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The Butcher’s Apron or the Tea Towel

Written By: - Date published: 10:04 am, February 28th, 2016 - 159 comments
Categories: boycott, colonialism, john key, leadership, Politics, poverty, referendum, republic - Tags: , ,

The second part of John Key’s failed legacy project is almost upon us. The PM is quietly distancing himself from the flag referendum, not wanting to be associated with failure. He’s relying on the B Team within his cabinet and caucus to try and instill some life into the process and despite twisting the arm of an All Black or two, the pro-change campaign has sunk without trace.

The voters of NZ will choose the current flag. But I won’t be among them.

The choice we are being asked to make is between a bland, lifeless compromise, with all the appeal of a novelty tea towel of the kind most often found in airport duty free shops and the incumbent, an equally compromised representation of colonialism. The current flag is a reminder of all the damage the British Empire has done as it strode around the world for centuries, enslaving peoples, stealing resources, and drawing artificial borders on maps where none were previously.

The simple fact is that wherever in this world the British Empire raised the union jack and rewrote the maps, the result has been misery. In the Celtic parts of the UK, the Middle East, Africa, the Americas and of course, the Pacific, the union jack has represented the removal of freedom, the death of indigenous culture and the forced assimilation of millions of people into the pink bits on the world map.

Here in NZ, we were conquered at the end of empire. We didn’t suffer quite as badly as the aboriginal peoples in the Americas or Australia. As the Woody Guthrie sang “Some will rob you with a six-gun and some with a fountain pen”. The treaty of Waitangi was robbery in ink, with the weaponry kept close at hand.

In Ireland, the union jack is widely known as the Butcher’s Apron. The division of Ireland and consequent civil war are well reflected in that wretched flag’s bloody colour. That foul flag anchors us here in Aotearoa to a divisive past. It’s not our future and it should not form part of our nation’s identity.

However, we will be stuck with our pale imitation of the equally subservient Australian flag for the time being. But no matter. Without real change, the flag is meaningless anyway. If John Key had any guts he would have proposed changing the countries name to Aotearoa and embracing political adulthood by becoming a republic.

But that’s Key all over. He’s only interested in the flimsy and the fleeting. There is nothing of substance to the man. If they ever make a statue of him, it should be made of tin foil.

Dunnokeyo’s actual legacy will be a poorer, more polarised country, its assets sold out to the lowest of the bidders.

The flag referendum could and should have been a catalyst for meaningful change. Instead, it’s a yawn fest.

I won’t be voting for the Butcher’s Apron. I won’t be voting for the tea towel either.

I’ll be putting the ballot papers to a far more effective use; starting a fire.

159 comments on “The Butcher’s Apron or the Tea Towel ”

  1. Bearded Git 1

    You sound like the lazy sods who don’t vote in the general election, where there is always a least-bad option to vote for.

    If you can’t be bothered to vote FOR something, it is always better to vote AGAINST a bad outcome, which in the case of the flag means voting for the status quo. That way in the future we may get a good outcome.

    • andrew murray 1.1

      What rubbish, whose side are you on.

      To vote for the least bad option does little more than ensure the continuation the current range of bad options. Our responsibility is to continually voice our opposition to the choices offered. to try and force change, not to submit

      • Just because the better option is still not good doesn’t mean we shouldn’t consider it. If it’s good enough for you to vote yes for, vote yes, otherwise vote no. As there is no third option to this referendum, not voting really just sends the message you don’t care at all.

        • andrew murray

          I agree with that, my comment related to the supposed “lazy sods who chose not to vote in a general election.
          Until there is an ability to vote for ‘none of the options on offer’ non voting is a legitimate action.

          • Pasupial

            You can always spoil your ballot, so that it will show up on the stats as invalid rather than simply another no show. It’s not much, but is a third option.

            • Matthew Whitehead

              I always maintain there should be a category for people who have obviously deliberately spoiled their ballot, so we can tell who just wants this issue to f*** off more than they want to vote. For national elections the equivalent of this is joke parties, with the added bonus that if they ever get any actual MPs some party or another will do a survey of what people who joke-voted REALLY want so they can try to get those votes.

              Spoiling your ballot is better especially if you’re aged under 30 or under-represented in parliament because you’re boosting the demographics of younger people (or your other demographic group(s)) showing up to the polls. If they’re going to lose your vote, at least make it obvious you cared enough that you would have voted anyway.

              Although I strongly support changing the flag on principle, I would also strongly encourage people to consider voting no before spoiling their ballot. This initiative costs $663,000 or so in direct government spending if we vote yes so if you’re really having trouble coming to an opinion, saving money that will make other things more affordable to the government, if less than 1% more affordable, is still a sensible default.

              (And thus continues my string of arguments in favour of better voting habits and fair representation for everyone, even when it hurts what I want the outcome to be. 🙂 )

      • Bearded Git 1.1.2

        You miss the point. If there is a good option then vote for it-that’s why I vote Green. With no good option available you vote least bad-for instance in the latest British election, with their stupid election system, the least bad option would be to vote Labour in a marginal constituency. To not vote would help Cameron.

        • Well, for a recurring election there’s an argument for not voting at all if no parties represent your views and you feel none of them have earned your vote. The Greens still have to get “close enough” you feel they’ve generally earned your vote, and not cross any of your red lines. (I know people who won’t vote Green because of the small faction in the party that support changing our medical system for untested “alternative” medicines, even though they never got anywhere. That’s a valid reason. None of those people chose to not vote however, but I wouldn’t disagree with them if they had a similar reason for not voting Labour too)

          In a one-off I think the argument is skewed a lot further in the direction of “vote the best option you can”, because there’s no solid guarantee you’ll get another go at the issue, but there’s still a threshold for this sort of yes/no referendum that you feel changing isn’t worth the $663k extra (which is nothing in Govt terms, we probably spend that much on paper annually, or more) we’d have to spend to modify our flags. In which case you should probably consider whether you dislike wasting money enough to vote no regardless.

    • Gabby 1.2

      I reckon if I thought there was no chance of cajoling people into voting for my option, I might just take a shot at dissuading those people from voting at all.

  2. red-blooded 2

    Yeah, not an inspiring choice… I would leap at the chance to step away from the absurdity of monarchy and the links to our colonial past. I think they need to be real steps, though, not a branding exercise. I’m tempted to bin the referendum paper, but I worry that if those of us who feel this way step away from the vote, the tea towel will win. So what, you ask? Well, I guess I’d say there’s more likelihood of truly rethinking our constitutional status if we have something symbolic like the flag there as a touchpoint, representing the idea of change.

