John Key’s flag – an exercise in optics

Written By: - Date published: 7:30 am, February 17th, 2016 - 265 comments
Categories: brand key, crosby textor, john key, russel norman - Tags:

What would the adoption of John Key’s flag symbolise? Well, nothing, really. There’s no change to New Zealand’s governance, there’s no adoption of a new constitution, no change in the relationship between the Crown and tangata whenua, nope, there’s nothing nationally significant about it at all. Its just a cynical exercise in manipulative feel-good politics designed to appeal to emotion and make John Key look good.

No one has summed this up more accurately than Russel Norman back in July last year . . .

 

265 comments on “John Key’s flag – an exercise in optics”

  1. This is why I will be voting for our current flag. Until we as a nation have a full conversation on who we are as a nation then talking about the flag has no meaning.

    • Kevin 1.1

      Exactly.

      • gsays 1.1.1

        Speaking of the flag,
        when is the trial of the prominent person under massive suppression orders?

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 1.2

      The depth of meaning to John Key can be summed up by his comments to More FM:

      “How much is it worth ultimately if we change our flag and people recognise and buy our products? Basically in the end it’s gonna be worth billions over time.”

      Values worth fighting for?

      • Tautuhi 1.2.1

        A new flag ain’t gunna sell anymore Milk!!!!

      • Mosa 1.2.2

        Like with ponytails Key is obsessed with the word billions
        TPPA worth billions over 80 years
        Flag worth billions over 80 years
        Son Maxwell aims to be a billionaire in a shorter time frame
        Aiming to get NZ debt to $100 billion very soon
        Making sure NZ has 30 billionaires instead of one
        again in a short space of time.
        Money obsession

  2. Nck 2

    I miss Russel Norman….. A big loss for NZ….. Excellent points he makes in the video…… Refreshing

  3. Lanthanide 3

    I was going to vote for the new flag, if it was Lockwood’s red and blue. I was on the fence with the black and blue.

    What tipped me over, is John Key turning up at the start of this year with a label pin for the new flag design, wearing it as if it *is* our flag right now and copying the worst patriotic crap that American politicians engage in (Obama was roundly criticised by the press when he refused to wear the label pin, and now he’s fallen back in line).

    • Whispering Kate 3.1

      I agree, to me wearing that oversized pin is just so disgustingly “patriotic crap” as you say – also it says a lot about how “No Name” so disrespects our existing flag. It smacks of lack of protocol and bad manners but then he never had any manners to speak of from the start. Whoever teaches our country’s representatives how to behave in the correct manner just haven’t managed it with him at all. As the old school say – no breeding. I personally prefer our existing flag because it hangs proud and is a good design and is a flag, not a tea towel advertising slogan.

      • Lanthanide 3.1.1

        Yes, the pin he’s wearing is ‘oversized’, which is another mark against it. Presumably he got it that large so people would be able to see and easily recognise it isn’t actually our flag (and probably won’t be).

        • Kevin 3.1.1.1

          The fact that the pin is oversized also shows that it does not work as a flag, as has been pointed out by those who design them.

          • Lanthanide 3.1.1.1.1

            Agreed. If it was the red/blue lockwood, then the need to oversize it would be lessened, compared to the blue/black variant.

      • miravox 3.1.2

        Yes, The prime minister should definitely be wearing the current flag – he is the prime minister after all.

        ” As the old school say”
        Strange – many of us have ‘no breeding’ (and it’s old school snarkiness like that, which makes life a whole lot harder) and we’re still able to learn manners and understand protocol.

        As it happens – the PM does have ‘breeding’ (revolting concept) growing up in a state house didn’t mean you were at the bottom of the socio-economic pile, just that the state was active in providing housing.

        I’d vote for the old flag because, as the post says, a new one now has no constitutional changes that go along with it.

        And hypno flag is gone.

        • Whispering Kate 3.1.2.1

          Miravox – since when has status had anything to do with breeding. I had no intention of giving that impression at all. Breeding cuts across all status in our societies. It is an innate sense of knowing what’s right or wrong, a consideration of others and a sensitivity to the occasion whatever it is. I come from steerage immigrants and my grandparents were always considerate of others and knew how to react sensitively. When they arrived they were dirt poor and they were never wealthy throughout their lives but they had plenty of grace. Some people are just clueless and can be cringe making – sometimes the situation is so obvious to do the correct thing – like knowing when to stop or leave before you make a complete ass out of yourself. As for “Old School” – you may think what you like, to me it means “once upon a time” when people were taught to be fair and watchful of their manners, to not be someone who people want to steer clear of. Wearing that oversized lapel pin is a perfect example of not being sensitive to the existing flag – it is a gauche ignorant thing to do.

          • Tony Veitch (not the partner-bashing 3rd rate broadcaster) 3.1.2.1.1

            Whispering Kate – Tobais Smollett nailed it over 200 years ago – perhaps he could imagine the rise of men like John Key!!

            “. . . men of low birth, and no breeding, have found themselves suddenly translated into a state of affluence, unknown to former ages; and no wonder that their brains should be intoxicated with pride, vanity and presumption.” Humphrey Clinker: Tobais Smollett, 1771

        • weka 3.1.2.2

          “Yes, The prime minister should definitely be wearing the current flag – he is the prime minister after all.”

          Although to be fair, he’s a pseudo-PM so wearing an oversized pin to prompt people to vote for his branding is somethign we can be relaxed about 😉

    • Matthew Hooton 3.2

      I agree that if a prime minister is to wear a flag lapel pin, he or she should always wear the existing New Zealand flag.

      • cogito 3.2.1

        “a prime minister”

        Been a while since we had one of those.

      • Puddleglum 3.2.2

        Entirely agree.

        For a moment I thought the non-existent flag he was wearing as a pin might be him showing that he was signing the TPP wearing his ordinary New Zealander ‘John Key’ hat and not his hat as Prime Minister.

        After all, it’s clearly hard to judge in what capacity he is acting from moment to moment as he has reminded us recently.

      • CnrJoe 3.2.3

        Makes KeyreepyPee.M the leader of Kyle Lockwood.com

      • Martin C 3.2.4

        I’ve noticed that too Matthew. Good point!
        It’s like he’s trying to persuade us into a certain type of choice rather than being neutral.

    • cogito 3.3

      A new flag should be a symbol that represents and encapsulates the spirit of all NZers, not the egotistical ambitions of one corrupt politician.

  4. Alex Stone 4

    ‘What would the adoption of John Key’s flag symbolise?’

    It appears that throughout this exercise, we haven’t looked carefully at the symbolism of colour.

    Black and blue.

    What are the word associations with that?

    We live in a country with appallingly high levels of domestic and sexual violence.

    A black and blue flag.

    Would you like to explain the symbolism of that to your children?

    • Whispering Kate 4.1

      Clever.

      • John Shears 4.1.1

        Here are the opening verses of the song Black & Blue by Waller & Razaf. A real blues number.

        Cold empty bed, springs hard as lead
        Pains in my head, feel like old Ned
        What did I do to be so black and blue?

        No joys for me, no company
        Even the mouse ran from my house
        All my life through I’ve been so black and blue

  5. Sabine 5

    well considering that my choice “HypnoFlag” is not in the running anymore, i now of course must vote to keep our Flag.
    KOF 🙂

  6. Puckish Rogue 6

    I’m voting for the new flag but only because I quite like the look of it not because its what John Key wants

    Also its a lot better then the current flag

    • cogito 6.1

      “not because its what John Key wants”

      Of course not. LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL.

      • Puckish Rogue 6.1.1

        Of course I forgot we on the right are a hive mind. No I think the design is good, its better then the black and white silver fern John Key originally wanted and I think the blue/black combination is more pleasing to the eye then red/blue

        But hey believe what you want

        • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1.1

          Of course I forgot we on the right are a hive mind.

          Correct, you are. Why else do you think we have one right-wing party and several left-wing ones?

          • James 6.1.1.1.1

            Act?

            • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1.1.1.1.1

              So if wingnuts don’t have a hive mind how is it that you all tell exactly the same lies?

            • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1.1.1.2

              0.1% of the vote and dropping. It’s not worth counting as a separate party as the only way they can get a seat is when National tells National voters in Epsom to vote for Act.

      • weka 6.1.2

        “Of course not. LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL.”

        Ha, ha, that’s exactly what I thought when I read PR’s comment.

      • McFlock 6.1.3

        damned right

    • pat 6.2

      is it a coincidence your initials are PR?

    • Vinnie 6.3

      Puckish Rogue
      Are the aesthetic qualities of a flag that important. I doubt many people display flags around their home for the sake of beauty. What is important is what a Flag means. You’re fooling yourself to think “you like the look of it” is enough of a reason to vote.

      • Puckish Rogue 6.3.1

        Fine then.

        By the look of it I mean I like the blue representing the ocean that surrounds us, the black which is associated with the national colours of our sports teams, the silver fern which represents our flora and the southern cross which signifies our place in the world and also pays homage nicely to our former colonial ties

        Also as a colour scheme predominantly blue, black and white is aesthetically pleasing (kind of like the Kaikorai rugby club)

        • weka 6.3.1.1

          Yeah, that’s why you’re a fool. Meaning in this context doesn’t mean branding and it doesn’t mean picking random elements that one likes. A flag needs to have gravitas.

