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NRT: Meh

Written By: - Date published: 12:06 pm, September 1st, 2015 - 92 comments
Categories: democratic participation, john key, Minister for International Embarrassment, referendum - Tags: , , , ,

no-right-turn-256Reposted from No Right Turn

Today the government announced the four candidates for John Key’s vanity flag referendum: three ferns (one of them the logo of Immigration NZ and the Companies Office) and a koru. And really, all I can say is “meh”.

The interesting designs – Matthew Clare’s “Seven Stars of Matariki” and Tomas Cottle’s “Modern Hundertwasser” – didn’t make the cut (the latter being removed for copyright reasons). So basicly we’ve got three variations on a rugby meathead symbol and a koru which has already been dubbed the “hypnoflag” (all glory to the hypnoflag). Which at least gives us a standing political joke any time a politician tries to appeal to it.

Its a preferential vote, and with two variations on the same thing (and one very close option), its pretty clear which one John Key and his “independent” panel wants to win. But while strapping the chicken might get him his way in the first vote, I’m not sure that it will in the second.


 

lprent: This upcoming referendum is just an expensive waste of time. But I really hate not having anything to vote for or against.  All of the selected designs look like prototypes for badly designed sports underwear rather than anything to do with New Zealand. But I hate not voting.  But there is a real choice! Look at the last referendum result in 2013.

Referendum election results

There are two other listed vote counts – “Informal” and “Invalid”.

What is the difference and how do I vote for them? That looks to me like a MUCH more interesting topic than deciding which of John Key’s vanity underwear is best at concealing his skidmarks.

 

 

92 comments on “NRT: Meh ”

  1. esoteric pineapples 1

    There were quite a few interesting designs in the larger line up. I don’t think anything of these is going to be strong enough to inspire a majority of people to dump the present one.

    • GregJ 1.1

      In the 10,000+ submissions – yes.

      In the long list of 40 – no.

      And the final 4 are really bland.

  2. emergency mike 5

    Four bland uninspired corporate logos. Welcome to Planet Key.

  3. roy cartland 6

    I hated them, but now it’s called ‘hypnoflag’, it makes total sense!

    I — WILL — VOTE — FOR — HYPNO — FLAG.

  4. Informal votes are votes they can’t count, eg, because you left it blank, or voted for two different flags with a number 1 rank. Invalid votes are votes cast by people who aren’t entitled to vote (eg because eg they cast a special vote, but actually were never enrolled, or cast an early vote and died before polling day).

    • weka 7.1

      So writing ‘fuck you john key’ on the ballot paper would be an informal vote not an invalid vote 🙂

    • lprent 7.2

      Thanks. A campaign for informal votes in that case.

      • weka 7.2.1

        Informal on the flag choice, not on whether to change, right?

        • lprent 7.2.1.1

          Yes. Ignoring my predisposition to not having a flag at all, and bearing in mind the poor quality of the proposed flags, I think our existing flag is actually better.

          So we only get an effective vote in the second referendum next year.

          But I’m sure a large informal vote would be a damn good indication of what we think of this strange exercise.

      • Sabine 7.2.2

        i think this is what Winston Peters has been advocating for a while with his
        KOF campaign.

        “We call on all New Zealanders who are against the referendums to write Keep Our Flag (KOF) on the ballot paper. That way the vote is ruled “informal”. If there are more “informals” than votes on the design there can be no credibility in the process and a second referendum cannot surely go ahead, saving millions of dollars.”

      • freedom 7.2.3

        An ‘informal vote’ campaign would only be for the first referendum right? The first referendum is as close to meaningless as a referendum on this issue can get but for the second referendum next year, voting legitimately is kind of crucial.

        As there is no set minimum return required and it is a binding referendum, the second referendum will not be a good place for peoples’ votes to be at risk of being discounted. Any voters who are opposed to changing the flag in the second vote need to send a clear message at that time and surely this can only be achieved through properly completed referendum papers being returned?