    If we change it now we’ll be stuck with the tea towel for eons. If we hold back, the flag will change when we finally face up to the real issues and reflect on the status of our nationhood. I truly hope and believe that will be reasonably soon.

    I understand and respect your decision to burn it, but I’ll hold my nose and vote for the symbol of Britain in the south seas, knowing that it’s on its way out, it’s just a matter of when.

    • While Lockwood’s design is an unholy boring hybrid with the wrong colours emphasised and neither a bold nor traditional choice in terms of vexillology, the two things I will say for it are firstly that it does not feature the union jack, which is the most important part of change in my mind.

      And secondly that it doesn’t resemble any tea towel I’ve ever seen, lol. Simple tea towels are generally better designed, and complex ones don’t resemble a flag as closely as the Lockwood design does.

      • In Vino 2.1.1

        Ummm – I agree that it is not really like a tea-towel. It is much more like a duvet-cover, or, if scaled down, a pillow-case.

        I agree with TRP about the damage the British Empire did. It amuses me when people say how the British were less damaging than other imperialists. Ha ha. They weren’t.

        It is in the nature of all invasive imperialists to be damaging, and we have to reconcile ourselves with the evil in our own nature. The Butcher’s apron is no more despicable than any other imperial country’s flag, and I fear that it still rates better than the dorky new thing on offer. I want a much better new flag than this thing.

        Even better – no flag at all. It is a beacon for nationalism, and look at the damage nationalism has caused, under the benign guise of uniting a people to work for the glory of a common cause.

        The best and most effective flag ever was probably the Nazis’ Swastika. It seemed to inspire people a lot more than either of our choices will.

        So my proposition is a new 26-million-dollar referendum proposing no flag at all.

        Since designs would not be needed, the cost of the referendum would be likely to fall, and there would be no costs of changing the current flag after the referendum had been passed.


        • Anne

          But what’ll they put on the flag pole at the Olympics and RWC events? And what do the armed forces do? Salute an empty flag-pole? Now that would be very funny. Monty Pythonesque. I like the idea of no flag better by the minute.

      • D'Esterre 2.1.2

        Matthew Whitehead: “…it does not feature the union jack, which is the most important part of change in my mind.”

        In my view, the absence of the union jack is precisely what’s wrong with it, and that’s why I’ll be voting for the current flag.

        For good and ill (and quite a lot of ill in the case of some of my antecedents) the union jack is a symbol of our heritage, of where we’ve come from. I don’t believe that it’s ever a good idea to airbrush out the past – which is what’s being suggested with the abandonment of the union jack.

        Even if, eventually, we change our constitutional arrangements and in the process adopt a new flag, I’d want the union jack to be on it.

    • + 1 good comment red-blooded

    • weka 2.3

      “Well, I guess I’d say there’s more likelihood of truly rethinking our constitutional status if we have something symbolic like the flag there as a touchpoint, representing the idea of change.”

      Bloody good point. Which may be part of why they want to rebrand now.

    • Karen 2.4

      Well said Redblooded.

      I always felt the time to change the flag was when we become a republic, and when that happens I hope we can have a well designed flag not the abomination that is being offered up this time.

  3. sabine 3

    No matter what I will know who will vote, the right they will vote. No matter if they like or not they will vote. Because they always do.

    The left, will however, as always find reasons not to vote, usually because the person or in this case the object is not as ‘pure’ or not as ‘untainted’ and I would not be suprised if John Key wins again.

    This flag change was not a cataclyst for anything as it was not meant to be a cataclyst for anything. It was a distraction tool and it worked well.

    But now, if we like it or not, if there is a flag that we like or not we have got to vote.

    We lost the last election because over a million of people did not exercise their right to vote for the ‘lesser evil’ – and that is my opinion of voting. But the lesser evil would have been better then the alternative. How are you going to tell people to vote if oneself only votes when ones needs are looked after.

    So now we are going to loose again, because the process was not what some wanted it to be?

    If it were for me, the Flag change would be the last thing to change. First we cut ties with the royal family of England (and stop paying for their holidays and get rid of the Dame and Knight Shit) , then we decide for form of democracy we would like to have, we get a constitution (we could write one online as did Finland) and then we change the flag.

    But we do with what we have not with what we want.

    This post makes me sad, angry and disappointed all in once.

    • This issue is not a right-left debate and you cheapen it by implying it is. Nominally, all three of our biggest parties support changing the flag, they just have different views on which designs were worthwhile and how the process should have gone.

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 3.2.1

        Given the whole exercise is a propaganda piece from a right-wing government, not sure how you could cheapen it further.

        • Well sure, that’s how it was intended by Key. But policies don’t just become what people intended. They also become what they mean to the populace. And I’m urging people to vote on that second rationale and ignore Key’s intentions, because ultimately if we do change, it should be because this flag was worth changing to in the minds of New Zealand as a whole, and if not, because we weren’t ready. (And also because if we change this flag will way outlive John Key is a significant figure in political history, and will have obviously been changed despite him, not because of him)

    • kenny 3.3

      Good points Sabine.

  4. RedLogix 4

    I could argue that because my personally preferred Hundertwasser koru flag isn’t option, then I’m not going to vote either.

    And you’d regard that as a weak argument. Indeed, NOT voting is always weak.

    • andrew murray 4.1

      On a philosophical level.

      If you were forced to choose the exectution of one individual over another when through failure to choose they will both be executed, is it still weak to refuse to choose.

      • RedLogix 4.1.1

        In the context of democratic accountability, as it is normally understood, then I personally believe voting is a duty to be taken seriously. It is the primary mechanism by which the political establishment should be compelled to listen to the concerns of the people they govern.

        However I’m less keen on these referendums or plebiscites. In matters of positive and broad principle they have a place. But it’s not too hard to find examples of referendums which posit entirely obnoxious options.

        Nor have we quite yet descended to a Hunger Games gladiatorial society where we get to vote for who lives or dies, in order to boost the ratings.

        • sabine

          We talk a lot about Polls on this site. All sort’s of polls of who is the darling of the day, of who is winning – years out from an election, of why someone else might be un-electable etc etc etc .

