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The flag diversion

Written By: - Date published: 11:44 am, January 30th, 2014 - 119 comments
Categories: david cunliffe, election 2014, john key, national, same old national, uncategorized - Tags: ,

Tangata whenua flag

Election year is now upon us and both National and Labour have started aggressively.

National knows that its prospects for the election are not good.  With no viable coalition partners it has been forced to talk up the Conservative Party and make overtures to NZ First.  Key no longer has the option of pretending to be principled when it comes to doing deals with Winston Peters.

National has also been forced to consider adopting Labour Policy.  Suddenly it supports paid parental leave, and it is working out what is the minimum it can do to  make it look sympathetic yet more fiscally disciplined than Labour.  It obviously understands that supporting rich corporates and not supporting families is political poison.

The cynicism is extreme and voters should be reminded that National voted against Labour’s introduction of paid parental leave in 2002 and also voted against Sue Moroney’s bill in 2012 as well as announcing that it would veto the bill.  Its recent conversion is no doubt due more to focus group data than a real belief that the state should help young families so that their babies have the best start possible.  I am sure that voters can distinguish between the committed and the cynical.

National has launched a sustained attack on Labour’s Best Start Policy.  It seems there was a bit of wriggle room in the speech language and instead of David Cunliffe saying that 59,000 kiwis would receive Best Start for the first 12 months he should have said that 33,000 would receive it for 12 months and 26,000 would receive paid parental leave for 6 months and Best Start for the next six months.    But really, is this justification for the beatup?  In either case support for young families would be significantly improved.  And no doubt if there is justification for this to occur the policy can be changed so that Best Start and paid parental leave can both be paid at the same time.

The Herald is doing its best to help the Government.  It has been publishing a particularly negative photograph about Cunliffe taken at the Monday speech.  And as Karol has pointed out it has chosen to interview an employee of the far right Maxim Institute to provide comment on the benefits or otherwise of Best Start.

Growly Cunliffe

TV3 initially came out swinging but has now backed away from its former position.  It accepts that 33,000 kiwi families will get Best Start for the full year and another 26,000 will get paid parental leave for 6 months and Best Start for the next six months.  David Cunliffe accepts that the drafting of the particular passage of the speech could have been better.  TV3 has described the incident as a blunder in an otherwise popular policy.  It is good to see that TV3 has backed off its previous description.

The overall impression is that National is playing catch up on this issue and is maintaining peripheral attacks on the detail of the policy in an attempt to denigrate it.  Once the effects of this initial bluster wears off I am sure that the policy will be popular.

So what does Key do?  He announces an review of the country’s flag.

This is an interesting tactic by him.  His base, the conservative farmer sorts hate any change, particularly one that would suggest that New Zealand is a proud independent nation rather than an adjunct to the United Kingdom.  He obviously thinks that he can burn some political capital with his base and gain support from his less secure supporters.

His proposal, that the Government comes up with an alternative flag and then at this election a referendum is run on which flag should be the country’s flag, is undemocratic in itself and will probably fail.  It would be much better for there to be a simple question, should a new flag be adopted, and then the public be allowed to propose alternative designs with the best subject to some sort of selection process.

It does not need to be done this year.  I agree with Key that this debate would be a distraction during election year where much more important issues than the particular characteristics of a piece of fabric need to be discussed.

But you have to wonder at the timing.  Could it be that Key prefers us to concentrate on what a piece of fabric should look like rather than what we are going to do about child poverty?

119 comments on “The flag diversion ”

  1. Meg 1

    While I do support the idea to look at a new flag, it has come out of no where from Key and smacks of desperation.

    • weka 1.1

      It came out of Key’s sleeve, where NACT have been keeping it specifically for when they need to use it as a distraction from Labour. They couldn’t use Bene-bashing Bennett this time because it would make them look vindictive and anti-family.

      • AmaKiwi 1.1.1

        Murphy’s Law: When planning a new $100 million factory, the board will spend more time deciding where to put the water coolers than deciding whether the factory should be built.

        Why? Because everyone can have an opinion about water coolers.

        So let’s argue about the flag and ignore the country’s social, economic, and environmental fiascoes.