        • Kevin 6.3.1.2

          What have sports teams got do with the designing of a flag?

          I doubt whether this has been a consideration for any other country that has changed its flag.

          • alwyn 6.3.1.2.1

            @Kevin
            Of course it was.
            The Canadian Prime Minister at the time they changed their flag was a fan of the NHL team “The Toronto Maple Leafs”.

            • Kevin 6.3.1.2.1.1

              So, one then. And dubious rationale to boot.

              • alwyn

                I don’t really think that was the reason but being a fan was apparently true,
                The real reason was, I imagine, getting rid of the Union Jack to pacify the Quebecois.

        • McFlock 6.3.1.3

          lol

          How does a Southern Cross pay homage to our “colonial ties”/current head of state?

          The deep oceans that surround us are more navy blue than a garish bright blue.

          • Puckish Rogue 6.3.1.3.1

            Try being honest for a change and just admit this is less about the flag and more about John Key

            • McFlock 6.3.1.3.1.1

              Oh, definitely. It’s all a John Key vanity project fully-funded by the taxpayer.

              Flags are essentially arbitrary bits of cloth which need to be distinct and consistent to aid identification. Beyond that, whether one thinks a particular design is attractive is purely subjective, and the symbolism of non-photographic designs is essentially just a measure of what direction one wishes to spin things at the time.

              Some people have a closer attachment to flags, but flag-worship is an Americanism. We know we’re NZers, we don’t need to fly the flag everywhere to remind ourselves of that. It’s just some fetish dunnokeyo picked up while overseas.

    • Dialey 6.4

      You only “quite like it”? Not really a reason for changing the flag.

      • Puckish Rogue 6.4.1

        Fine then.

        By the look of it I mean I like the blue representing the ocean that surrounds us, the black which is associated with the national colours of our sports teams, the silver fern which represents our flora and the southern cross which signifies our place in the world and also pays homage nicely to our former colonial ties

        Also as a colour scheme predominantly blue, black and white is aesthetically pleasing (kind of like the Kaikorai rugby club)

    • BM 6.5

      I’m voting for the new flag.
      We’re no longer a colonial out post, so the union jacks time is up.

      • miravox 6.5.1

        “We’re no longer a colonial out post”

        Well, not of the UK anyway.

        Still, our constitutional arrangements and head of state suggests we are.

        • BM 6.5.1.1

          First steps, but the sooner we get rid of those, the better.

          I reckon it will still be another 15-20 years before that happens though , got to wait until the current crop of oldies disappear.

          • Colonial Viper 6.5.1.1.1

            I’ll be interested to see a demographic breakdown of how many oldies versus how many youngies vote for each flag. I have a feeling that the results may be surprising.

            • miravox 6.5.1.1.1.1

              I suspect you might be right cv.

              And BM – all at once is the way to go, imo.

            • BM 6.5.1.1.1.2

              I think most oldies will vote to keep the flag.

              There’s been quite rapid change in NZ and a lot of the oldies who grew up in mono-culture, isolated NZ have struggled with that.

              A change of flag would be the end for quite a few of them, I reckon.

              • BLiP

                Yep, I’m sure there is lots of support for our flag amongst the oldies. Yet, oddly enough, “Under 30s prefer the current flag more than other age group.” –> http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1602/S00190/nz-flag-referendum-update-feb-2016.htm

                • weka

                  Wow. I haven’t looked at the validity of the survey, but this is pretty damning,

                  >Two thirds of New Zealanders prefer the current New Zealand flag.

                  >Two thirds of those almost certain or very likely to participate in the referendum prefer the current New Zealand flag.

                  >More people have indicated they are likely to participate in the 2nd referendum than in the 1st, ‘almost certain’ to participate has increased 20% between asking before the 1st referendum and before the 2nd referendum.

                  >Under 30s prefer the current flag more than other age groups.

                  >National voters are 50/50 on changing the flag.

                  >Two thirds of respondents agreed that ‘The flag referendum has been a distraction and a waste of money. New Zealanders should send John Key a message by voting for the current flag.’ Of National voters, 47% agree with this statement.

            • swordfish 6.5.1.1.1.3

              Your intuition may well prove to be bang on, CV.

              One’s Good-Self will be posting the last 18 months’ worth of opinion polls on the flag referendum with demographic breakdowns (where available) on one’s blog tomorrow morning.

              Looks like the 18-34s are, indeed, the most opposed to a flag change, with the over 55s most supportive (though both age groups are clearly opposed overall, just the younger ones more emphatically so, and the oldsters stats may well hide a significant divide between the Hippy Generation – roughly 55-70 year olds – who I suspect are fairly evenly divided, and the Pre-Boomer over 70s (the so-called Silent and Veteran generations) – who I would speculate are as strongly opposed as younger NZers, if not more so).

      • Skinny 6.5.2

        I’m joining thousands of Kiwis proudly marching city streets waving our current flag and highlighting what a waste of taxpayers millions Natcorp are spending!

        Very confident a bigger rent a crowd will turn up in Auckland than the protest against the sham corporate deal signing!

      • Phil 6.5.3

        We’re no longer a colonial out post, so the union jacks time is up.

        If Key had pitched the flag referendum to the public as “this is the first step in a process of full constitutional reform and legal separation from the monarchy” then I think he’d be on track to have the flag changed.

    • Sabine 6.6

      yes dear. of course dear.

    • AB 6.7

      Interesting.
      The flag should be:
      a.) beautiful
      b.) say something about us (all of us), our history, and this place.

      On a.) the JK preference looks a touch cheap and nasty. It would look fine as a logo on a 500g block of butter. It lacks that arresting quality of really beautiful objects that you can’t stop looking at.
      On b.) I’m sorry, but the JK preference is an ahistorical piece of trash. The current flag with the union jack in the corner at least shows our place as a late (and somewhat reluctant) acquisition of the British Empire. Doesn’t have too much to say about the natives though.

      Because I think b.) is really important I’m still a fan of the 1835 United Tribes flag. I expect most kiwis wouldn’t agree though – on the whole we are an amnesiac bunch.

  7. cogito 7

    “What would the adoption of John Key’s flag symbolise?”

    It would be a giant Key-shoved fern-shaped dildo up the privates of every NZer.

  8. cogito 8

    Last weekend I drive the best part of 1200kms across the South Island.

    I saw the current NZ flag flying high from loads of businesses and private houses. The best one was a giant NZ flag flying high from the top of the Dunedin railway station.

    I saw just two Lockwood tea towels.

    **KOF**.

    • Rosie 8.1

      Thats great cogito 😀 Awhile ago on newshrub they interviewed residents of a street in Invercargill. Every house in the street had the NZ flag flying. One woman who was interviewed said it was because she didn’t like Key.

      Bring on 3rd March!

      • Puckish Rogue 8.1.1

        Shame it doesn’t convert into votes eh

        • One Two 8.1.1.1

          Imagine having a mind which is so restricted, and void of imagination that it compels one to spend energy at a blog site, with no agenda other than to sneer, cheer and smear

          • alwyn 8.1.1.1.1

            That is very true. Now I undeerstand why you and weka comment here.
            “mind which is so restricted, and void of imagination”
            “with no agenda other than to sneer, cheer and smear”.

        • weka 8.1.1.2

          18 months until we vote PR, plenty of time for Key to keep being humiliated, for more people to get sick of the bullshit, and for the protests to shift the election.

          tick tock.

      • cogito 8.1.2

        The good people of Invers hate the tea towel. They tore it down from Queen’s Park a few times and one guy hung one upside down with a cross through it.

    • Chooky 8.2

      +100 cogito…and i am going to boycott any businesses that fly jonkey’s corporate flag…

      …my money and vote goes to the existing New Zealand flag with all its New Zealand history of the Treaty of Waitangi and our forebears…out of respect

      • cogito 8.2.1

        🙂

        The right time will come for a change of flag, but not now, and not with Key pushing it, and not with an ugly tea towel as the alternative.

  9. Bob 9

    “What would the adoption of John Key’s flag symbolise?”
    A few points, as far as I am aware it’s not “John Key’s” flag, he did mention that he wanted a flag with a silver fern on it, but from memory the NZ public chose this particular flag in the recent referendum, happy to be proven wrong on this though.
    Secondly, to me, the change of flag is a symbolic gesture. The UK have continually fucked over our country and yet we happily promote them every time we are on the international stage. From content for te tiriti o Waitangi, to cutting trade ties when they joined the EU leaving us in a whole we are still climbing out of, to the continued tightening of migration laws, to now charging NZers to access healthcare when on a work visa, why the fuck do we want to keep the Union Jack on our flag???

    The attempts to link this flag to John Key piss me off no end, we finally have a chance to at least symbolically give the middle finger to ‘mother England’ and people seem more interested in trying to make this about local politics.

    If you have some kind of affinity to the current flag, fine, give those reasons and stand by it, but don’t give me this “I hate it cos John Key likes it” bullshit.