        A lot of the country will undoubtedly support the idea of encouraging the mild civil-disobedience potential of the first referendum. The difficulty comes next year, when the frivolity must switch to formality. There will have to be some very clear distinctions between the fun of the first referendum and the more onerous demands of the second and binding vote being held next year.

      • Anne 7.2.4

        So that’s it. Nationwide campaign to encourage all anti-flagstas to purchase a black felt tip and draw two lines diagonally across the ballot paper and write between them the words f**k you John Key or a variation of your choice.

        Who is going to front this campaign? Gotta be someone well known and NOT A POLITICIAN.

        • maui 7.2.4.1

          Draw two more lines running up and down, left and right and you’ve got a union jack 😉 – how fitting.

          • Clemgeopin 7.2.4.1.1

            That is so clever! I’ll do that and will write,
            ‘Not the time to do an uncalled for change. Keep the current flag for now’

        • Clemgeopin 7.2.4.2

          “Who is going to front this campaign? Gotta be someone well known and NOT A POLITICIAN”

          Richie McCaw or Daniel Carter

    • Mike S 7.3

      “Informal votes are votes they can’t count”

      That’s not what it looks like in the image above. Informal votes are included in the Valid Votes total and are counted. They are essentially a ‘none of the above vote’ but are not disallowed and are counted.

  5. Draco T Bastard 8

    There are two other listed vote counts – “Informal” and “Invalid”.

    What is the difference and how do I vote for them?

    Informal voting papers

    A voting paper is informal if the Returning Officer is satisfied that the voting paper does not clearly indicate the response for which the elector wished to vote.

    Invalid voting papers

    A voting paper is invalid if the Returning Officer is satisfied that the voting paper—

    (a) is a forgery or a copy; or

    (b) was dispatched by the Returning Officer to a person whose roll identifier number was supplied to the Returning Officer under section 26; or

    (c) was posted to an elector under section 33, if—

    (i) a voting paper was also posted under section 34 or faxed under section 35(4)(a) to the elector; or

    (ii) the relevant parts of the voting paper were also dictated to the elector under section 35(4)(b); or

    (d) was marked by a person other than—

    (i) the elector intended to receive the voting paper; or

    (ii) if section 38(2) applies, a person authorised by the elector to mark the voting paper; or

    (iii) if section 38(4) applies, the Returning Officer; or

    (e) was marked in breach of section 74(2) or section 75(1); or

    (f) was not returned in accordance with section 40; or

    (g) if returned by fax, is not a true copy of the original voting paper marked by the elector; or

    (h) is damaged in such a way as to prevent it being processed.

    Neither seem a viable option.

    Can’t find if the option of putting in your own option is valid or not.

    • lprent 8.1

      I would expect that only writing “The existing flag” would be informal.

      • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1

        I’m kinda thinking that we need to have everyone write the same thing so that it can be recognised as an actual vote. Of course, that doesn’t mean that, under existing laws, it would be recognised as an actual vote which would be a pity.

        • sabine 8.1.1.1

          I think this is what Winston Peters is advocating with his KOF, Keep Our Flag campaign.

          Considering that I cant tick a box for none of the above, and no abstain option is given, i will write that on the ballot.

          Clearly a vote, but not for any of the designs.

          Heck it is that, or all those that don’t want to participate in the vote to boycott the referendum so that really only 19 % or so that actually want a change would participate.
          Would that invalidate a referendum, if only a small % of the population actually voted?

          • Clemgeopin 8.1.1.1.1

            Yes, it would. Non voters are irrelevant. Only those that bother to participate count. So in my opinion if you oppose this unpopular forced flag change, then it is essential to take part, cross the options (or draw the present flag) and write something like…

            (1) KOF (Keep Our Flag)
            (2) FOK
            (3) I am an informed informal voter. Don’t change!
            (4) Not time to change.
            (5) Change government instead.
            (6) Stupid Idea
            (7) CTC (Cut the crap)
            ((8) Have your ego high in Hawaii

            etc

            Will this make it ‘informal’ or ‘invalid’? Does that matter in this case anyway?

