Lost Sheep shows the same mathematical facility to lie by omission as Nick Smith does. Perhaps that is where he gets his instructions from… Or perhaps he has the same congenital need to lie using numbers…


            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Sheep, my observations were simply that – observations, based on media reports, statements by individuals on Twitter, etc. if you’re so sure of your personal opinion I’m sure you’ll find ways to minimise their significance.

              In other words, it isn’t so much your evidence I’m rejecting as your interpretation of it.

              If I was bothered enough about it I’d probably’ve noticed your lies too, and Lprent beat me to it.

              Have a lovely weekend.

              • The lost sheep


                1. (We all seem willing to accept that) an ‘invalid’ vote was a protest in response to the call for such a protest?

                2. (Lets round it up) 5% of the citizens who were eligible to vote chose to register a protest?

                3. 45% of citizens eligible to vote chose to vote correctly?

                4. 50% of citizens chose not to vote?

                5. We have no data at all available on the reasons for people not voting in this referendum?

                How am I going?
                Please specify the factual or mathematical errors in 1-5 above?

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  5. isn’t quite true: as I said, we have various opinions and statements in social media. Not to mention my own reasons. However, as I said, of those who neglected to vote I expect the main reason for that is apathy, rather than protest.

                  Hardly a controversial statement I feel. Obviously you feel differently, and what Lprent said.

                  • The lost sheep

                    So if you agree my data on 1-4 is factually and mathematically correct, and you also agree that 5 is unverifiable but more likely to be apathy…

                    I look forward to having lprent explain how my maths makes me a dickhead and a liar by admission?

                    The only interpretation of that data I made was that the 5% of identified protest was a small minority of the electorate.
                    If you agree with the above OAB, on what grounds do you disagree with that?
                    5% is a small minority?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      No, I simply don’t care enough to check your figures: if Lprent says you’re full of shit I’m quite happy to take his word for it: after all it wouldn’t be the first time.

                    • The lost sheep

                      You can check my figures by following the links in the post OAB. I think you’ll find they are correct.

                      I find it strange that you can’t be bothered doing so in this case, when you are normally so fastidious about the requirement to base discussions on credible evidence.
                      If I was cynical, I might even think it is because you know very well that the evidence will substantiate my figures, and you would then have to concede my point….

                      if Lprent says you’re full of shit I’m quite happy to take his word for it

                      Yes, I’m still waiting for lprent to respond myself.
                      I don’t know how it works in the intellectual kind of world you guys inhabit, but in the mainly working class sphere i have lived in most of my life, when you call someone a liar and a dickhead, and then challenge them to discuss those points, and that person does…. it is considered polite to respond?
                      (Actually, a lack of response in that situation is normally defined in more robust terms.)

    • RedBaronCV 20.4

      Yep we get it – your priorities are spend money on flags, not dying Kauri forests , cancer treatments or any other items that might make the lives of real kiwis better.
      Nacts legacy will be american style trailer parks -not this.

    • Pascals bookie 20.5

      Hoots, just for the record, the mood of New Zealand, going by the referendum results was ‘can’t be bothered’.

  21. One Anonymous Bloke 21

    Embarrassing. The most popular runner-up: “number twos” as it were, up against the tired incumbent. Not what you’d call a dream ticket.

  22. Tory 22

    In 2013 this site announced that 900,000 votes against asset sales was a victory for the “no asset sale referendum”. Using that precident the approx 1.4 million of valid votes for a new flag is a significant victory, something that commentators here just won’t be able to stomach. Not unsimilar to the last election results 😀

    • One Anonymous Bloke 22.1

      That’s an optimistic way to spin it. Keep your chin up. Perhaps “Number Twos” will pull through.

    • galeandra 22.2

      As with other folk I know who voted, the vote was undertaken to try to ensure that the least bad option topped the list. Sadly we failed.
      I still intend, as do they, to vote for the awful flag we currently have, rather than for the commercial logo preferred by our ill-educated bloke-ish PM. Maybe in ten years or so we can repeat the process properly, without the vanity.

    • Using that precident [sic] the approx 1.4 million of valid votes for a new flag is a significant victory…

      You’re pushing the spin a wee bit, Tory.

      The “approx 1.4 million of valid votes” was not for a “new flag”. Those votes were spread across five options – not for any one particular choice.

      The real vote for “a new flag” comes next year.

      At which point you’ll no doubt change your pseudonym again and put a new spin on the defeat of the alternative-vs-“Old Blue”.

      It’s interesting also to note that 150,498 Informal/Invalid votes (9.86%) was significantly higher than the 5,752 Informal/Invalid Votes (0.42%) for the Asset Sales Referendum (http://www.elections.org.nz/events/2013-citizens-initiated-referendum/results-2013-citizens-initiated-referendum)

      Which suggests voters took the asset sales referendum a darn sight more seriously than this Vanity Project by our esteemed Dear Leader.