          I see this vote for the Flag Referendum as a Poll, just that this time people don’t get to participate because they a. sit at home answering the phone, or b. are part of a polling group that always gets called, or c. might be a likely voter etc etc etc.
          This Flag Referendum is a Poll that everyone, regardless of anything, can participate, and I for one see it as a vote of confidence or mis-confidence (yes, sometimes i make words up, its the german in me 🙂 ).

          aS for voting who gets to live or who gets to die, i suggest you read some of the stories of survivors in german camps all over europe. Sometimes the choice was not given, and two were killed with one bullet.

          the left needs to vote this time around, they need to go to the polls, and they need to get those to the polls that want to find reasons not to participate.

          My advice for TRP is to not vote for him/herself, but for the next generation. Maybe they have more brains and guts than us, and will manage to start the process of emancipation in NZ the correct way, and then a new flag will come naturally, and people will not only be behind it they will happily fly this new flag as hopefully a symbol of a better NZ, not just for some, but for all and above all for Aotearoa, those few rocks in the middle of a grand ocean that is the only home we will have.

      • The Fairy Godmother 4.1.2

        The movie Sophie’s choice outlines this dilemma brilliantly. In this case I would have chosen neither because choice would have been absolutely unbearable and one child went to the gas chamber having been rejected by her mother. A truly heart-breaking movie.

        • sabine

          I don’t think we can compare voting for a flag with the choice of a women choosing whom of her children to live. Yet.

          We could also take the story of the Bible, King Salomon and the two mothers who both claimed one child to be theirs, and Salomon ordering the child to be cut in two so that each women has one part of it. Only of course the real mother would agree to give the child up in order to safe it, and thus King Salomon knew whom to give the child too.

          However in the Third Reich people knew that they had no choice. Either be obedient or die. Simple as that. Harboring a Jew was a death sentence, speaking against the regime was a death sentence, heck letting go of a bunch of flyers in a University let to beheading and hanging – Sophie and Hans Scholl. Everyone knew that Death was closer then life, and everyone kept their heads down, and lived in shame ever since.

          However, knowing that history now, we also know that before we come to the situation where the totalitarian state is everywhere, where the courts are stacked with yesmen, and giving bread to a camp prisoner can get you killed, we have a long period of softening up the population.

          Flag waving, patriotic rahrah – olympic games anyone?, dissenters being shouted down and out, others being made fun of, poor people being maliged, sick and handicapped people considered a burden, single mothers considered a shame etc etc etc etc etc etc – or as Hannah Arendt called it ‘the banality of evil”

          So long before any one of us has to make the choice the fictional Character Sophie has to make, or the choice Hans and Sophie Scholl made in their agitation against the state and coming to their death because of it, we have to make small choices.

          And maybe the Flag Debacle is just one of those small choices. Sometimes holding the nose and voting is the only option we have. What will happen if we don’t participate in this faulty process called democracy that we have?

      • Stuart Munro 4.1.3

        In such a circumstance you may have a moral imperative to overthrow the authority compelling you to make such invidious choices.

  5. Paul 5

    I’ll be voting to keep the present flag.
    Not voting is weak.

    • It’s not weak at all, Paul (and RL). The lower the turnout, the stronger the message to Key. We can safely leave this decision to the Tory voters. They are going to vote en masse and overwhelmingly, they are going to vote to keep the status quo. That’s a two fingered message to Key from his own core supporters. I think the left’s response should send a message too and just ignore the whole thing.

      Even, if by some fluke, the tea towel won, it wouldn’t last. It has no appeal and would be ignored by the majority. In some ways, that would be fitting. An empty gesture to a hollow man.

      • If you think Key gets any message from this referendum, it’s only from people voting No. So if you actually care about spiting him more than this choice, you should have the guts to vote no and admit you’re doing it purely based on personality politics rather than the issues. The only excuse for not voting is if you genuinely do not care either way.

        edit: And if you believe the Lockwood design would be replaced like I do, you should vote For so that the precedent is set for changing the flag, like I will. Worst case scenario, I’m making the vote closer to a Yes or removing the union jack from our flag, both of which count as wins in my book.

      • Paul 5.1.2

        The news will be that the flag was changed, not the low publicity.

      • sabine 5.1.3

        Do you really think that John Key gives a fuck if he wins by one vote or by a million?

        The lower the turn out the better is it?

        Well last election we had a really low voter turn out, and we really showed it to the Key, didn’t we?

        Vote TRP, hold your nose, and Vote, not for yourself, but for the next generation.
        And by showing up, show to the National Party that we are not playing their games.

        and then TPR, put your effort into a ‘Flag Change Process” that is inclusive, and that hopefully will engage in meaningful discourse, and will awaken a discussion about what NZ and who us Kiwis are in the 21st century.

        Please TRP, go hold your nose, go with other voters, make sure people are enrolled, and go vote. The right wins every single time when the left stays at home. Don’t stay at home. Go vote.

      • weka 5.1.4

        “Even, if by some fluke, the tea towel won, it wouldn’t last. It has no appeal and would be ignored by the majority. In some ways, that would be fitting. An empty gesture to a hollow man.”

        That’s why your argument fails. The teatowel will be adopted by every government department in NZ, most sports teams, it will be flown internationally at every formal occassion that requires a NZ flag, and many informal ones. It will be trotted out into every aspect of NZ culture that Brand Key can get its grubby hands on, and many more places where people will take it up voluntarily because they like it or because it’s the new thing. Yes there will be resistance, but it will take years to reverse this referendum.

        The slim hope is that if we had the teatowel as the flag we might finally be shamed into realising what the fuck this country has become and do something about it. But that’s pretty unlikely. We’re much more likely to tuck our shame away in the back room like we have been for the past 30 years and the past 170 years.

        You are risking all that on principle.

        • Pasupial

          “The teatowel will be adopted by every government department in NZ, most sports teams, it will be flown internationally at every formal occassion that requires a NZ flag”… The pricetag of this will add on to the $26million already spent (and will include the cost of the redesign, say; of miltary insignia, ambassadorial logos etc), so better to stop this nonsense now.

        • Gabby

          And a stupid principle at that.

      • swordfish 5.1.5

        “We can safely leave this decision to the Tory voters. They are going to vote en masse and overwhelmingly they are going to vote to keep the status quo. That’s a two fingered message to Key from his own core supporters. I think the Left’s response should send a message too and just ignore the whole thing.”

        Really ? Latest two polls have National voters split 50/50 (UMR Research (Feb 2016)) and 48 No/41 yes (Newshub Reid Research (Feb 2016))*. I’m not sure I’d want to take the risk.
        If the 60-65% of New Zealanders opposed to the Lockwood alternative don’t vote then we automatically have as our new national flag what you call the Tea towel and what I tend to think of as the Dog’s Dinner.