    • BLiP 9.1

      John Key said he wanted a new flag. John Key said he wanted a fern on the flag and that he backed the black’n’blue design. John Key brought back the English honours system. John Key simpered and gloated all over the media when he got to have a cuppa with Her Majesty. John Key obtained Her Majesty’s permission to give Prince Charles three extra honours when he visited last year. John Key is BFF with Cameron.

      The adoption of John Key’s flag only “looks” like New Zealand is distancing itself from England. Geddit? Nothing has changed. The Queen is still head of state. Her representative in New Zealand, the Governor-General has to sign off all legislation. And you can bet your bottom dollar John Key will be fawning all over which ever member of the English royal family is next to visit.

      • Rosie 9.1.1

        +1BLiP

      • miravox 9.1.2

        Exactly BLiP

        btw – love the flag optics graphic. I’d quite like to use it as my FB cover until the referendum, if that’s allowed?

      • Bob 9.1.3

        And it was Labour that abolished the English honours system when last in power, Labour that removed our ability to appeal to the Privy Council, Labour that rightly started the process of distancing ourselves from the UK and all of the bullshit baggage that goes with it. Labour even had changing the flag in their policy manifesto for the past 3 elections!!!
        The only reason you seem to be against the change is because the last three elections didn’t go the way you wanted. That seems like a pretty petty bullshit reason to not change the flag to me.

        • BLiP 9.1.3.1

          If you care to read the post, you will see that the reason I object to changing the flag at this time is because it signifies nothing, its a meaningless gesture designed only to make John Key look good. In effect, John Key is displaying a total lack of respect for New Zealand by using the nation’s flag as part of his and National Ltd™’s PR strategy. His total lack of respect extended into the functioning of parliament and the democratic process which he corrupted in order to put the change of flag onto the agenda. Fortunately, its not working out quite how he would have liked.

          As it happens, I would like to see a change of flag but only when it is a meaningful action and the processes are open, just, and in accordance with the spirit of democratic government. I’d also like something even just a little more appealing than the wheetbix-packet logo John Key finagled.

          • Bob 9.1.3.1.1

            “As it happens, I would like to see a change of flag but only when it is a meaningful action and the processes are open, just, and in accordance with the spirit of democratic government”
            Wow, so you really are only voting against the change because John Key likes it, that really is petty at whole new levels.
            The process was open, in fact it was open to the point of excessive expense (as was pointed out many times). Cabinet only had say in the final sign off, which they made no changes too, John Keys first choice didn’t even make the final 4!
            Tell yourself whatever you like, you are caught up in anti-Key sentiment and are willing to openly cut off your nose to spite your face.

            • framu 9.1.3.1.1.1

              “so you really are only voting against the change because John Key likes it”

              no – its the way the change has been promoted, organised and managed despite there being no popular mood for change

              you really should stop putting word into others mouths

              • Bob

                “no – its the way the change has been promoted, organised and managed despite there being no popular mood for change”

                You mean the process by which, for the first time in world history the people of a country will decide on both whether we change our flag, and what the design will be by way of referendum?
                You are right, we should have just been told we are getting a new flag and what it will look like, similar to the way 49 of the other 53 members of the Commonwealth were: http://www.nzflagsolutions.coolnz.net/imagelinks/commonwealth.htm

                • framu

                  wow bob – you really go out of your way to miss the point dont you

                  i mean the way it was promoted organised and managed – not that we got to choose from 5 designs selected at the end of that process

                  pull your head out mate

            • BLiP 9.1.3.1.1.2

              I see you struggle with comprehension of the English language and the structuring of coherent argument. You are also are missing important information, particularly in relation to the select committee stages of the enabling legislation and the ordering of the referenda questions.

      • AB 9.1.4

        Yep – and Key will love his knighthood when he gets it. He doesn’t want to distance himself from Britain at all.

    • cogito 9.2

      “to now charging NZers to access healthcare when on a work visa, why the fuck do we want to keep the Union Jack on our flag???”

      What planet are you living on? The fact that kiwis were given FREE healthcare in the UK until now when they had never contributed one penny to the NHS is unbelievable!

      Brits coming to NZ never got that! Nor do kiwis in NZ get that.

      • Bob 9.2.1

        Don’t comment on things you obviously know nothing about. If you have a work visa (as I stated above) then you are working in the UK, and as part of that you are forced to pay towards NHS at the same rate as residents. We previously had the same rights to healthcare as brits if we were working over there, and brits had the same rights to healthcare as we do if they are in NZ. One of those situations has changed, can you figure out which one?

        • BLiP 9.2.1.1

          The additional charges do not apply if a person is in the UK for less than six months or, for those staying longer, if a person has a family member who has EU residency regardless of whether they are employed or not. But why are you and John Key going on about this now? The changes were announced months and months ago. I hope you haven’t been caught up in the contrived outrage over this which is being rolled out as part of the Dirty Politics strategy to garner support for changing the flag. Hating on the UK for changing its rules – even when most Kiwis will not be affected – is just more emotional manipulation.

          • Bob 9.2.1.1.1

            “The additional charges do not apply if a person is in the UK for less than six months”
            Because you can stay up-to 6 months without a visa, which is why I specifically mentioned it (for the third time now) in relation to work visa’s.

            “But why are you and John Key going on about this now?”
            Is John Key also going on about Britains contempt for Te tiriti o Waitangi, their breaking of trade ties when they joined the EU, and their continual tightening of migration laws now? Or are you just so obsessed with John Key that you picked up on the one point that allowed you to mention his name?
            This is the same obsession that you admit above, is behind you going against your better judgement and voting to keep the existing flag even though you want change. Can you really not see how irrational you are being?

        • cogito 9.2.1.2

          Kiwis are not EU citizens.

          • Bob 9.2.1.2.1

            Up until 1949 we were classed as British subjects. We still have the same flag.

            The fact that EU citizens now have more rights in the UK than NZers is exactly my point around dropping the Union Jack from our flag.

            • cogito 9.2.1.2.1.1

              Changing the flag should be done properly and for the right reasons.

              What you engaged in earlier on was an uneducated, wild and mindless rant.

            • McFlock 9.2.1.2.1.2

              hey bob – who’s our head of state?
              take your time…

              • cogito

                One thing’s for sure… that our long-serving Head of State has more integrity and devotion to duty in her little finger than that lying excuse of a piss artist of a prime minister will ever have.

        • In Vino 9.2.1.3

          I while in Britain as a tourist got free health care (Dr visits + prescriptions were all I needed) under the agreement whereby UK visitors here had to pay the same fees we imposed on Kiwis. Don’t try to push the anti-British bullshit over this dead horse. The arrangement was so one-sided that we should have enlarged the Union Jack on our flag, and resumed the singing of ‘God Save the Queen’ before all cinematic and theatrical performances…
          And… remember how the ‘Baby Bonus’ of Bill Rowling’s Govt was howled down as an extravagant election bribe? A few years later when I was in the UK my Kiwi friends had a baby, and got a nice Baby Bonus – commonly accepted as standard throughout the more enlightened countries at the time.

          New Zealand is a backwater dominated by biliously bigoted right-wing rednecks. And before those rednecks ask why I do not leave – I consider it my moral duty to stay here to support the cause of moral, spiritual, and social enlightenment.

    • Lanthanide 9.3

      “A few points, as far as I am aware it’s not “John Key’s” flag, he did mention that he wanted a flag with a silver fern on it, but from memory the NZ public chose this particular flag in the recent referendum, happy to be proven wrong on this though.”

      Initially he wanted the All Blacks logo, however it became clear that wouldn’t be a go-er with regards to trademark and copyright.

      He then changed his preference to the black/blue Lockwood design, which bears a striking resemblance to the National Party logo.

      Given the very close result between the red/blue Lockwood and the black/blue Lockwood, it is not unreasonable to suggest that John Key’s personal recommendation swung the vote in favour of the black/blue.

      “The attempts to link this flag to John Key piss me off no end”

      There’s no “attempts”. It was John Key who suggested we should change the flag. John Key who said he’d make it a policy after the 2014 election. John Key who has been the chief supporter for a change, despite all opposition. It was John Key who said that anyone who didn’t want to vote for the flag change was “mentally deficient”. It is John Key’s flag change, whether you want to admit to that or not.

      • Bob 9.3.1

        “Given the very close result between the red/blue Lockwood and the black/blue Lockwood, it is not unreasonable to suggest that John Key’s personal recommendation swung the vote in favour of the black/blue.”
        Red/Blue outstripped Black/Blue on first preferences, so I think you are clutching at straws there.

        “It was John Key who suggested we should change the flag”
        Labour also had this in their policy manifesto, they just didn’t win the last election

        “John Key who said he’d make it a policy after the 2014 election”
        Again, Labour also had this in their policy manifesto they just didn’t win the last election

        “John Key who has been the chief supporter for a change, despite all opposition”
        Opposition to the change only seemed to come in AFTER the last election…funny that.

        “It was John Key who said that anyone who didn’t want to vote for the flag change was “mentally deficient””
        I never heard that quote before, but that sounds like a pretty pathetic line from him. I think anyone who doesn’t want to change the flag is completely entitled to their opinion, however, if anyone voted against the flag purely based on a dislike of John Key then I may start to agree with him.