      • Anne 8.1.2

        Telling JK what you think of him is so tempting but I think Iprent is on the money.

        Using a black felt tip scrawl “the existing flag” diagonally across the paper is the best option.

        Then we can have a proper debate on becoming a republic and do it all properly.

        As for John Burrows and his little pack… they’ve done well haven’t they. $650 plus per day for nearly a year – they will each pocket at least $150,000 of our money for doing bugger-all!

    • greywarshark 8.2

      What about voting for them all. That would fit with ” the voting paper does not clearly indicate the response for which the elector wished to vote.” If I can’t have what I want or don’t want to advance yek’s bucket list dream, then voting for them all should ensure an informal vote? Shouldn’t it?

      And while I think of it, I thought people were voting for a flag, or for a design, not a response. Or is the response a yes or no for a flag change? I thought that wasn’t being offered as an option. Another bit of bureaucratic confuspeak?

      • Draco T Bastard 8.2.1

        What about voting for them all.

        But would that bring about this one?

        • Clemgeopin 8.2.1.1

          I am voting to keep the current flag. However, that flag in your link is a vast improvement on the four that are on offer:

          This was my twitter response :

          @lukeappleby Quite a nice flag that! Perhaps add a thin green border line on the four sides to make it even better. Cheers!— Clem Geo Pin (@clemgeopin) September 1, 2015

        • greywarshark 8.2.1.2

          DTB
          That flag looks a bit of a fruit salad. But I would actually go with that. It looks a bit of fun, and in our fruit loop development stage it would be just right. It is actually a piece of kitsch, would probably get revoked in a decade, but shows a sense of humour. It is more of a talking point than three coloured stripes and two countries in Europe have the same colours! One vertical I think, one horizontal.

          Merriam Webster meaning for kitsch:
          Full Definition of KITSCH. 1. : something that appeals to popular or lowbrow taste and is often of poor quality. : a tacky or lowbrow quality or condition

          That’s me all right.

      • GregJ 8.2.2

        What about voting for them all

        I think you actually rank them – at least according to the Elections NZ website on the referendum:

        “You’ll be asked to rank the four alternative flag designs selected by the Flag Consideration Panel.”

  6. newbie 9

    John Key mentioned that he could vote for 3 of the flags out of the 4. I think we can guess that the Koru is the one he doesn’t want. So all of those against the flag change should vote for the Koru, then John will ditch the second referendum.

  7. weka 10

    Do we know what the referendum questions will be exactly?

  8. Lanthanide 11

    I always thought it would be Kyle Lockwood’s flag to win the first referendum.

    I was pretty sure it would win the second as well, but less sure now.

    Originally I preferred the red/blue, but the black/blue doesn’t look too bad. Either way we’d end up with multiple alternative colour combinations used in different contexts anyway.

    It does, however, look pretty logo-ish.

    • Naki man 11.1

      “Originally I preferred the red/blue, but the black/blue doesn’t look too bad. ”

      One of these will be the new flag I am guessing the red/blue.
      I agree it does look a bit logo-ish but that’s not a bad thing

      • Puddleglum 11.1.1

        a bit logo-ish but that’s not a bad thing

        I think being ‘logo-ish’ is a bad thing.

        Flags – and any other symbolic objects – tend to short-circuit and then channel our motives, emotional responses and behaviour.

        Logos, almost by definition, are deliberately designed to maximise that tendency to side-step more careful, considered responses to events and decision making.

        If we must have a flag I’d much prefer that it be as bland, unremarkable, indistinguishable and forgettable as possible.

        You only have to think about how agitated and emotionally exercised some Americans get when they see their flag being burnt or stamped upon – it’s the equivalent reaction to that evoked by cartoons of Muhammed in some parts of the world.