        Like you (and about 16% of voters according to one recent poll), I’d be more than happy to move to a new flag but not to the Lockwood eyesore. And I’m obviously considerably less blasé than you are about the prospect of the Country adopting the Dog’s Dinner. It’s an embarrassment. Which is why I’ll definitely be voting to keep the current ensign (albeit with slightly gritted teeth).

        *Haven’t got the breakdowns by party support for the very latest Colmar Brunton Poll (apart from the 76% of Lab voters for present flag mentioned in the Stuff article)

        • swordfish

          40% of Nats in the just-released Colmar Brunton back the Lockwood alternative. So pretty similar to the February Reid Research – reasonably evenly-divided.

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 5.1.6

        Key will be fine with a low turn out, so long as he wins. The turnout and where the left / right voted is a minor point that will be given little thought by the bulk of the population. Which flag won will be noticed.

      • Tim 5.1.7

        It is weak. If the new flag wins it will be kept for a long, long time. If the old flag wins then another opportunity will come along, hopefully on the back of some real change. Not voting doesn’t send a message to anyone – it’s as if you’re invisible.

      • Robert 5.1.8

        I strongly suggest people to vote one or the other. To not vote just gives key and co more chance of change.

    • Colonial Viper 5.2

      I’m a supporter of the current flag. But I will vote for it reluctantly because of how fucked the process Key has run on this has been.

      As for those people pretending to oppose imperial colonialism via a flag change, maybe pulling out of the TPP or rolling back mass surveillance would mean something more real.

      • What about those of us who actually oppose imperialism but believe we’re adults and can do small things and big things at the same time, because chewing gum doesn’t always distract you from, say, driving?

        • McFlock

          But the thing is that the flag isn’t a separate and distinct issue – it’s turning into a test of the popular support of the PM who nailed his coin to that particular flagpole. The same PM who reintroduced titular honours (which aren’t awards given for impressive cleavage).

          Things can be more than just what they are, they can become symbolic of the mood of nations. Even if they probably shouldn’t.

          So yeah, voting for a rag that seems to indicate our sovreignty, to you, better than the current one could end up lending support to the regime that is intent on selling our actual sovreignty to the highest bidder.

          • Matthew Whitehead

            HAHAHA no.

            The Prime Minister doesn’t get to decide what a policy means, and neither do Labour. That’s up to us.

            • McFlock

              Oh bollocks.

              Politicians put things forward with their angle.
              Media report it with their angle.
              People view it through their angle.

              All that’s up to us is “Flag A or Flag B”. But it’s plain to anybody familiar with, at the very least, political commentators in the media that a vote for change will be touted as a a victory for Key, further proof of his connection with the average NZer.

        • Colonial Viper

          but believe we’re adults and can do small things and big things at the same time, because chewing gum doesn’t always distract you from, say, driving?

          When the track record shows that we do fine at meaningless small gestures like chewing gum, and consistently fucking useless at significant events like driving hard and to the left.

      • Paul 5.2.2

        I am in total agreement with you on each point you make.

  6. Incognito 6

    I do think that not voting is leaving the choice to others. I can understand it but it is undeniable.

    I agree that this referendum is a missed opportunity but there will be future chances to change things; this flag fiasco will not be the end, it is a continuation rather of something much more involved that choosing (just) a flag.

    I could say many things about John Key but I won’t because I think he is the distraction this time.

  7. Anne 7

    Who doesn’t understand where Te Reo Putake is coming from? I like to think I do and have sympathy for his stand.

    The current flag is a reminder of all the damage the British Empire has done as it strode around the world for centuries, enslaving peoples, stealing resources, and drawing artificial borders on maps where none were previously.

    True, but for the most part those acts were carried out in spite of the flag, and the people who rallied beneath it in times of world wars were not to blame. Despite the hijacking of the Union Jack by authoritarian British governments, the flag still belongs to the British people. And its in that context that I’m happy to see it remain a part of our flag until a full discussion on what we want to do as a nation and where we want to go has been completed. Then and only then should we change the flag. So, I’m voting to “keep the flag” and hell… I’ve even acquired two current flags to go in the rear-side windows (one on each side) of my car. Just need to get off my backside and put them there.

  8. Rolfcopter 8

    we will be stuck with our pale imitation

    Actually, they copied ours and made changes.

    • The adopted theirs before we adopted ours. Only by a year, mind, but theirs is officially the first.

      • McFlock 8.1.1

        Actually, not according to wikipedia:
        Australian flag won their competition in 1901, but was not officially signed off until 1903.
        NZ flag designed in 1869, signed off in 1902.

        • te reo putake

          Good knowledge, McFlock! However, again, according to wikipedia, it won the competition, and was first flown, in 1901, on “Australian National Flag Day”. That sounds pretty solid to me. Two more minor amendments were made (1903 and ’08). The 1903 version was endorsed by the King, but the flag had been flying for two years by then.


          To be fair, I only included that line in the post to be a stirrer, so kudos for calling me on it. You too, Roflcopter. I don’t think either flag does their respective countries any favours, but I reckon the Aussies will have enough sense to wait till they become a republic before ditching theirs. I reckon a golden boomerang on a green background might be a good replacement. But that’s up to them.

          • McFlock

            And the NZ one had been in the works, and flown unofficially, since 1869 😉

            The thing about the current flag is that it stands out in a crown, so to speak. And really, unless we change the head of state and stop being surrounded by sea in the southern hemisphere, the current flag suits us fine, even if we don’t like it.

            What’s the old Michael Jackson thing: if you don’t like the man in the mirror, take a look at yourself and make a change…

    • Actually, both of our flags were designed independently by Australians who weren’t particularly original in their designs. Copying is irrelevant because the union jack should go on principle, and after that you just have a red southern cross on a plain blue field, which is a terrible flag design.

      Ergo, new flag please, even if it’s about the worst design I’d actually vote yes for. (The other Lockwood was bad enough to vote no for, at least this one has our main national colour in it, even if it is flooded with too much blue, and an over-complicated compromise)

  9. I’ve updated my enrollment to be able to vote for the current flag.


    you said it, “The current flag is a reminder of all the damage the British Empire has done as it strode around the world for centuries, enslaving peoples, stealing resources, and drawing artificial borders on maps where none were previously.”

    it is our flag and accurately represents the real us imo

    and “Here in NZ, we were conquered at the end of empire. We didn’t suffer quite as badly as the aboriginal peoples in the Americas or Australia”

    that is untrue.