        How many more of these b.s. diversions can Key pull out his ass before the election?

        • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 1.1.1.1

          Brings to mind the old saying “To fiddle while Rome burns”:

          “To ‘fiddle while Rome burns‘ refers to the belief that the infamous Emperor Nero played the lyre (there were no fiddles yet) while Rome was burning.

          Nero was rumoured to have started the fire to clear space for his Domus Aurea.

          Idiomatically it means someone is doing nothing about a serious problem.”

          http://www.ancientl.com/roman/idioms-greek-hebrew/

    • It’s ironic that the people who claimed changing the flag was a vital step to redefining ourselves as an egalitarian modern nation now see it as a “distraction” because somebody they don’t like is proposing it.

      It was a distraction when Helen Clark talked about it, too.

      • Murray Olsen 1.2.1

        That worries me a bit as well. However, I don’t think Key is particularly interested at all in getting the Union Jack off our flag (Sir John?) and I don’t think an All Black jersey with the sleeves cut off is an inspired choice.

        • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 1.2.1.1

          “…I don’t think an All Black jersey with the sleeves cut off is an inspired choice.”

          LOL

  2. captain hook 2

    Keys version looks like a melanoma!

  3. ianmac 3

    Key is giving the fingers to NZers by proposing a referendum after totally rubbishing the outcome of the previous one.

    The only Leader being interviewed re the Key/flag distraction, who wondered just why now, was Hone. Exactly Hone. Why now!

    A choice between the present flag and one chosen by Cabinet is another kick in the guts for Kiwis. Arrogance?

  4. Bill 4

    According to the electoral commission or whatever they’re called, a referendum will cost about $10 million. The recent postal referendum on a far more serious matter was slammed as a waste of money ($10 million) by John Key.

    I really hope the Greens and Labour, if asked about their position on this, point out JKs hypocrisy on $10 million spendng, the fact that far more serious issues occupy their time, suggest it’s the same for most people, and knock this fucked up potential waste of $10 million into touch quick smart.

    • weka 4.1

      A referendum held a general election costs much less.

      • Bill 4.1.1

        Just heard the electoral commission on Radio NZ give a $10 million costing.

        • veutoviper 4.1.1.1

          And the spokesperson also said on RNZ National’s midday report that it was about the same cost as a postal referendum. The spokesperson also said that it would now be a logistical nightmare to have t the referendum with this year’s general election.

          This is not yet up as a separate item on the RNZ website but is about 10 minutes in to the overall Midday Report recording http://www.radionz.co.nz/radionz/programmes/news-bulletin/audio/2584019/radio-new-zealand-news

          • weka 4.1.1.1.1

            Is the cost the same because they have to rush it? I thought part of the argument against the last one was that it was more costly to hold stand alone referenda than ones at a general election.

            • veutoviper 4.1.1.1.1.1

              I don’t know weka. I was a little surprised at the comment by the Electoral Commission spokeswoman that the costs were pretty much the same, as I also thought that in the past (including re the assets sales referendum) the argument had been that stand-alone referenda cost more that those held with general elections.

              RNZ have now put up a separate item on the logistics etc of holding the referendum but the only recording they have included is the segment from Morning Report. http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/234665/flag-referendum-would-be-major-exercise\

              This link does not include the specific comments from the EC spokeswoman on costings so the only way to hear what she said is to endure the first 10 minutes or so of the full Midday Report recording I linked to in 4.1.1.1 above.

              • weka

                Thanks, that is curious.

                • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill)

                  Yeah, not so curious that we would be under the impression that the postal referendum cost more than one done at a general election:

                  This being because we got our information from mainstream media sources – who appear to specialise in conveying inaccurate, or just plain wrong, information.

                  **note to self: must remember to be even more sceptical of what I read and hear from mainstream media sources,**

    • geoff 4.2

      I really hope the Greens and Labour, if asked about their position on this, point out JKs hypocrisy on $10 million spendng, the fact that far more serious issues occupy their time, suggest it’s the same for most people, and knock this fucked up potential waste of $10 million into touch quick smart.

      Fucking good point, Bill!