        We don’t need that kind of ‘red rag to a bull’ symbolism imbued in mere objects if we are to respond to the world (including people of other nations) in the most considered, humane and sensible ways.

        Yes, it’s ‘part of human nature’ – perhaps – to imbue objects with symbolism. But that’s no excuse for deliberately super-sizing that aspect of our nature by creating ‘logo-ish’ flags.

        Logos are – mostly – ‘outward looking’ in an attempt to differentiate ‘brands’ in the minds of ‘consumers’. Flags, however, also have an internal function within nation states. To logo-ise a flag is to accept, in part, that ‘citizens’ are nothing more than the consumers of nationalism, awaiting manipulation.

        Perhaps that’s what flags have always been about (i.e., nationalistic ‘logos’) but, once again, that doesn’t make it a good thing.

  9. weka 12

    NZF’s submission on the flag referendum bill had this in it,

    The first referendum designed by this Bill could give rise to a very unusual result. All opponents of this Bill have to do, if the committee decides to persist with the Bill, is write on their referendum paper “we want our flag”. Their vote then becomes informal and if sufficient numbers do that then “informals”, which, after all, are a choice, will outnumber the next highest choice of flag design.

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1505/S00111/nz-first-submission-new-zealand-flag-referendums-bill.htm

  10. AB 13

    Three very similar silver fern flags – and one of the less appealing Koru flags from among the full set.
    Key wants a silver fern, and Richie agrees which is the ultimate endorsement, and it seems Key’s panel have got with the programme.
    Most likely the blue Kyle Lockwood will win out of the four. And sadly it may be touch and go against the current flag.

    What grates is the vulgarity of transferring the logo from a sports shirt or cap onto a national flag. If I had to pick one it would be the Koru – as the least likely to encourage jingoism.
    But nothing grates more than the hypocrisy – whipping the Union Jack out of the flag while restoring British honours. And a PM who is running a foreign policy that is less independent than we have seen for years, making empty, symbolic gestures towards our independent identity. Key simply has not earned the right to initiate a change of flag.

    • Macro 13.1

      ^^^^^ This.

      I particularly hate his hypocrisy of restoring honours and at the same time giving offense to thousands of ex servicemen who have served under a flag holding the union jack – all because of his vanity.
      He might like to ask the Australians to return to the red flag they used up until the time of WW2 If the similarity between theirs and ours causes him pain.
      http://www.ausflag.com.au/red_ensign.asp

      • Draco T Bastard 13.1.1

        +111

      • CrashCart 13.1.2

        As a currently serving service man who has been on active service the while “serving under teh flag” thing annoys me.

        I serve under a flag because it is the flag of my country and I want to serve my country. It in no way influences my service. More than happy to see it change and a large number of the current and ex service people I know are of the same opinion.

        I understand why the RSA are taking the stand they are as they are so conservative that any change is bad in their eyes. They also have the right by their service to use the excuse. I just wish people who have not served would stop using those like me as an excuse to keep the current flag.

        • Macro 13.1.2.1

          As a retired serviceman I am of a different opinion. You might want to recall that if you hold a commission in the NZ forces that commission is granted to you – not by the NZ parliament (or any NZ Politician) – but the Queen. That is the reason we have the Union Jack on our flag in the first place.
          Canada is a different story – theirs is a divided country – you only have to visit Quebec today to know that they are still staunchly French, and read the history how the province was signed over to England after the Treaty of Paris in 1763 – and they still resent it.

  11. NZJester 14

    My reaction to them was without the M.

    “Eh”

  12. maui 15

    It’s interesting you can put in place all sorts of bad policy that effects people nationwide, but give the general public 4 bad options to answer a simple multichoice question and the fallout could be far greater.

  13. adam 16

    Flag, national anthem has changed too – just in time for the world cup.