    • weka 9.1

      “it is our flag and accurately represents the real us imo”


      • Pasupial 9.1.1

        First change the constitution of the country – no; foreign monarch as head of state with our military sworn to her (not our) service, then change the flag.

        • cogito

          “our military sworn to her (not our) service”

          Next you’ll say that it’s the Queen who orders our forces into war…..! Get real.

          And if you want to talk about “our” service, what service exactly is Key providing, and to whom? Plenty of kiwis would argue strongly that the only person Key is serving is himself…… unlike the Queen who has served the Commonwealth faithfully and tirelessly throughout all her many years.

          • McFlock

            So the oaths sworn by our armed forces, police, other officials, and MPs are trivial.
            The fact that our laws only come into effect after the “Royal assent” is trivial.
            Public land being called “Crown land” is trivial.

            But the flag with a Union Jack in the corner? Oh, gosh, we need to change that as soon as possible, regardless of the shit alternative and regardless of the shit who has put his political will behind that alternative.

    • I don’t believe that statement is untrue, marty. The conquest of America and Australia were campaigns of deliberate genocide. In Oz, the country was regarded as Terra nullius, that is, nobody’s land. The koori peoples were systematically killed. That never happened in an organised way here.

      It’s the same continuum, but we were on the easier end of it.

      • marty mars 9.2.1

        you can’t get the land if there are people on it

        their is no easier end of it imo and the stats show that

      • weka 9.2.2

        Bags of poisoned flour or whacking kids for speaking te reo, take your pick of short and long ways of killing a people. I know which one white people consider to be kinder, but I think the change in tactics by the British was at least in part because they didn’t have the stomach for a protracted war this far from home and this late in the piece.

        • te reo putake

          I agree with your final sentence, weka. As I wrote, we were conquered at the end of empire. The enthusiasm for slavery and genocide was waning and the British tried divide and rule here instead. I’m not saying that was a good approach, just that it was less awful than what happened elsewhere.

          • marty mars

            it wasn’t less awful – that is just a line to alleviate guilt and build a narrative that suits. It was awful, end of.

            • te reo putake

              Ok, but try telling that to the victims of real genocide, MM. They’re not likely to appreciate having their experience diminished.

              • fuck off wannabe – real genocide – what a dickhead

              • weka

                Looks like you’re the one doing the diminishing trp.

                IME, people who make suffering a competition usually have an agenda.

                • Tell it to marty. My position is that the suffering was real, but the experiences were different. Far from diminishing anything, I’m saying each people’s experience of colonialism was different. That’s actually respectful.

                  • weka

                    Why would I tell it to marty? He already gets it.

                    You’re not saying they’re different (which would be completely legitimate). You’re saying that the damage done is on a continuum and that some places were better than others (or less worse). Not that they’re different but that we can grade them according to terribleness by the values of the conquering culture not the values of the people who were colonised.

                    • I never said “grade”. That’s your line, not mine. I’m saying they’re all different experiences, which is clearly factually correct. And, further, that those that suffered under colonialism can define their own history. It’s their story, they get to tell it the way they want.

                    • what does ‘less awful’ mean voice of reason if not a ‘grading’ of some sort. Hint the word ‘less’ is the key.

                      “I’m saying each people’s experience of colonialism was different. That’s actually respectful.”

                      yet somehow my explanation of some Māori experiences gets ridiculed and diminished because it doesn’t fit within your ideas. How is that respectful voice of reason?

                      I have given you lots of opportunities to modify your bullshit yet stubbornly you refuse – bit like a mayoral candidate on another post eh? cut from the same cloth eh?

                    • You’re overreaching, marty. I haven’t ridiculed or diminished anything. Quite the opposite.

                    • weka

                      I never said “grade”. That’s your line, not mine. I’m saying they’re all different experiences, which is clearly factually correct. And, further, that those that suffered under colonialism can define their own history. It’s their story, they get to tell it the way they want.

                      Glad to hear you’ve changed your position then.

                    • weka

                      “I haven’t ridiculed or diminished anything. Quite the opposite.”

                      Yes you have.

                      See how that works?

                    • Nope. Show me your workings.

                    • so voice if I say I feel that you have ridiculed ME and what I was trying to say – by for instance talking about “real genocide” and saying that I was diminishing the people who have experienced “real genocide” – YOU say I am overreaching

                      [deleted. TRP]

                    • weka

                      “Show me your workings.”

                      They’re pretty clear for anyone to see, plus marty just gave you an example. My point is that you won’t see because of what you are doing, and if we all did that, the debate on ts would go,

                      I’m right, you’re wrong.

                      No, I’m right, you’re wrong.

                      No, I’m right, you’re wrong.

                      ad nauseum.

                      Now admittedly, too much of what happens here is exactly that when you strip away all the fancy, but you are taking it to new heights today.

              • Jenny Kirk

                Wasn’t what happened at Parihaka a genocide ? It sure sounds like that to me. And didn’t that same scene happen elsewhere.

                • Definitions of genocide are freely available, Jenny. My understanding is that in our shared history here there is only one occasion that is said to be genocidal or at least close to meeting the usual use of the term. But google may provide others. It’s not something I’m going to spending more time on tonight, but you’re welcome to do some research if you want.

                  • weka

                    “Definitions of genocide are freely available”

                    Ae, picking the one you want, how very Key-esque.

                    • They’re pretty much all the same definition, weka.

                      And it appears it’s not a term that’s applicable to aotearoa, except in one specific case that was outside of British colonial control. At least, that’s what I found when I spent an hour or so trying to find evidence that said otherwise. The Brits were not pursuing an active, systematic campaign of genocide, as far as I can tell from actually researching the term and our history last night.

                      Now that things have cooled down a bit, I’m happy to have any credible links that can show there was a British campaign of genocide. I couldn’t find any and I really did look hard.

                      What I did find was battles, massacres, war crimes, murders and the alienation of the people from their land. But genocide? No.

                      I shut it down last night because we were all getting angry and contributing heat, not light. It’s an emotive subject, and we’re not the first to have difficulties with it, as this link shows:


                    • The lost sheep

                      By 1896 the Māori population had declined to approximately 42.000
                      The drop to that point from the Pre European population of 100k or so was mainly due to exposure to new communicable diseases, which can hardly be called deliberate.