      Key should stick to photo ops with All Blacks.

  23. Sanctuary 23

    The way in which the John Key fanbois/National supporters are pushing this flag debate – in which a politicised vote that produces a mere plurality is deemed good enough to impose their will on the rest of us – is symptomatic of their divisive approach to our society and of their blithe delegitimisation of any opposition beyond the 50% + 1 they think they need to further their agenda. They seem quite happy to be involved in a historic disaster of creating a flag that will be emblematic of division and identified with a political and class faction of our society rather than representing all New Zealanders. That is why this process is so flawed; Regardless of the merits of the design it is the personal vanity project of a prime minister who relies on a cult of personality to commands a mere pluarilty of support amongst the electorate, and as such it will NEVER be accepted by a huge chunk of New Zealanders.

    What these arrogant right wing morons don’t seem to grasp – and don’t seem to care about anyway – is flying John Key’s flag will be seen as politically insulting to huge numbers of New Zealanders as demanding the Tino Rangatiratanga be given equal status is to white cracker sentiments.

    George Stanley, in his memorandum on the what became the new Canadian flag, warned that any new flag “must avoid the use of national or racial symbols that are of a divisive nature” and that it would be “clearly inadvisable” to create a flag that carried either a Union Jack or a fleur-de-lis. In our context, the new design is already divisive and seen as a symbol of the National party and it’s desire to impose it’s cultural homogenity on all of us. And it it is clearly inadvisable to create a flag that carries so many design concepts favoured by one man, who leads one politically faction.

    To my mind, a change to the flag via a referendum needs a very high threshold – like at least a two thirds majority in a referendum – to be legitimate.

    • Expat 23.1

      Here, here

    • Anne 23.2

      What these arrogant right wing morons don’t seem to grasp – and don’t seem to care about anyway – is flying John Key’s flag will be seen as politically insulting to huge numbers of New Zealanders…

      Exactly Sanctuary.

      What is blindingly obvious to everyone except the right wing morons is that this was a cynical political ploy right from Day One. This flag was designed to be the National Party symbol of power and dominance. In other words, New Zealand is to become New Zealand Inc. owned and run by the National Party. How else to explain their inexplicable choice of a flag decked in funeral colours of blue and black with a bit of white – their own colours!

      And if the right wing morons who frequent this site jump up and down just look at the various ‘twitterings’ by members of the Nat Party caucus jumping up and down with variations of gleeful… look everyone we won. We won everybodeee… we’re so clever.

      Infantile and boorish beyond words.

  24. Sanctuary 24

    Could someone delete those first two multiple comments please?

  25. It’s all over the daily mail! We haven’t had the second part of the referendum yet but hey (his is the flag we’re getting! The papers globally say so! But conspiring? Never! We have a real democracy and our government really listens to us the people.

  26. Wayne 26

    MMP was introduced by a a bare majority, in a sense that it only needed 50% plus one. And that has been the case with all binding referenda to date.

    Scotland would have gone independent on 50% plus one and that is surely a bigger issue than the NZ flag.

  27. Smilin 27

    Why we have to put up with this pathetic waste of time money and emotional angst from te power of 1 is beyond reason and this is only one of them
    The money alone as has been mentioned would give a significant boost areas screaming for support all through this govts reign of unbelievable attacks on social and medical spending for what bs commitments to Pandas, the war on terror,TPPA foreign business cock up commitments
    The lack of addressing the problems of our Pacific Island dependencies to build plush accommodation for our diplomats overseas and wasteful govt spending at home
    So unbalanced a sign of the arrogant egocentric brain disorder the PM suffers from no doubt about that
    Democracy what ? a sham

  28. doug stuart 28

    our current flag is a british naval flag the blue ensign with some stars added,its time to get rid of our colonial past and change the flag.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 28.1

      What has that got to do with John Key’s vanity project?

      I think we can do a lot better than “Number Twos”, and the process needs to be conducted with genuine consultation and country-wide buy-in. Key is far too divisive a figure to be the mouthpiece of such an event.

      An own goal if ever there was one.

  29. TeWhareWhero 29

    I posted this on the other flag thread but last time I looked it hadn’t appeared so …

    We are still connected constitutionally to Britain so why change the flag unless we intend to cut all those links and become a republic?

    On a Kiwi passport it says that the ‘Governor General in the Realm of NZ requests in the name of Her Majesty The Queen …..’ the passport holder is a NZ citizen and a subject of the monarch of the UK.

    If the flag is changed, the NZ coat of arms will have to be changed so that the Britannia figure is carrying the new flag. And if we are to cut all the visual links to the UK – which is the logic underpinning some people’s opposition to the current modified British naval ensign – the crown over the coat of arms would have to go.