    God of Corporates on our knees,
    In the bonds of chains we weep,
    Hear our voices as we bleat,
    God defend John Keys flag,
    Guard Pacific’s star mart,
    From the socialist scum who want peace,
    Make her profits flow off shore,
    God Defend New Corporate land.

    .

  14. Ad 17

    Labour’s policy position remains to change the flag.
    So they cannot orchestrate any credible opposition to this.

    Presumably New Zealand First don’t want change.

    What is the Green Party position on the flag?

  15. Aaron 18

    The most astonishing thing is that it looks like a blatant attempt to make sure the PM’s preference wins – I mean there are two versions of his favourite for god’s sake! and the other two have got no colour and are likely to be a turn off to a lot of people for that reason alone.

    The whole thing has gone from being a very bad process for chosing a flag to something that is taking on the look of a deliberate parody.

    Maybe that will be Key’s legacy; a really lame attempt to do something positive.

    • NZJester 18.1

      Having a pannel narrow down the picks to their 4 favorites before the public even gets it’s say is also very undemocratic.
      It’s a loose loose for New Zealamd anyway no mater the outcome as National has wasted a lot of money we can not afford on this and even more money that will make the refarendum costs look small will be lost if people actually decide they do want a new one.

  16. mac1 19

    The black and white fern actually looks like a road lined with poplars casting shadows as the road winds off into the hills aka ‘la-la land’.

    So that’s ruined three of the four.

    The fourth, the koru looks either like a white weak receding jaw with rolling tongue, or a strangely deformed black armpit.

    I’ll vote “Meh!”

  17. to ADD.

    Its true that most Labour party and Lefties would like a change of flag ,but certainly not at the price of $26million plus.
    I have never ever heard so much claptrap and codswallop on a single subject in all my life.The world is involved in the worst refugee crisis ever ,here in NZ we have record number of homeless people .unemployed and a possible financial crisis looming and all we can find to discuss and debate is a coloured piece of rag. No wonder we have so many Tory governments and unsavourty members in power.

  18. Jenny Kirk 21

    Another curious aspect is that the Lockwood blue/red/silver fern design appeared as the NZ currency logo on an American health product being sold online – Vital3 Joint Solutions. It was on the website on 14 Aug 2015 but after adverse comment about it appeared on some Facebook pages it was replaced on 22 Aug 2015 with the current NZ flag.

    I can’t link to it because altho I copied it onto my own FB page, I can’t re-copy it onto here. maybe stretching it a bit too far, but I wondered at the time if Lockwood was in cahoots with ShonKey ?!!

  19. Glenn 22

    3 fern fronds and an immature fern frond (koru). Well Dear Leader got his wish and his underlings obliged.
    The Aussies will never let up on letting us know what they think of our white feather flags if any of the 3 get chosen.
    Might as well have had a flag of a sheep’s arse.

    • AmaKiwi 22.1

      I prefer a grinning Uncle Sam fu*cking a sheep.

      But it might soon be dated. We might need a smiling dragon fu*cking a sheep.

  20. David Scott 23

    Gee, narrowing it down to three flag designs that are the same idea and one super ugly flag! And all of the similar ones are all based around the format that King John said he approved of. Which monkeys did the selection? Not the same overpaid consultants I hope!

    Definitely, gonna be easier to give the finger to these designs that I thought!

  21. esoteric pineapples 24

    This Facebook post is quite interesting as it draws a link between the silver fern and the All Blacks, their sponsor AIG and John Key, arguing that corporate interests will benefit from a flag with a silver fern on it. It’s links to old news stories on AIG sponsorship of the All Blacks is interesting in itself – https://www.facebook.com/postmaninvestigates/photos/a.165377493520849.37519.165364613522137/961803800544877/?type=1

  22. Clemgeopin 25

    Read the reader’s comments under this article. Interesting comments about this uncalled for forced issue!

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/71624802/final-four-flag-designs-revealed

  23. vaughan little 26

    the liberal left want to get rid of the union jack. they hate being reminded of their past.