                      The second major source of decline was the 20,000 odd people killed during the Musket wars. Again, it would be difficult to see that as a deliberate act by Europeans.
                      A further 2,500 Maori were killed during the Land Wars. That was deliberate, no doubt.

                      by 1960, only 26% of Māori spoke Māori as their first language.
                      To give that some context…..
                      “By the later 1890s, however, the population was on the increase, as had been predicted by Māori politician Sir James Carroll. Public health programmes aimed at Māori had a favourable impact in the early 20th century, as did the introduction of universal free health care from 1941. By the second half of the 20th century Māori life expectancy had improved significantly, from 28 at birth for males and 25 for females in 1891 to 61 for males and 65 for females in 1966.”

                      “According to the census of Maori Population and Dwellings, issued by the Department of Statistics in 1964, the estimated Maori population at 18 April 1961 was 167,086,”

                      “The latest Census figures show there were 598,605 people of Maori ethnicity living in New Zealand on Census night in 2013,”

                      Not denying by any means that Maori have endured a huge amount of suffering since the arrival of Europeans, but under what definition does an increase of that magnitude in the size and health of a population constitute genocide?

                    • @voice

                      [Deleted. Grow up. If you want to have a debate about the actual issue, feel free. But you haven’t put up anything yet but abuse. You are capable of much better than this. TRP]

                • Grindlebottom

                  I dunno whether Parihaka fits the description of a genocide exactly but it was certainly a war crime and one of the worst examples of the dishonest, egregiously cruel, & criminal behaviour of New Zealand’s settler governments.

                  Perpetrated on a completely peaceful, substantial, successful, modern and well-ordered town, agricultural centre, and community which presented no threat at all to settlers, but whose people and leaders they were determined to completely humiliate & subjugate, and whose lands they were determined to steal.

                  I’m a pakeha from Taranaki and I’m always ashamed of our history there.

                  • weka

                    Thanks Grindlebottom.

                    The Native Schools Act 1867. Under this extension of the 1858 Act, the government offered state village schools to Māori communities who so wished. In return, if the Māori community provided a suitable site, they would receive a school, teacher, and books.

                    The use of the Māori language in schools was actively discouraged, in order to encourage assimilation by the Māori into European culture as rapidly as possible. At first many Māori welcomed the fact that schools were being taught in English. Children speaking Māori in the home and English at school, quickly became bilingual.

                    By 1896 the Māori population had declined to approximately 42.000, and it was confidently assumed that the Māori race would assimilate into the European culture, and simply disappear. As a result, by 1960, only 26% of Māori spoke Māori as their first language. Thanks to the campaigning efforts of Sir Apirana Ngata, the Māori language became a University subject in 1951.

                    My emphasis. So again, bags of poisoned flour or whacking kids for speaking te reo, there are many ways of making a people not exist any more. We might not use the word genocide for what the Crown wanted to do to Māori in NZ, because isn’t genocide done with guns and gas chambers fast, but not legislation and deception over time? However if the intention and end results are the same, what word should we use?

                    • Grindlebottom

                      I see your point Weka. I think there is actually a compound term that is accepted to describe where Empires and colonisers have tried, and/or succeeded in, wiping out aboriginal peoples through theft of autonomy and lands and enforced assimilation into their own cultures rather than annihilation through large scale direct massacres – cultural genocide.

                    • weka

                      Thank-you! That’s perfect.

          • weka

            Yes, I know that’s what you are saying. What I’m saying is that indigenous peoples might not even frame the question in that way (who had it worse/better?), and that the framing you are using is problematic.

            What marty is saying directly.

            • te reo putake

              I agree, but there is a comparison to be made. The treatment of maori was significantly different to the treatment of other colonised peoples. That’s an actual fact. Neither treatment is positive, but trying to say they are all same diminishes the experience of those various peoples.

              To give a local example, would anyone consider the treatment of maori to be the same as the treatment of moriori? As I said earlier, they’re on the same continuum, but for moriori the result was extinction.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                [citation needed]. Some other things too.

              • weka

                Trp, no-one, and I mean no-one, has said that they are all the same experiences. You clearly don’t understand what is being put to you.

                “As I said earlier, they’re on the same continuum, but for moriori the result was extinction.”

                You are putting them on a continuum. It’s being suggested to you that the putting of such things on a continuum is bogus. You assert that it has to be done, but you haven’t said why.

                It’s also been put to you that the people who were most affected might see things differently. Why not listen to them?

                • Nobody, me you or marty, is out to diminish or belittle anyone. Seriously, this discussion has made little sense from the get go. I’m simply not being presented with any actual arguments. Hence, ‘show me your workings’. If I’m getting this wrong, please, explain how. I’ve got nothing to go on at the moment, except inarticulate outrage about actual fact.

                  Edit: Plus, it actually is a continuum. Similar experiences, but different extremes. That’s pretty much the definition of a continuum. Again, that’s not problematic, or shouldn’t be. It’s a reasonably well known and well used way of looking at linked events. it shouldn’t be controversial in itself, but if it is, please say how. I’m not beyond learning.

                  • weka

                    You’ve not been listening trp. When you respond to both myself an marty that is obvious. You are more interested in being right. Pretty much all I’ve heard from you all the way through is denial. Sorry, but the time for asking for clarification was many hours ago.

    • Paul 9.3

      A lot of ethnic cleansing happened to the indigenous people of the North American continent happened after 1776.
      And land theft was even worse once the Union Jack was removed from the flag.

      In NZ it was the Crown that protected Maori from the worst ravages of British settlers.

      Ask the Irish what they thought of the Republican Cromwell.


      • weka 9.3.1

        Maybe Māori have a different perspective on the relativity of suffering.

      • marty mars 9.3.2

        ask the people who were affected

        indigenous communities don’t measure this imo – it is a construct designed to appease sensibilities and pretend

        • Paul

          There is no Treaty of Waitangi in the USA.
          Instead there are reservations.

          • marty mars

            there were plenty of treaties broken.

            believe what you want but imo you are barking up the wrong tree

            • Matthew Whitehead

              The issue is basically that nobody in the US government grew the balls to start standing up for what their documents actually plainly said before mass land seizure and effective genocide had already been ruthlessly successful.

              In New Zealand we managed to pull up a bit before we got to that point and have started actually doing the right thing belatedly. This had very little to do with Britain or The Crown, that’s just revisionist history talking. It had to do with the recognition of natural law and the principle that those treaties were constitutional documents. We wouldn’t have got anywhere on this if it weren’t for the work of the Labour Party on both the ’75 and ’85 acts.

              The USA, as Marty says, signed plenty of treaties. The issue is nobody decided to take any of them seriously at a time that would actually make a difference to the tangata whenua.

              • Colonial Viper

                The issue is basically that nobody in the US government grew the balls to start standing up for what their documents actually plainly said before mass land seizure and effective genocide had already been ruthlessly successful.