    So, will there be a call for an entirely new coat of arms which would require another design exercise and another referendum? Cartoonists, on your marks.

    • Puddleglum 29.1

      Then, of course, there’s the strange inconsistency that those wishing to symbolically sever ties to colonialist Britain seem not to have noticed that the name of the country is based on a province in the first European global colonial, naval and merchant power.

      When is the referendum to change the name of the country from ‘New Zealand’? How can people put up with such an offensive relic of the European colonial past?

      Calling themselves ‘New Zealanders’ must make them barf.

      Aotearoa anyone?

      • Draco T Bastard 29.1.1

        I’m in favour of Aotearoa but then I’m in favour of replacing all British place names in NZ with Māori names where known. If there isn’t a known Māori name then the British name remains.

        • weka

          AFAIK Aotearoa was a name for the North Island with Te Waipounamu for the South Island (although there were earlier names too).

          It would be very interesting to see if a NZ government could facilitate a discussion on a country name change 😉

        • marty mars

          Yep me too Draco but I suspect that society as we know it will have collapsed before that ever happens and then it won’t really matter what the name/s is/are.

      • lprent 29.1.2

        …the first European global colonial, naval and merchant power.

        Second. The Portuguese were probably the first everywhere. Mostly the Dutch just came along and evicted them.

        Possibly third. The Venetians made a pretty good trade empire reaching across most of Eurasia, and a naval empire in the Med

        • Puddleglum

          Yes, the Portuguese tried to master the slave trade but the Dutch did it better.

          I took my (reasonably off-hand) estimation of the Dutch colonial hegemony as amounting to the first ‘global reach’ colonial power from Acemoglu and Robinson’s book ‘Why Nations Fail‘.

          [I have my disagreements with their analysis but the history they recount is fascinating. I’d recommend the book purely for that reason.]

          Chapter 9 (‘Reversing Development’) begins with a discussion of the Indonesian archipelago and its centrality to the spice trade. In 1511 Portugal captured Melaka (west coast of the Malaysian Peninsula) in an attempt to control the spice trade but, as Acemoglu and Robinson put it (p. 246) “With Melaka in their hands, the Portuguese systematically tried to gain a monopoly of the valuable spice trade. They failed.

          They then go on to say “The presence of Europeans swelled and had a much greater impact with the arrival of the Dutch.

          The interesting aspect of the original colonial efforts is that, of course, they were primarily about economic exploitation and were initially carried out by companies (English East India Company, Dutch East India Company).

          So I completely accept your correction.

      • The lost sheep 29.1.3

        As a master of language PG, I’m sure you’re aware that consistency with the contemporary context has never been a requirement for the continued acceptance of names and symbols.

        Such matters stay constant or change according to the complex and chaotic human process of ‘usage’, and there is fuck all that logical consistency can do about that.

        • Puddleglum

          consistency with the contemporary context has never been a requirement for the continued acceptance of names and symbols

          Entirely agree. I was trying to highlight that point (slightly provocatively).

          But when an argument is presented to legitimate those chaotic processes behind people’s preferences then that argument can be exposed as inconsistent or even baseless.

          I have no problem with people simply declaring that it really irks them to see the Union Jack in the corner of the New Zealand flag while, by contrast, the term ‘New Zealand’ does not. I’m all for people declaring preferences and predispositions – it’s very human and needs no justification (it’s just what is).

          Once the justificatory rhetoric begins, however, then I think we have not just a right but perhaps a responsibility to respond to the justification that’s been advanced – if only to shed some light on the real basis of people’s inclinations and feelings. That helps improve everybody’s understanding of what’s at stake in the discussion.

          • The lost sheep

            The flag will not change unless a sufficient number of The People approve of it, and an insufficient number of The People dis-approve it. That’s usage. Neither you me or John Key can control it.
            Personally I hope it will, mainly because my kids are strongly of the opinion the current one represents a past they do not identify with.
            But my pick would be that the status quo will prevail slightly. There is that well known bias towards the status quo to overcome, and my feeling is there is not enough momentum for change to overcome that.

            But I’m thrilled we agree that we don’t need to re-consider the appropriateness of every name or symbol. I can only take so many referenda!

  30. Expat 30

    Please excuse my cynicism, but any statistical information presented by this Govt is dubious, verging on down right dishonest, the whole FLAG process is a clear example.

  31. Slippery 31

    I’m sure China already has the contract for all the replacement weetbix logos (govt departments)
    & would’nt be surprised if you the ‘new’ flags haven’t been ordered already, we have been distracted by the illusion of democracy when in reality NZ’s NWO corporate logo has already been decided long ago by FJK + his bankster puppet masters. Imagine that – any New NZ ‘flags’ are all made in China no doubt. Buy NZ made huh (yet another joke).

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