        • Lanthanide 9.3.1.1

          “Red/Blue outstripped Black/Blue on first preferences, so I think you are clutching at straws there.”

          And yet black/blue won.

          “Labour also had this in their policy manifesto, they just didn’t win the last election”

          *After* Key brought the subject up.

          “Opposition to the change only seemed to come in AFTER the last election…funny that.”

          Yes, because 2015 was the centenary of Gallipoli, and 2015 came after the election in 2014. Funny how times and dates work.

          “I never heard that quote before, but that sounds like a pretty pathetic line from him.”

          He said it. He was trying to make it out as a ‘joke’, which just further shows his contempt for anyone who doesn’t agree with him.

          • Tautuhi 9.3.1.1.1

            Just shows where National and Labours priorities are “changing the flag”?

            More emphasis needs to be put on meaningful growth, employment, housing and health, and I forgot Auckland’s transport problems? That one is a major Auckland’s Southern motorway is virtually at a standstill from 7.00am to 7.00pm?

    • Rosie 9.4

      Bob, I don’t think you grasp the growing level of resentment that citizens are feeling towards Key. Voting to keep the current flag is a legitimate way of expressing their anger, distrust and sense of disappointment towards him.

      He’s pissed off a lot of different sectors of society with this flag stunt, including his own supporters, who are traditional and conservative who do have an affinity with the current flag. They certainly aren’t being sucked in by Key’s self serving project.

      Yes, there are some of us that find the union jack oppressive. My Irish and Scots ancestors certainly did, but to buy into the “symbolic gesture” of bringing in a new flag as you put it doesn’t achieve anything. A new flag won’t change the past nor will it do anything for our future, until we have a very real reason to change our flag, say, if we become a republic.

      As for the first referendum. The turn out was round 47%. There was a whopping 9%+ that were counted as informal votes, that is those of us who intentionally spoilt our ballot paper in protest. So in reality only 37% voted on the five choices. It’s really not a sign of enthusiasm for change.

      And then there’s Key’s double standards and hypocrisy that BLiP highlights in regard for his fawning love for the Monarchy, Cameron and the English honours system. So what does that tell you about the motivation to get the union jack off our flag? Not exactly pure is it?

      • Bob 9.4.1

        “Bob, I don’t think you grasp the growing level of resentment that citizens are feeling towards Key”
        You are correct, I don’t, in my circle of friends there are those that have always hated him, and those that have always liked him, not one of them seems to have changed their stance over recent years. The polls also seem to back up my anecdotal evidence. Those that oppose him do seem to be getting more vocal, but that tends to happen when you see that you are losing an argument (like I seem to be on this thread), I am not backing down, I will just get louder. Nothing has changed but the volume.

        “He’s pissed off a lot of different sectors of society with this flag stunt, including his own supporters, who are traditional and conservative who do have an affinity with the current flag” True, so you support the current flag because you are traditional and conservative? Or because you dislike John Key? Or another reason? Honest question.

        “Yes, there are some of us that find the union jack oppressive. My Irish and Scots ancestors certainly did, but to buy into the “symbolic gesture” of bringing in a new flag as you put it doesn’t achieve anything”
        On the flip side, what does retaining it achieve? What about the symbolic use of the tino rangatiratanga flag? Should Maori stop flying that flag because it doesn’t achieve anything?

        “As for the first referendum. The turn out was round 47%. There was a whopping 9%+ that were counted as informal votes, that is those of us who intentionally spoilt our ballot paper in protest. So in reality only 37% voted on the five choices. It’s really not a sign of enthusiasm for change.”
        Two things, firstly 9% of votes cast were invalid, meaning around 43% of the voting age population legitimately voted on their choice, this is about on par with the Asset Sales Referendum which had such an overwhelming response thestandard.org.nz/breaking-citizens-initiated-referendum/. Secondly, given the scale of the campaign to deliberately invalidate your votes in protest, that is actually an unexpectedly low number of invalids. Maybe there is a silent majority out there…

        • Lanthanide 9.4.1.1

          “Two things, firstly 9% of votes cast were invalid, meaning around 43% of the voting age population legitimately voted on their choice, this is about on par with the Asset Sales Referendum which had such an overwhelming response thestandard.org.nz/breaking-citizens-initiated-referendum/.”

          The asset-sales referendum was citizen-initiated and non-binding. Non-binding referendums always have a lower turnout than official ones. Well, up until this flag referendum, anyway.

          “Secondly, given the scale of the campaign to deliberately invalidate your votes in protest, that is actually an unexpectedly low number of invalids. Maybe there is a silent majority out there…”

          Actually a lot of people who are against changing the flag chose not to vote. We’ll see a much higher turn-out in the second referendum, and it’s likely to be something like 60% voting against change, at least.

          • Bob 9.4.1.1.1

            “The asset-sales referendum was citizen-initiated and non-binding. Non-binding referendums always have a lower turnout than official ones”
            That is a little disingenuous Lanthanide, I am sure you would know that binding referendums are generally held in conjunction with general elections, whereas non-binding referendums tend to be held mid-term, the flag referendum being the obvious exception, hence the turnout discrepancies.

            • Tony Veitch (not the partner-bashing 3rd rate broadcaster) 9.4.1.1.1.1

              Bob
              I shall, quite unashamedly, be voting to keep our current flag because I think that to lose the referendum will piss John Key off! And that’s well worth doing!
              The aethetics or otherwise of either flag doesn’t matter a toss to me. There – does that feed your prejudice?

              • Bob

                Perfectly, thanks Tony.

                It also shows your true depth, which is helpful for ignoring you in any potential future debate.

                To me, what you are doing is the equivalent of New Zealand voting against Helen Clark’s bid for the role of Head of the UN, simply because it would piss her off.

                • McFlock

                  You think that the head of the UN is just as unimportant as a flag?

                  • Bob

                    It’s all a Helen Clark vanity project

                    • McFlock

                      The biggest coverage the flag change got NZ was repeatedly getting the shit ripped out of us in international media.

                      Having a New Zealander in an internationally prominent and important position might go some way to removing some of that ridicule.

                      Your parroting of other people’s lines simply says that your language ability is as painfully inadequate as your knowledge of geopolitics. If you could think for yourself you’d be able to come up with your own comments.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Huh?

                      Vanity projects are things like changing the flag or having a glowing biography written about you by a fawning tame journo or prancing up and down the catwalk

                      Head of the UN is actually hard work and real responsibility. Stopping wars and other fucked up shit that costs lives.

                    • Bob

                      But I didn’t vote for Helen Clark, so I have to automatically be against everything she wants to do…

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      The Prime Minister’s track record makes it difficult to give him the benefit of the doubt any more. Some of the items on BLiP’s list may be a drawing a long bow, and the vast majority of entries are the simple truth.

                      Getting it wrong over and over and over again makes the Prime Minister a liability. He tells the right time twice a day and that’s it.

                      Tell me why I should waste a single cent more of my taxes on his trainwreck policies and superficial diligence.

                    • McFlock

                      But I didn’t vote for Helen Clark, so I have to automatically be against everything she wants to do…

                      You didn’t vote for Clark because of lightbulbs and a charity painting.

                      I don’t vote for Key because of corpses.

                      A flag is unimportant, so if not changing it will make Key a little bit sad, I will totally vote for the current flag. Because he will never be called to answer for the corpses.

                      Secy Gen of the UN is a globally important position. Having Clark in there will bring respect to NZ and maybe restore some of its reputation. Campaigning against that because of lightbulbs is pretty pathetic.

                    • Expat

                      Bob

                      The Australian Govt supported Clark over Abbott for the position in the UN, whats your point?

        • Rosie 9.4.1.2

          “so you support the current flag because you are traditional and conservative? Or because you dislike John Key? Or another reason? Honest question.”

          Please see my comment at 11 to answer your question.

          Those invalid votes, ie, the protest one, are known as informal votes. Almost 10%. That brings the legitimate votes in the first referendum down to 37%, not 43%. Can you name another referendum where the protest vote was so high? I genuinely would like to know. I could easily be wrong. I just don’t recall one with that level of protest votes, that’s all.

          No of course Maori shouldn’t stop flying the Te Tino Rangatiratanga flag. The reasons for flying that flag have nothing to do with the flag of our nation referendum. They are not equivalent examples.

          You may not have noticed any changes of attitude towards Key and the National government in your circle but I certainly have. My entire immediate and extended families are nat voters and have been for ever. I see now they are no longer parroting key sound bites, backing up their man Key and being generally cocky and proud about their glorious leader. They are have in fact gone mysteriously silent over him and our government.

          And as for your claim that those who oppose Key are simply getting louder, do you really recall any other time where he was booed so enthusiastically by such a cross section of society, from a rugby crowd to a big gay out crowd, all in the space of a week? Do you really think this is how our PM is normally received at public events?

    • Gabby 9.5

      Fair enough, it’s Ponyboy’s friend’s flag and he likes showing it off.

  10. pat 10

    “The attempts to link this flag to John Key piss me off no end, we finally have a chance to at least symbolically give the middle finger to ‘mother England’ and people seem more interested in trying to make this about local politics.’

    seriously?