    • Grant 26.1

      Are you counting John Key and Richie McCaw as liberal left? just asking.

      • AmaKiwi 26.1.1

        vaughan little

        The present flag helps to symbolize that the crown (then Great Britain) is the treaty partner with the Maori iwi.

        None of the 4 proposals symbolize treaty partnership.

  24. photonz 27

    While there were designs I liked more in the final 40, ANY of the four finalists would be better than our current flag, in which the most prominent part is borrowed off someone elses country.

    And at less than $6 per person, it would be money well spent at ten times the price.

    • Draco T Bastard 27.1

      No, it was a complete waste of time and money.

      • photonz 27.1.1

        Draco – I thought you’d be over the moon with the flag debate – it’s given you hours and hours of opportunity to whinge and moan.

        All for just $6 per person. You’re getting fantastic value out of it.

        • Draco T Bastard 27.1.1.1

          Ah, the RWNJ, confronted with facts, reverts back to a rather stupid and pathetic ad hominem attack while probably thinking herself a wit.

  25. Neil 28

    I’m going to write on it “Keep our existing flag”

  26. Gabby 29

    I shall vote for hypnoflag as number 1 choice, no other preferences. Mr L has had enough free publicity.

  27. TTD 30

    4 red stars on a blue background
    now where have I seen that?

  28. Gael 32

    KOF and save the $?m required to print all the new flags/buntings/letterheads/forms etc that could be spent on well anything else like hiring some actual property maintenace staff at hnz who could have actual coffee breaks with oh i dunno the reinstated tenancy managers. Maybe they could chat about the family at no.5 whos Mum was just outta hosp and have you got a bit of spare framing make the old dear a ramp, oh and while you are there the kids room needs a smoke alarm fitted….no wait wrong decade, oops.

  29. Pat 33

    whatever anyones position on this farce, why the hell do we need 3 months to decide between 4 very poor offerings??????

    • freedom 33.1

      Whatever the reason Pat, today we have been assured by dear leader it has nothing whatsoever to do with the 2015 Rugby World Cup. No siree, nothing at all. It is a complete co-incidence that the first referendum co-insides with a [major?] international sporting event that crept up without fanfare and shockingly ambushed the period set aside for the flag referendum. If the government knew the 2015 RWC was coming up surely they would have planned ahead like all the bars that only had four short years to apply for their special licenses. The government are important people with big responsibilities, we can hardly expect them to read a calendar.

      As for the period of the second referendum kicking off a week after the centenary services of ANZAC day 2016, where the country is going to be receiving their ballot papers whilst dawn services honour the thousands of soldiers who died in far off lands, again, how were they expected to know?

      The RSA having openly rejected the need for change was, I suspect, not originally planned for. Dear leader’s carefully worded replies to their statements suggest the RSA delivered an unexpected response to his call to arms. The RSA might have delivered a few clouds on John Key’s parade but for those against changing the flag at this time, it is a silver lining that we hope will outshine the absurdity of a solemn memorial icon ( and an over-used commercial logo) from becoming our national flag.

  30. Pasupial 34

    If you want to see a truly meh New Zealand flag, have a look at the first one (not counting the United Tribes flag of 1934-1940, that was supplanted by the Union flag). Which was adopted in 1867, and not formally replaced by our current one until 1902 (though that was designed in 1869 and quickly replaced this one):

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_New_Zealand#/media/File:Flag_of_New_Zealand_Government_Ships_1867.svg

  31. Draco T Bastard 35

    Poll on flag change

    At time of posting it was 75% against. I suppose that’s why National outright refused to have a yes/no question first.

  32. rhinocrates 36

    Noted as a parallel – it’s a logo, not a flag – the official design for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo has been scrapped and some very nice alternatives such as the fan by Kan Kan are circulating in social media.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-34125046

  33. Jan Rivers 37

    Action Station to the rescue
    http://www.actionstation.org.nz/flag

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