                What the heck are you talking about – some of the ‘Founding Fathers’ who wrote those documents were amongst the biggest profiteers off stolen indian land.

            • Colonial Viper

              The native indians would have done way better had the British won.

          • joe90

            First Nations signed dozens of treaties most of which if not all have since been dishonoured in much the same way as Te Tiriti o Waitangi was until the 1975 Treaty of Waitangi Act.

    • This may be the most convincing argument for keeping the flag I’ve ever heard, bravo.

      That said though, I don’t think we’ll ever get over it to any degree if we don’t ditch colonial symbols in general and make the country realise they are NOT FOR GLORIFYING. But anyone disagreeing with just that half of my problem with the Union Jack on our flag doesn’t bother me the slightest, because hey, they accept colonialism is a serious problem so we pretty much have to be best buds ever on anything touching race relations.

  10. weka 10

    “Here in NZ, we were conquered at the end of empire.”

    Ae, and let’s not forget it’s also true that for those of us with British ancestry, which is a big chunk of the population, here in NZ, we conquered at the end of empire.

    Much of NZ culture is infused with the values of the conquerors. We still have a dominant culture as a consequence. For that reason, the current flag has meaning and should stay until we consciously choose to decolonise as a state. Getting rid of the flag should be a symbol that we have acknowledged the butchering, redressed it, and are in the process of creating something better and new. It shouldn’t happen before then, because all that does is pander to the parts of society that want everything to be nice now without having to do the work to make things good.

  11. Stuart Munro 11

    Mistaking the ills of colonisation for the whole western culture is a mistake, like taking Mike Hosking’s views as representative. The union jack is part of our history and leaving it off would be a lie unless we find a truly more representative symbol. We must make the best of the country and culture we have, not change its wrapping paper.

  12. RedLogix 12

    Speaking just for myself here is what I would want to see us become:

    Open up Google Earth. Zoom back out so as you can see the entire hemisphere as a circle, and now place this country at the centre of that circle. This is our true place on the globe. We are embedded in a massive ocean, shared with Australia, PNG and Indonesia.

    And across this vast space live many of the worlds remaining and strongest indigenous cultures, alongside a large swath of migrants from all over the world.

    My dream is to forge a Pacific culture that merges the strengths of all these diverse cultures into something entirely new. The 95% of the world’s population living on the other side of the planet are trapped in a cycle of destruction. And while we cannot escape entirely the consequences of those death-throes, we have the opportunity to shun being involved directly in it.

    We have the opportunity to see ourselves newly in the world, to look to those all these amazing environmental, social and cultural resources that lie scattered as pearls over a vast ocean … and seek to build a wholly new destiny.

    For me Hundertwasser’s flag captured something of this vision, something that we could all grasp. Something inspiring and attractive, something that might induce us to set aside fear and greed, something to capture our hearts that we might willingly undertake the dangers and uncertainties of such a transformation.

    So … no tea-towel for me.

    • Beautifully put, RL. Your dream is my dream too.

      • sabine 12.1.1

        Then go vote, and help prevent the tea towel, dishrag, corporate logo used to sell lambchops, plastic plates and what nots to become flag and stop the process about becoming a pacific nation, rather then staying a subject to her majesty and her royal bludgers.

        Then start to advocate for a change that will allow this country to move forward and not just keep the status quo in a new frock.

    • Colonial Viper 12.2

      RL – I am going to get on GE and do that right now…

    • Colonial Viper 12.3

      I would pull the globe around a bit further so that NZ continues to ground the hemisphere, but the hemisphere also includes: Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, China, Korea, Japan, Russia, etc.

  13. doug stuart 13

    The roots of the current flag lie in the Imperial Colonial Naval Defence Act of 1865,which ruled that all ships owned by a colonial government must fly the Blue Ensign with the badge of the colony on it. New Zealand at the time did not have an official badge or emblem, and as flew the blue ensign without a distinguishing badge. In 1866 the nz government steamers St Kilda and Sturt were reprimanded by visiting British ships for flying the Blue Ensign without the colony badge This embarrassment prompted the government to devise an emblem to place on the Blue Ensign,.This is why we have ended up with a pommie naval flag with some stars on it. i am surprised
    that people of the left would support a flag that comes from the british navy the bastion of class discrimination. i am voting for a change.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 13.1

      i [sic] am surprised that people of the left would support a flag that comes from the british [sic] navy the bastion of class discrimination.

      Noticing that Shonkey’s shonky jack-up is a clusterfuck masquerading as a trainwreck does not denote support for New Zealand’s flag.

      Surely a transparent strawman isn’t the best argument you can muster.

    • Keith 13.2

      It’s National voters as well who don’t want the tea towel or have you been living under a rock? And because we get a whipped up cartoon as an alternative because that is the one John Key wanted most is not reason for changing a flag.

      But go on do it properly, become a republic right now and then get a flag with real meaning and keep the process a 1000 miles away from the manipulative National Party! Then we might get something we can all agree on!

    • Stuart Munro 13.3

      And the reason the flag was required was to show that a vessel was not a pirate – which was not quite as humourous and humanitarian an occupation as might be supposed from watching Black Flag or On Stranger Tides – for all that the crooked Ozzie authorities knew perfectly well it was not a pirate and were trying to exploit that rule to steal a nice new little ship.

    • Colonial Viper 13.4

      It’s part of our heritage and history as a nation doug stuart, and you cannot hide from it, brush it under the carpet, or pretend that it didn’t happen.

      • Bob 13.4.1

        At the same time the current flag was chosen Maori speaking Te Reo at school were being beaten (http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/culture/maori-language-week/history-of-the-maori-language), by your logic we should be proud of beating Maori speaking Te Reo in school because “It’s part of our heritage and history as a nation”, “you cannot hide from it, brush it under the carpet, or pretend that it didn’t happen”.

        No one is saying brush our history under a carpet, but holding on to the negative connotations of the current flag certainly doesn’t help, and your argument seems to be ‘keep it because we have had it for a long time’.

        While I agree with some here that the flag should be changed as part of a move to becoming a republic (this should have happened when the UK left us to rot when they joined the EU), I believe even the symbolic change of removing the union jack from our flag is a move in the right direction, and hopefully a move towards becoming a republic at the same time. The former may please John Key in the short term, but the latter certainly would not.

    • cogito 13.5

      “british navy the bastion of class discrimination.”

      What total and utter twaddle.

    • Gabby 13.6

      I like the British navy. I’ve heard much worse backstories for flags. I’m voting to keep it.