    “Prime Minister John Key today outlined a plan to hold a public discussion and vote next parliamentary term on New Zealand’s flag.

    In a speech at Victoria University today, Mr Key said it was his belief that the design of the current flag symbolises a colonial and post-colonial era whose time has passed.

    “I am proposing that we take one more step in the evolution of modern New Zealand by acknowledging our independence through a new flag,” he says.”

    https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/pm-plans-public-vote-next-term-nz’s-flag

    • Sabine 10.1

      He had a chance to abandon the project once the polls showed no support for a flag change.
      He could have listened and simply said it is not time yet.

      But he did not, he made it all about himself, and now the Dildo flag / white surrender feather is his flag.

    • Graeme 10.2

      “In a speech at Victoria University today, Mr Key said it was his belief that the design of the current flag symbolises a colonial and post-colonial era whose time has passed.”

      Yeah, we’re being moved on from the ideals of those eras where, in James Belich’s words, we “strived to build a better Britain” Our current flag symbolises, for better or worse, the social and constitutional aspects of building our nation.

      What does the tea towel represent beside a free branding opportunity. It’s disappointing to see the design concept used, and vastly improved, in the current uniforms and merchandise of our national Cricket team. And I presume their “interpretation” will be protected by copyright, like the All Blacks fern.

      I can see this device concept turning up up on all sorts of products and brands, with 40,000 different designs fighting it out in the courts trying to protect their “brand”.

      What does that say about what our nation has become

      • Tautuhi 10.2.1

        Just shows where National and Labours priorities are “changing the flag”?

        More emphasis needs to be put on meaningful growth, employment, housing and health, and I forgot Auckland’s transport problems? That one is a major Auckland’s Southern motorway is virtually at a standstill from 7.00am to 7.00pm?

        • Whispering Kate 10.2.1.1

          Thanks for talking about Auckland’s transport woes. In a few years time we will have total gridlock, what’s the Government going to do then? To try and get anywhere from the North to down South takes a major exercise in timing and scheduling. Flights need to be scheduled so one arrives here very early in the morning and leaves very late in the evening or visa versa and for a hospital visit to Greenlane one has to be up with the sparrows for a half hour appointment hours later. For truckies and businesses it must be a nightmare of logistics and loss of income sitting for hours on the motorway. It always fascinates me when they talk about how long it takes to get in from Tawa etc to Wellington Central – so few cars on the road. We drove in there not so long ago straight through to The Terrace and into the James Cook Hotel at 5pm on a working day, we were dreading it and it was a doddle.

          By the way how does the great one get from the airport to his Parnell mansion each week when he flies up – surely even he can see what a nightmare the motorway is up here. Probably catches a helicopter onto his back lawn. The man is a tosser for not helping out the Council early with the trains.

  11. Rosie 11

    Exactly BLiP and Rus Le Roq.

    Despite the fact that I don’t like our flag the reasons I am voting to keep the current flag are below, in order of importance:

    1) This is all do with JK’s legacy project and nothing to do with a symbol that represents the nation. Like Rus say’s, “optics”. There is no substance.

    2)There aren’t any decent designs to choose from even if I did want to change the flag. The last thing I want to see flapping around the place is a stupid sports logo.

    Maybe when we become a republic we can look at a new flag then, as that would be an appropriate time.

  12. Steve Withers 12

    I’ve vote for the black and white lockwood flag to replace the current one.

    The Union Jack needs to go. This is the best opportunity to do that. Canada changed it’s flag in the mid-60s partly because the Union Jack created confusion overseas and people not well versed in flags treated Canadians as Brits in various ways….some not very pleasant. The PM at the time (Lester Pearson) is now almost universally seen as having done the right thing…..though the change was very hotly contested at the time.

    Overall, I think the whole flag referendum process has been a waste of money and I have no love for John Key (as some of you may well know). I could vote to keep the current flag to spite him, but then I look at it…..and it feels more like cutting off my own nose to spite my face to reject the new flag because I don’t agree with someone’s politics. I like the new flag.

    However it was arrived at the proposed flag is, to me, a better flag for NZ. We can have it now if we want it. I’ll vote for it.

    I understand not everyone will agree….but this is my comment and that’s what I think. 🙂

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      Any new flag will just be window dressing for John Key’s ego. You may have some points around the Union Jack etc. but its irrelevant at this stage because the process the Government has used has been so fucked up.

      • Steve Withers 12.1.1

        For me, this is bigger than John Key or how I feel about him or the process.

        I like the new flag. However it was arrived at….I like it.

        • weka 12.1.1.1

          Why is what you like the important thing?

        • framu 12.1.1.2

          but if the process is flawed the result is flawed – we will simply be right back here in years to come

        • Colonial Viper 12.1.1.3

          I like the new flag. However it was arrived at….I like it.

          If you’re the kind of person who just looks at the new coat of paint and not what’s underneath it, then go for gold.

        • cogito 12.1.1.4

          I like cheese. Let’s put that on the flag.

    • cogito 12.2

      Canada?

      Canada had an issue with French-speaking Quebec wanting independence.

      A flag should unite a people. Key has done nothing of the sort in the way he has handled the flag issue, and the process has been a farce.

    • woodpecker 12.3

      Canada did not change its flag. It simply didn’t have a flag. I was using someone else’s.

      • alwyn 12.3.1

        The Maple leaf may have been the first official flag but it’s predecessor was distinctly Canadian.
        Wasn’t it a red ensign with the Canadian Coat of Arms? Laid out like ours but red instead of blue and with the Arms in place of the Southern Cross.
        It was flown wherever it was appropriate to have an emblem. It wasn’t just “using someone else’s” though.

        • McFlock 12.3.1.1

          Basically our distinctly New Zealand flag, but using the UK merchant marine ensign and Canadian coat of arms rather than the UK blue ensign with a Southern Cross. And being unofficial, a bit like the NZ silver fern on black flag.

        • woodpecker 12.3.1.2

          Its predecessor was the Union Jack. It flew over parliament hill.

  13. Glenn 13

    The fern shown in the proposed flag is botanically incorrect. More like a Hen and Chickens frond than a silver fern.
    Or a stylized white feather.
    No way do I want that thing for my flag.

  14. alwyn 14

    Amazing. Only about 15 months ago the Labour Party and its followers were hell bent on change. From Trevor Mallard we heard.

    “Labour would also review the design of the New Zealand flag, with the party saying “the time has come for a change and it is right for the issue to be put to the public”.
    “We would however support the ability of the RSA and similar organisations to continue to fly the current flag if they so wish. New Zealand changed its national anthem from ‘God Save the Queen’ on a gradual, optional basis and that process worked,” the policy statement says.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/policies/10451013/Labour-backs-national-flag-review

    Note the wording of their policy. They weren’t even planning to allow people the option of keeping the current flag as the official emblem were they? Instead they were, condescendingly, going to allow the RSA to keep flying the current one for a while after they, in there wisdom, had dumped it.
    What happened? John Key went ahead and is allowing the change if people want it. The Labour Party immediately did an about turn and reverted to their preferred mode of policy formation.
    “John Key is in favour. We are therefore opposed”. To hell with reason. Repeat after Andrew. “If John suggests something we will oppose”.
    Is that really the best that inhabitants of the Left can do?

    • Puckish Rogue 14.1

      Give them a break, they know can’t beat John Key in an election so this is the closest they’ll get

      • Lanthanide 14.1.1

        Not when he’s backed by the rotten boroughs of Epsom and Ohariu, because that is literally the margin that this current government ‘won’ the last election by.

        • alwyn 14.1.1.1

          Don’t you mean Ohariu and Wigram?
          I presume you are arguing that people in an electorate shouldn’t be allowed to vote in as an MP anyone that isn’t of the left?
          Did you think it was great that Hone didn’t get back? By your definition that was a “rotten” borough too.

          Peter Dunne is of course merely the Parliamentary version of Tim Shadbolt. Do you remember the unofficial slogan “I don’t care where as long as I’m Mayor”?
          Dunne’s is “I don’t care who is the Government as long as I’m a Minister”.
          He is, I am told, a bloody good electorate MP though.

          • Lanthanide 14.1.1.1.1

            Labour always contested Wigram. Labour always contested Ohariu. Labour always contested Te Tai Tokaru.

            National has not actually contested Ohariu or Epsom. Putting in patsies designed to lose is not contesting an electorate.

        • Puckish Rogue 14.1.1.2

          Well no National only needed either Act, UF or the Maori Party by themselves to govern, National chose to bring those other parties in

          • Lanthanide 14.1.1.2.1

            I chose my words very carefully, PR, expecting that someone would use the line you just did, without thinking about the real context of what I’m talking about.

            “this current government” is the 3rd term of the current governing arrangements. The Maori Party (who almost always vote against National’s policies, only voting in favour on confidence and supply) has had very little negotiating power, because their votes are simply window-dressing because National can rely on both Peter Dunne and Rimmer to pass the legislation they want. With Winston winning Northland we have already seen a spanner thrown into National’s plans for the RMA reforms they wanted, since Dunne didn’t agree with them and they were relying on just Rimmer.