  5. Wairua 5

    I believe that a new New Zealand flag may appropriately be a giant Red Herring on a background of your choice ..

  6. McFlock 6

    Asked whether a flag debate could overshadow the Government’s messages about more important issues such as the economy, Mr Key said: “That’s always a risk and that’s one of the things we would have to consider.”

    I’m sure he’d be saddened and disadvantaged if his economic management were overshadowed by bits of coloured cloth fluttering in the breeze.
    yeah, right.

  7. Tiger Mountain 7

    A diversion.

    Nation states are fading from favour in the era of global capitalism and free trade, borders mean less than before, useful only to whip up nationalism for commercial sporting rivalry or racism against immigrants and refugees.

    The 85 supreme bludgers that according to Oxfam own more than the poorest 3.5 billion of earth’s citizens, shift their squillions around the globe digitally. They could perhaps do with a new flag–the Jolly Roger?

    A new kiwi flag is easy, just a copy of the US one and replace the stars with logos–Warner Bros, the Aussie Banks etc.

  8. Clemgeopin 8

    Here is my opinion on it:

    [1] Key is trying desperately to raise a red herring to distract people during this election year because he is sensing that he and his party and coalition partners are going to lose this coming election and/or, Key is trying to create an immortal legacy for himself by pushing this issue forward now and wanting a referendum on it at the election this year!

    [2] During this year, people should be more focused on political party policies and leaders and not be distracted by Key’s cunning tactics of introducing what is at present an unnecessary and absolutely non urgent ‘change of flag’ issue.

    [3] In my opinion, the flag issue should be raised sometime in the near or distant future when the people are ready to change to a Republic.

    [4] And at that time, it would be very fair and good to incorporate some Maori cultural aspect too in the design.

    ———————–

    I think it would be good idea for the leaders of opposition parties to expose Key’s cunning ploy.

    A matter such as the change of flag of a country is a serious issue and needs some time, a few years of discussion and careful consideration, different designs incorporating history, aspirations and culture.

    The ideal time would be when and if the nation is ready to become a Republic.

    Perhaps a campaign needs to be started to thwart Key’s cunning trick by pushing the point that it is too hasty to change the flag at this time. The discussion and debate needs at least a couple of years.

    If Key still decides and insists on a referendum this year itself, then, among others, ONE of the choices in the vote should be
    (..) This is not the right time to change the flag.

    • weka 8.1

      Good points and a nice counterpoint to Key Inc wanting a new logo.

    • mickysavage 8.2

      Agreed Clemgeopin. When the current monarch shuffles off I think it is a good time to discuss a change to a republic and this would also be a good time for a debate about the flag.

      • Clemgeopin 8.2.1

        Yes, and if we then decide to remain with the monarchy and not become a republic, we could then still have a debate whether to change the flag or not.

    • Clemgeopin 8.3

      I also think that a referendum result on such a serious issue as change of one’s nation’s flag should be valid not just on a simple 50% plus majority, but on an overwhelming majority such as 2/3 rds (67%) or 3/4 rs(75%}. Do you agree?

    • ianmac 8.4

      Clemgeopin.
      (5) Mr Key knows that his time as PM is running out so it is now or never to establish his fame (or infamy.)

      • Clemgeopin 8.4.1

        Yes, to offset his historical infamous legacy of pro-wealthy policies, pro-corporate and big business largesse, stupid asset sales and anti-worker, anti-poor, anti-freedom laws.

  9. Poission 9

    Correct call,it is a diversion to deflect from Wheelers OCR statement.Which is the constraint on policy objectives and projections.

  10. framu 10

    and a diversion that will rapidly backfire

    people are already seeing straight through this, and thats before we even start to factor in the RSA pointing out that the very year Key wants a ref is the same year as… 100 years since gallipoli

    also – doesnt a ref have to be a yes/no answer? (ie: it cant be a “pick a or pick b” question)

    • Tracey 10.1

      It can be should the nz flag change…

      And prior advise thatf if majority says yes then another ref or a group present 3 choices

      I favour a new flag. Like hun terwassers. But 10m will fund bones food in schools programme wont it…

      • framu 10.1.1

        except thats not what key is quoted as intending

        according to reports he wants to pick one with his cabinet and then present that as the only option without even asking if the change is first wanted

    • SHG (not Colonial Viper) 10.2

      the very year Key wants a ref is the same year as… 100 years since gallipoli

      My grandfather served at Gallipoli, and his gravestone is engraved with his name, rank, unit, and a Silver Fern.