  14. Reality 14

    I will vote for the current flag. It represents our history, good and bad, which is what history throughout the centuries always is. Nirvana never existed. I would rather have an historically based flag than a fish skeleton plonked in the middle of a new flag.

    I also take exception to ABs and other names being wheeled out to influence voters as if they know what is best for the “simple folk” who in their eyes believe we really need to be told to be good girls and boys and do what we are told. I think it was Audrey Young’s article that said Labour was making the issue into a political one. Well, just what would one say about the other side of the coin, Hosking and others. She had her blinkers clamped on when she wrote that.

    The similarity to Australia’s flag is not a problem – they are after all our neighbours in this part of the world. Many flags are very similar to others. We just need to remember they have an extra star.

  15. Keith 15

    It was a shallow, window dressed, manipulated process that any banana republic dictator would have been proud of.

    Why do we get rid of the Union Jack but not do likewise with the Queen and those god awful Knighthoods? There is absolutely no need for us to be linked to the UK any longer, we get no favours from them. The answer is blindingly obvious, it’s brand logo exercise promoted by the politicians politician John Key with all his usual short trade mentality.

    It wasn’t helped by Keys arrogant petulant attitude to the recent asset sale referendum accompanied by a total fuck you attitude nailed the coffin lid shut on any goodwill remaining when it came time to actually consult the public on his pet project.

    And I can’t leave out Audrey Young, the Heralds chief propagandist to the National Party. If you missed it Audrey threw a big ol’ illogical hissy fit at the opposition parties for the impending failure that her idols flag campaign has become! Yep Audrey, John Keys flag fiasco is a loser and it’s his problem!

    • Anne 15.1

      And I can’t leave out Audrey Young, the Heralds chief propagandist to the National Party. If you missed it Audrey threw a big ol’ illogical hissy fit at the opposition parties for the impending failure that her idols flag campaign has become.

      Yes. One major tanty cos her beloved National Party looks like it isn’t going to win. She had the gall to claim the Labour Party introduced politics into the debate – ignoring the blatant engineering of the referendum by JK and co. in the first place – and for political gain. They wanted a flag that looked similar to the National Party’s campaign logo – black/blue and some white. Part of the 2017 election campaign strategy.

      • Anne 15.1.1

        Example of Nat. bill board – albeit with some changed wording. 😉 Even the little red Southern Cross is there. It’s no coincidence the Lockwood won and I’ll wager a bet with anyone the designer was commissioned to produce exactly that design in the first place.

        National Campaign bill board

  16. tc 16

    Choose your form of distraction, Shonky cares neither way as he’s got all the options scripted for him.

    He just needs a bit of rehersal and the vanity flag distraction bandwagon just keeps rolling on. No don’t look over there look at me in all my pantomime glory.

  17. rod 17

    From the Union Jack, to the Union John. Wouldn’t that be great? Not.

  18. linda 18

    i will vote to make sure john fuckken key doesn’t get his flag and make sure we can ram the 29 million dollars the ego twit spent down his throat when we have so many social problems in this country

    • doug stuart 18.1

      Labour flag plan page 5 nz herald 1/3/16, Andrew Little says the party could offer another referendum to change the flag in 10 to 15 years, what another 29 million dollars for Andrews ego.

  19. linda 19

    may be we should have the dildo flag

  20. The lost sheep 20

    The Moriori experience of Te Ātiawa colonisation on Rēkohu
    The Ngāi Tahu experience of European colonisation on Te Waipounamu.

    There is no qualitative difference between those two examples?
    In terms of both their experience at the time, and the effect on the colonised peoples current situation, it is exactly the same thing with no graduations to take into consideration?

    And this is a point we are not able to have a reasonably rational debate about?

  21. millsy 21

    The way I see it, a lot of good things got chopped in this country over the past 30 years, and there will be a lot more in times to come.

    At least we get to have a say in whether our flag gets chopped. And given that it is one of our last links with pre-1984 NZ, I’m voting to keep it.

    (though I do admit to think about voting for change — but only because this country is in serious need of a reboot).

    Besides, the NZ Flag inspires me.

  22. Lloyd 22

    The present New Zealand lag is a security risk for New Zealanders when Australia does something that results in a country or political group reacting in a manner that is likely to be nasty to Australians. Our flag is seen by the vast majority of the world as the Australian flag – no difference. If the Australian government bombs ISIS any New Zealander showing the current New Zealand flag is a target for ISIS. Scary huh?

    Ok, we pick a new flag. We pick one with a black and white pattern that when it is wrapped around a pole looks like the ISIS flag. Of course if our troops in Iraq put this flag up a pole on their position, eventually some gun-ho member of the Tennessee National Air Guard will bomb the shit out of the New Zealanders after mistaking them for ISIS. The flag with a red top corner was a lot safer, but we didn’t pick that one duh.

    So both flags are crap from a national security point of view.

    Guess if we get the new flag we’ll be pulling out of Iraq? Probably not because FJK won’t give a toss about a few squaddies getting blown to pieces by our allies – its no worse than losing a few coal miners.

    General advice, vote against the new flag because it will make FJK look useless and look like a waster. Not voting is sitting on the fence

    We can organise a better flag when we become a republic.

    • Grindlebottom 22.1

      Yup. And it’ll still be a knock down drag out fight over what’s the best design in all probability because that’s what seems to happen with several choices offered for proposed new flags.

      Apparently the South African flag was one of 7 and none of them were much liked. Their present one was supposed to be an interim flag for five years so that they had one for the 1994 elections. But it ended up becoming popular so it’s now the national flag.

  23. cogito 23

    First Hone Heke, now Hone HeKey.

    Plus ça change….

  24. That foul flag anchors us here in Aotearoa to a divisive past. It’s not our future and it should not form part of our nation’s identity.

    I guess not, but while our head of state is HM the Queen/King the union jack remains a highly relevant part of our flag, regardless of whether or not we like what it stands for. The relevance needs to disappear before the symbol does, otherwise you’re only fooling yourself.

  25. Tiger Mountain 25

    it is a tawdry flag but I do not relish the prospect of Keyreepy getting “his and Richie’s” flag endorsed, my main reason for voting no change is to help stop the history of British Imperialism in this country going down the memory hole

    it would be too easy for a rebranding episode to change the flag in our post colonial era before Māori get justice, a million NZers live offshore and new arrivals here could care less about indigenous struggles, at least the old flag is a constant visual reference point to the colonial takeover of this land for those that need to make it

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