            Had the vote gone such that National didn’t have sock-puppets in both of those rotten boroughs, the MP would have had more negotiating power, OR National may have had a formal deal with NZ First. Either result would have given us a 3rd term National government that was significantly different in policy terms compared to their 1st and 2nd terms.

      • Skinny 14.1.2

        Actually some of us are on a wining roll. Key and Natcorp got thumped in Northland, no amount of visits Key and Dildo done spinning broken promises it made no difference.

    • Lanthanide 14.2

      No, Labour disagreed with the process that National embarked on for the referenda.

      Labour’s position is that the first referenda should have been “do you want to change the flag?”.

      In fact there’s NO reason that the first referendum couldn’t have included two questions:
      1. Do you want to change the flag?
      2. Which is your preferred design?

      The second referendum could then have been:
      1. Select between the current flag and the new proposed design.

      • alwyn 14.2.1

        That was not their policy prior to the election was it?
        It was pretty bluntly stated by Trevor Mallard that they would change it.

        Frankly I think that they are just pissed off that Key did it when they wanted to.
        I think that The Listener got it right in their 13 February Editorial when they said “the inescapable conclusion is that Labour is suffering from a severe case of sour grapes” and that “Labour … needs to stop sulking and get on board”.

        I’m sorry but I can’t provide a link. The whole editorial is worth reading but they don’t seem to provide free access until a few weeks after the issue is published.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 14.2.1.1

          😆

          “Labour did it too”.

          No, I doubt very much that Labour would have managed such a shonky clusterfuck.

          • alwyn 14.2.1.1.1

            It wasn’t “Labour did it too”.
            It was Labour would have done it if they had the chance. What they would have done became, again in The Listener’s words, “What the party would have regarded as an admirably progressive change had it been accomplished in Labour’s name becomes ineradicably tainted when it’s promoted by John Key”.

            Labour man Nick Leggett has it right though “Little should stop barking at passing cars and do something that has a lasting impact for our country”.
            Sadly, I don’t think that Andrew Little and his tribe are capable of that.

            • Lanthanide 14.2.1.1.1.1

              Labour’s position is quite clear and I don’t think you can credibly argue against it.

              The first referendum *should* have included a question about whether the flag should be changed or not.

              It didn’t, because National didn’t want to do it that way. Their excuse is that if you asked that question without presenting an alternative, most people would just say “no” because you can’t ask for a change without suggesting what it might be. But my suggestion of just having 2 questions squashes National’s excuse.

              • alwyn

                Lanthanide.
                “The first referendum *should* have included a question … ”
                That was NOT their policy prior to the election. It only popped up when Key introduced it and they had to go into their desperate “Anything John Key says we oppose” routine.
                I suspect that if Key proposed Michael Cullen for Governor-General they’d come out in opposition.

                • Lanthanide

                  “That was NOT their policy prior to the election.”

                  Once again, you seem to have some bizarre idea that a political party must detail *exactly* what they’re going to do before an election, and then if something happens after the election that they don’t like, unless they had previously stated exactly their opinion before the election, they are hypocrites.

                  That is a very stupid view of how politics works.

                  It’s a “dinimic inviromint”, as your idol Key has said.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 14.2.1.1.1.2

              The Listener is quite right: it will take a very long time for the Prime Ministerial stain to wash out. Perhaps we can repair our international reputation, and it’ll never be as good as new ever again.

        • Lanthanide 14.2.1.2

          “It was pretty bluntly stated by Trevor Mallard that they would change it.”

          The comment by an individual politician in the Labour party doesn’t constitute party policy, nor the entire policy framework.

          It seems you would take *any* remark by a politician to be the complete policy.

          Like if David Cunliffe said “we will remove GST from fresh fruits and vegetables” it seems that you think Labour would literally pass a bill into law that was a single sentence long.

          Obviously there is not a 1-to-1 mapping between a politicians statements and the final bill that is debated upon.

          Frankly, you’re an idiot.

          • alwyn 14.2.1.2.1

            “Frankly, you’re an idiot.”
            On this subject I find I must share that sentiment about your own words.
            A shame as I normally find your comments worth very serious consideration.

            • Lanthanide 14.2.1.2.1.1

              I see you didn’t even address the rest of my comment that shows how stupid your argument that “Trevor Mallard said it therefore the entirety of what he said is Labour policy and a promise they would do exactly that and nothing else” was.

              • weka

                I appreciated your summing up of what alwyn is doing and not doing, looked spot on to me (and his inability to make actual points and respond to other people’s points is not new).

              • alwyn

                “doesn’t constitute party policy,”
                Have a look at the original link to Stuff that I referenced. It says
                “Labour’s Trevor Mallard released the party’s Internal Affairs policy today”
                and further down “review the design of the New Zealand flag, with the party saying “the time has come for a change and it is right for the issue to be put to the public”.
                That was party policy and not just Trevor sounding off.
                ” a promise they would do exactly that and nothing else”
                I am merely assuming that Trevor wasn’t lying when he said it was party policy.
                Of course a party can change its mind about something. That isn’t hypocritical if the world has changed. However can you tell me exactly what changed except it was the Key Government that brought it in rather than Labour?
                Anything else you think I am misquoting?

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  It’s like trying to explain something to a National Party member. As a Green voter, even I can understand that Labour objects quite strongly to the way the Prime Minister’s inept fiasco has played out, and is proposing an uncontroversial and better alternative. Mind you, so could almost anyone.

                  How you achieve your abject comprehension fail is quite beyond me.

                  • McFlock

                    How you achieve your abject comprehension fail is quite beyond me.

                    I suspect it’s a skill developed over years of practise.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Either that or it’s the effects of toxoplasmic parasitism upon a distended amygdala.

    • lprent 14.3

      1. Trevor Mallard doesn’t speak for me, and I suspect that it wasn’t Labour policy.
      2. The Labour party doesn’t speak for me anyway. I have always spoken for myself.
      3. I’d like a new flag after we change the constitution.
      4. When it happens I’d like to get some designers to do it so we don’t wind up with sports underwear flying rather than this fiasco that John Key invented so he could get his preferred flag designs.

      Incidentally you are a idiotic PR sprouting dickhead for trying to spin that anyone can speak for me on MY opinions.

      However if we take your logic and apply it to your relationship with John Key acting for you, then obviously you must like fondling young woman’s ponytails without, crony capitalism and giving sweetheart deals to your friends using taxpayer money, and lying almost everytime you open your mouth. Mind you that does appear to be how you act around here.

      • alwyn 14.3.1

        So. Where did I say I was I held these to be your views?
        If your point 2 is correct then I wasn’t talking about you was I? I said in the first line ”
        ” Only about 15 months ago the Labour Party and its followers were hell bent on change”. If you aren’t a follower you aren’t included.

        As for the question of it being/not being Labour Party policy.
        Are you saying that Stuff got it wrong?
        And that Mallard got it wrong?
        And that the Herald and Nick Leggett got it wrong here?
        http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11567920

        “your relationship with John Key”. And what on earth do you mean by that? I have no connection to the National Party or John Key at all. My real concern is that the Labour Party are completely incapable of leading a Government or even providing a respectable opposition. That is not good for New Zealand. Why can’t they get over their “John Key in favour? Then we are opposed” The couldn’t care less what it is. There policy these days seems to be something like this.
        Add the words “Labour oppose” to anything Key says he favours.

        As for your last sentence and a half ” lying almost everytime you open your mouth. Mind you that does appear to be how you act around here”.
        Can you show me any word in what I said that is a lie?

        • Lanthanide 14.3.1.1

          No, Labour don’t opposed anything Key says.

          Labour opposes anything they don’t think is for the good of all New Zealanders.

          You can see this in the way they support the TPPA, *except* that it doesn’t allow them to block foreign ownership of houses.

          Labour thinks the TPPA is for the good of all New Zealanders (even if many Labour supporters / voters don’t).

          Their opposition has nothing to do with what John Key says. It just so happens that the vast majority of what John Key says isn’t good for all New Zealanders.

          I see it’s easy to get these concepts confused if you actually believe the crap that comes out of Key’s mouth, though.

          • weka 14.3.1.1.1

            and if you believe that left of centre and right of centre are fundamentally incompatible. One day we will grow up and make good use of MMP.

            • alwyn 14.3.1.1.1.1

              Yep. James Shaw seems to understand that.
              Not sure that the far left members of his party will allow it tho. Do you think there is any chance they will come to their senses?
              Certainly the little trekkie will throw his model ray gun out of the cot.

              • weka

                The GP kaupapa (and I expect all the MPs are on board with this) is that the GP can work with any party on policy where there is common ground.

                But I suspect you haven’t understood what I meant, because under intelligent use of MMP there’s nothing wrong with left wing people being represented.

                I think the Greens are the only party in parliament that gets that the old left/right spectrum thing is failing us. Unfortunately too many people interpret this as the GP wanting to go right or to the centre, which is not what is mean at all.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  the old left/right spectrum thing is failing us

                  If neurobiological findings are correct, it’s at least partially based on physical differences in brain structure, which is to say it ain’t going away any time soon.

                  That being so, and I agree with your conclusion, we can find ways to circumvent the problem, to depoliticise issues.

                  However, there are aspects that don’t necessarily fit into the “left/right divide”: malice and greed for example, manifesting in corruption, money laundering, devices such as Cabinet Club and seeing-eye trusts.

                  This being so, one way to depoliticise issues is to strengthen judicial and other independent oversight.

                  Another, as Bill eloquently points out, is to just get on with it ourselves and leave the greedy and/or political to play catch-up. Easier said than done.

                  • weka

                    Don’t we need a strong left wing govt to strengthen judicial and other independent oversight 😉

                    If neurobiological findings are correct, it’s at least partially based on physical differences in brain structure, which is to say it ain’t going away any time soon.

                    Brains are pretty plastic, so the potential is there, and party politics is learned not innate. Yes it takes time to change culture, but I suppose one of the questions that arises from looking beyond the left/right divide is what would we want that to look like?

                    I was thinking more about the possibility of old school conservatives (as opposed to neoliberals) and traditional lefties working together on common ground. Probably older people. And for younger ones, taking cues from people that are not party political but still political and finding out what that means in terms of activism and democracy. I get the sense that some in the GP are looking at that.

  15. BM 15

    Personally, I’m glad this flag debate happened under Keys watch.

    Could you imagine what the options would be like if Labour was in charge.

    I reckon the choices would consist of

    A stylized Rosie
    A Rainbow flag
    The Tino rangatiratanga flag
    A combination of the above

    There would be no option to keep the current flag.

    • Colonial Viper 15.1

      Now you’re just stirring 😛

      Where’s the hammer and sickle option??? 😀

    • mac1 15.2

      Actually, BM, it would have been very possible that two things would have happened.

      One, that the change of flag would have been part of a wider debate- note, debate- on our constitutional arrangements. Two, the process that Key instituted may have been reversed. First question. Do you want to change the flag? Then in the second round, if a yes vote was obtained, a vote offered on a choice derived from a far more satisfactory process.

      Personally, I would like to change the flag along with our monarchical status, but the process did not allow the constitutional debate and did not throw up a flag that I consider worthy of replacing our current one.

      • BM 15.2.1

        Change the flag to what? would have been the answer to the first question.

        So you would actually need three steps in the process.

        Still too early for a constitutional debate.

        • mac1 15.2.1.1

          Do you want to change the flag to represent a change in our nation status?That would have been the question, after a constitutional debate.

          What should the flag contain to symbolise our new nationhood, to represent us anew both on the world stage and at home as a symbol of being ‘Kiwi,’ our national identity, and also to symbolise our sense of national unity.

          Three stages. First, the debate. Do we change? What to?

          Too early? The actual debate would show if that were true.

      • mac1 15.2.2

        Because the flag debate became politicised, and because a large section of our community reveres the current flag with its wartime/home country/monarchical associations, I can foresee the current flag being flown in NZ just as the South still flies the confederate flag in symbolic rebellion and assertion of community.

    • Kevin 15.3

      So you don’t think that the Tangata Whenua should be symbolised in any way on the New Zealand flag?

    • Rosie 15.4

      “A stylised Rosie”

      That would be awesome. The very image of beauty, strength, fearlessness and a really hard worker. No need to change her style at all. She would represent the amazing women who have given so much to their country. Kate Sheppard, Sonya Davies, Helen Kelly, Dame Whina Cooper to name just a few.

    • Skinny 15.5

      Key messed up on doing things arse about face.

      If he had pushed a branch out away from the common wealth to an independent nation first, a new flag would naturally follow as a result.

      Even I would have supported that. Bad judgement from Natcorp!

  16. Smilin 16

    John Keys flag the only thing it symbolizes is, never to allow a govt like his back into power
    And give that to the nation along with the next referendum as a foot not

  17. logie97 17

    The flag illustrated at the top of BLip’s comment – is it correct?
    When the current flag is drawn, it is reasonably simple though the stars and proportionality of the Union Jack are sometimes challenging.

    But I can see a lot of dildos being drawn either side the stem of that fern.

    (Is it Key’s flag or Joyce’s?)
    And there appear to be 30 of them. Is that the number of males in Key’s inner caucus.

  18. UncookedSelachimorpha 18

    At a conference I listened to Key talk in the flesh on the flag. He presented it as a branding exercise to improve the marketability of NZ Ltd. This is all he can see – the ‘price of everything and the value of nothing’.

    A nation and its symbolism is a lot more than a marketing brand, so I’ll be voting for the old flag in the meantime. We don’t want our image and values to be guided by this dodgy money man.

  19. Smilin 19

    What Key dont get is in his aspirations to be like Jacka Holyoake, one he aint even old enough to know what NZ politics was in those days
    That was when Canada changed its flag and a lot of people even thought it was a good idea then
    But Key doesn’t seem to know that it was a cultural decision and even if that is the case now, ITS NOT ABOUT HIM implementing it in the way he has
    And more to the point no one I know has even given it a lot of credence to allowing the country to waste millions in a time of economic recession to allow some egocentric prick the right to go there for his own pleasure

  20. maui 20

    Travelling round the North Island a bit this year, I’ve seen the black and blue new flag only flown about 3 times. Twice in two of the most affluent suburbs in our two major cities, surprise surprise. The third time was at a House moving company in Bulls – FlagaBULL! I never saw this flag flown on Waitangi Day either… which I think says that it doesn’t really mean anything to a lot of people. From the evidence gathered above, this is the National Party flag.

    • Brendon Harre -Left wing Liberal 20.1

      I travel from Christchurch to Nelson then across to Wellington and back during the summer break and I noticed more of our traditional flags flying than the proposed new flag and almost no new Lockwood flags outside of the big cities -Christchurch and Wellington.

      Has anyone else noticed that changing the flag seems less popular in provincial areas?

  21. McFlock 21

    You know what it symbolises? It means that every time Key sees a NZ flag, he’ll get a little kick that he had a lasting effect. If it’s not changed, every NZ flag will be a reminder of his failure.

    You don’t normally display infant mortality rates or GINI coefficients in a museum, but a “might have been” flag should be a tangible footnote to the symbolise the abstract failures of his government.

    • weka 21.1

      And using BLiP’s version of the National Party flag would be perfect 😉

      • Andre 21.1.1

        Add John Oliver’s suggestion to the lower right…maybe with modern materials and tech we could get the world’s first gif flag.

    • Sabine 21.2

      mind, anyone remembers the Dame Shipley and her efforts to get a flag change happening in the last year of heir reign and the ensuing scandal with the brother of Saatchi and Saatchi ? T’was a fun thing to watch. History repeating itself?

    • weka 22.1

      That’s a very odd article. I didn’t read all of it but bits of it are very rah rah yay flag. And that weird poll that is asking historical questions and what we get to see is how many people thought a, b, or c, but no correct answer.

      • Lanthanide 22.1.1

        When you answer their ‘survey’, if the bar turns green you got the answer right. If it turns red you got it wrong. Each bar shows the percentage of people that answered the same of you.

        I should note that it is stuff’s opinion of what is right and wrong. They had a similar ‘survey’ recently where at least 2 of their ‘correct’ answers were wrong.

    • McFlock 22.2

      lol
      Photos of smiling people holding the proposed flag, frowny people holding the current one.

      • b waghorn 22.2.1

        Ever noticed how team key members have that slightly mad look in their eye.!!
        Maybe just like happy clappies all one has to do is believe.

    • BLiP 22.3

      They’re running a couple of polls series of native advertisements masquerading as news if you’re interested.

      FIFY 🙂

  22. doug stuart 23

    i am voting for a change of flag because our current flag is a pommie naval flag the blue ensign with some stars added.

  23. Gangnam Style 24

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11590598 Brian Rudman “The selection of an alternative flag design has been a fiasco.
    The 10-member independent flag panel charged with selecting four contenders from the myriad submitted by the public, included an ex-All Black and former Chief of Defence, but no design expert.
    They picked four, two identical, except for slight colour variations, by the same submitter. Three were dominated by a silver fern.
    Then a 50,000 signature petition for the “Red Peak” design bullied the panel, and then Mr Key, into pushing through a special act of Parliament to have it added to the first referendum. It lost. One of the twin designs won.
    By then I’d given up. All five were amateur-hour embarrassments. For the first time in my adult life, I didn’t vote. As a vote-a-holic, this was a big thing.”

    What a shambles.

    • weka 24.1

      That’s me too. I’m a committed voter, and I’ve never not voted in a general election and I think I missed one of the early stand alone referenda only because I forgot it was on on the day (back in the day when you had to visit a polling booth). This time I just didn’t bother. I wanted to vote (and was intending to cast an informal protest vote), but in the end it just didn’t happen. Contempt for the process not for voting.

      I will be voting in the next one though, for the existing flag.

    • Kevin 24.2

      What was amateur about Red Peak?

      It was the only one of the five that resembled anything close to what a flag should be in a design sense.

    • alwyn 24.3

      Out of curiosity were there any in the “top 40” you would have preferred?
      https://www.govt.nz/browse/engaging-with-government/the-nz-flag-your-chance-to-decide/gallery/
      Imagine having had to look at all 10,000 or so entries. It must have come close to driving them all up the wall.
      They did consult design experts you know. They seem to have talked to all the groups likely to have views on the matter.

  24. Skinny 25

    Breaking News: Oh dear Natcorp in a crisis over the failure to convince not only the Kiwi public but a large slice of their own MP’s to change flag.

    The leaker is rumoured to be Crusher Collins! leading the boardroom hit on Key! Looks like the start of a hostile takeover!

    • alwyn 25.1

      Don’t say that.
      The more rabid members of the anti-Key rag-tag army hate her even more than they do John Key.
      If Key came out for the new flag and Collins for the old one there would be a mad dash from one side (old) to the other (new).
      Either that or their heads would burst open. Did you ever see that movie “Mars Attacks” when they started playing country music at them? It will be like that.

      • b waghorn 25.1.1

        I can’t stand collins but I hope she rolls key , she’s unelectable so it will be see you later national.

      • Skinny 25.1.2

        My source has a mixed strike rate, and silly Maggie Barry sending out wholesale memo’s says she is not the sharpest hoe in the garden shed.

        I did notice the chairman of National Corporation slumped in his chair during question time before.
        On reflection he looked miles away , like on a sun soaked beach in Hawaii watching the ponytailed hula gals dancing!

  25. John Shears 26

    re the flag with the white fern on black, is it just me or have I seen too much of that Rabbit/Duck drawing that has been on show over the last several days but at least the top row of the leaves on the fern look a bit like a row of small erect penises?? and we are supposed to vote for this design to be our new flag?

    • alwyn 26.1

      “we are supposed to vote for this design to be our new flag”
      Haven’t you heard? You are allowed to vote anyway you like.
      Surely you don’t have to be told how to vote?

    • BLiP 26.2

      The image for this post is a shoop,

      • Colonial Viper 26.2.1

        A real shame it wasn’t an actual flag design on offer, I reckon quite a few people would have reflected their feelings about this referendum by choosing it.

    • Expat 26.3

      John Shears

      Sounds like, voting for this flag would be the voting for a prick.

  26. cogito 27

    @John Shears

    “a row of small erect penises”

    symbolic of the National Party caucus screwing the country.

  27. Anne 28

    Oh dear, John Key’s ‘Shore Girl’, Maggie Barry held an urgent campaign breakfast meeting this morning in the Backbenchers pub. Of the 59 Nat MPS only 10 turned up and some of those only lasted 5 mins. Madam had a flag pole installed on the roof of her electorate office before Xmas and the new flag has been flying ever since. It’s about the level of her abilities that she is leading the charge for the flag change.

    Just listen to the shallow woman.

  28. greywarshark 29

    Anne
    Maggie Barry was lovely when she stuck to gardening. She has unfortunately been overtaken by the Peter Principle – (promotion to a point just beyond the person’s level of competency).

    And the flag and its fern’s symbolic reference. By George, I think that John Shears has got it.

    • Anne 29.1

      Maggie Barry has never been lovely greywarshark. She certainly put on a good act when she hosted those gardening programmes, but I have met one or two people who knew her well. They claim she is – and always has been – a nasty piece of work. She’s apparently done the dirty on a few local groups who went to her for assistance and is becoming increasingly unpopular.

    • Sirenia 29.2

      She was not regarded as lovely by those who worked with her, I’ve heard.

    • McFlock 30.1

      heh heh heh

    • Anne 30.2

      John Campbell is on to it. Talking about Corrections at moment but coming up soon.

      Edit: oops been and gone. Seems like its being greeted with hilarity if RNZ’s political reporter is anything to go by. Crisis meeting it was… expect the Dirty Political machine to enter right stage any time now.

      • Skinny 30.2.1

        Of course Gower has to get ratings up, but still shows the Teflon is coming off to his own caucus. Big Gerry keeps his eye on the prize, well one on pie other on prize!

  29. NZJester 31

    If the new flag is adopted there will be quite a big impact on New Zealand. That impact will be the NZ government and a number of private companies having to flush away even more cash down the drain than what the two referendums have cost the country so far.
    The NZ government not only must change the flags at its official buildings and embassies but also for all official documents and government videos that contain it. The NZ coat of arms contains a small representation of the current flag so will also need to be updated to show the new flag, so it will need to be changed all around the country also. Then there are the flags and teaching materials at schools that will also need to be updated.
    We will have to spend a lot of money informing other countries of the change especially on the fact a new passport design will need to be presented to other nations customs services so they do not turn kiwis away at the border for having an unrecognized document.
    Private companies that feature the NZ flag in any videos, printed material or packaging will have to have it all redone.
    Basically if you found the amount spent on the referendum to be large it will pale in comparison to the costs if it is actually changed.

    As for the alternative design that was almost the same as the one chosen, I bet they will make that the naval flag if they get the votes for a flag change.

    • Tautuhi 31.1

      What an absolute buggars muddle this flag change is?

    • Katipo 31.2

      In addition to the $26 million for the referendums, apparently it will cost 30 million to change the flag although no one really knows for sure.

  30. BM 32

    There’s one very important aspect to the flag referendum that you guys ain’t getting and it’s the reason why this will be win for Key.

    It’s democracy in action. For the first time in modern history people are being given the option to vote for a new flag.

    We may end up with a new flag, we may keep the old one, but what’s most important is that everyone gets a say if the flag stays or goes.

    New Zealanders with more than one brain cell understand this and appreciate that Key has given the people of New Zealand the opportunity decide what flag we have.

    I’ll even go as far to say the best result for Key will be if the old flag wins.

    • ianmac 32.1

      You might be right on that BM. He can boast the bit about having a democratic chance even if ignoring such things as non-democratic ECan.

    • maui 32.2

      You must live in a fairly fucked up democracy then. A panel of 12 influential people selected what flags the people could vote on. That sort of shit happens in dictatorships.. need I say more.

    • sabine 32.3

      “I’ll even go as far to say the best result for Key will be if the old flag wins.”

      Yeah, right Tui.

      desperate much?

    • lprent 32.4

      That process was flawed by the way that it was undertaken. If Key had wanted a more democratic and more cost effective approach, it wouldn’t have been done with a postal ballot.

      Compared to adding two or just one referendum to the general election(s), postal ballots are a hugely expensive exercise in postage, printing, and processing.

      And postal ballots have extremely poor turnouts. They are typically between half and two thirds of the turnout of general elections and in local body elections they are way below having polling booths. This is hardly surprising. These days I post about 2 or 3 envelopes per year and they usually take me weeks to post – because I never go near anywhere I can post them. We receive maybe 2 or 3 per week and most of those are from the US (the land of paperwork) or from real estate agents bypassing our junk mail filter by paying the NZ post to deliver it.

      Basically going postal doesn’t help democratic action. It is a way of confining voting to the small group.of voters who cling to a dying fashion – hand delivery of paper. It is how you poll conservatives.

      • BM 32.4.1

        Online certainly would have been a cheaper option.

        The only reason postal voting is still used is because of the oldies and their lack of knowledge regarding the interwebs.
        Could you imagine the whining from NZ first and grey power if it was purely a online referendum.

        I guess the thinking is, even the slowest has the mental horsepower required to tick a box and post it back.

    • Colonial Viper 32.5

      It’s democracy in action. For the first time in modern history people are being given the option to vote for a new flag.

      As others have mentioned, it’s the appearance of democracy in action.

      Or if you like, this process has been very closely managed in a certain direction. And Kiwis can smell it for a mile away.

      I notice that a few of my neighbours cars have started sporting NZ flags (the current one) from their car windows…

  31. Tautuhi 33

    Just like the referendum on State Asset Sales National ignored?

  32. Tautuhi 34

    Unfortunately the National Party do not know the meaning of the word democracy?

  33. SaveOurNix 35

    “What would the adoption of John Key’s flag symbolise?” The impression I get is that it is something for ‘non-political’ types to remember the Prime Minister on. IE: ‘The new Flag had arrived under John Key’s watch.’ sort of statement.

  34. Whispering Kate 36

    I would hazard a guess about 60% of New Zealanders haven’t the time of day to sit and ponder the flag and what it would symbolize. Most people, (and of all age groups) are too busy trying to keep their head above the water paying bills, putting money away for rates and other utilities, living under threat of eviction by capricious landlords who just want to up and sell for no reason other than they can. Under-paid, over-worked, no job security, losing at house auctions over and over again, disheartened and upset they may never own a home, rotten bosses like Talley or the restaurant owners who pay their workers $4 an hour and think that’s okay. Why on earth would they want to sit and think about a bit of rag which is hoisted on to a flag staff when all they can do is survive from day to day – how arrogant our PM is to think otherwise. He is living in fairy land.

    I think “no name’s” vanities are all to obvious and he is acting in a capricious manner when he should be working his b…… off to try and give the citizens of this country a better way of life. I don’t think his brain is even capable of thinking big on anything. The only thing which resonates in his mind is the dollar note and fawning over sports people. It sounds like his government is now fracturing – couldn’t happen to a more deserving person if it implodes.

  35. cogito 37

    Apart from all the other issues, Key is trying to secure an FTA with the EU. From a purely tactical point of view, it would seem silly to try and remove a visible link to our European heritage (ie the union jack) right at this time…. Far better to keep it there as a reminder of our links and make it work for us.

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