      • framu 10.2.1

        well i guess thats why the rsa have come out and said that they oppose changing the flag then isnt it

      • Tracey 10.2.2

        Do you think it is one of the top 10 issues facing nz?

        How do you reconcile the pm wanting to spend millions on a referendum when he thought the last one was a waste of money?

  11. Tracey 11

    Law society today criticised the use of urgency this govt as a reach of human rights… national responds with a new flag a d a royal visit… get rid of union jack and fawn over royals. No contradiction there.

  12. BM 12

    I think Key should be congratulated for raising the debate on should we keep or change the flag.

    From what I’ve read, seen and heard the general consensus is that people feel that politicians are only in it for themselves and never listen to what the voters says.

    By raising the flag topic, it provides a platform that everyone can get involved with, offer an opinion,have a say and vote on what our flag will be, makes people think their opinions count for something.

    They don’t call John Key, the PM of the people for nothing.

    • weka 12.1

      “the PM of the people for nothing”

      lolz.

      • McFlock 12.1.1

        Oh man, I just had a horrible thought – maybe our local tories are all being controlled by alien brain parasites, but the human hosts occasionally manage to phrase things in such a way that they type the truth without the parasite noticing?

        Sort of Stargate meets Torchwood:Children of Earth.

      • risildowgtn 12.1.2

        +100000
        needed a good laugh

    • Tracey 12.2

      You mean like with the assets sales referendum

      • srylands 12.2.1

        asset sales (sic) were not a suitable topic for a referendum. The flag is a suitable topic.

        • Ross 12.2.1.1

          srylands,

          You would have to be a moron. Why don’t you bugger off to Farrar’s site unless you can engage your brain.

    • Clemgeopin 12.3

      BS, unless you are being sarcastic!

    • framu 12.4

      “By raising the flag topic, it provides a platform that everyone can get involved with, offer an opinion,have a say and vote on what our flag will be, makes people think their opinions count for something.”

      no – thats bollocks. Key intends to put forward his idea and then ask us to pick the current flag or his brainfart. Please point out where that process does anything you claim it does

      • BM 12.4.1

        no – thats bollocks. Key intends to put forward his idea and then ask us to pick the current flag or his brainfart. Please point out where that process does anything you claim it does

        If Key was an idiot he’d do what you suggested.

        But he’s not, this is a feel good, patriotic rah rah gesture, the whole process will be as inclusive as possible.
        I would expect there to be a TV series called something like

        Our National Flag- your vote, your choice…
        where all the flag artists and their designs are show cased and people get to vote on the different designs to narrow the choice down to maybe 3 designs + the existing flag.

        Those chosen designs then become the choices of the referendum.

        • Hayden 12.4.1.1

          …this is a feel good, patriotic rah rah gesture…

          Jeez, that’s a bit cynical, isn’t it?

        • Clemgeopin 12.4.1.2

          You know this how? No such idea was stated by Key yet!

        • framu 12.4.1.3

          “He said that finding a consensus on a new flag would be difficult and if ministers backed a change, the Government would decide on a design and ask the public to vote for or against it.

          “We have to make it simple,” he said yesterday”

          so its not what i suggested – its what key is quoted as intending to do

          link

          Please point out where that process does anything you claim it does

          • felix 12.4.1.3.1

            “Please point out where that process does anything you claim it does”

            Well it does show that Key is an idiot, just like BM said. So that’s something.

        • Tracey 12.4.1.4

          Do you ever go back later and re-read things you wrote here?

        • risildowgtn 12.4.1.5

          No
          Its diversion tactics.

    • Rosie 12.5

      Lol, who calls him the PM of the People? Puppet of the Corporates more like!

    • miravox 12.6

      “I think Key should be congratulated for raising the debate on should we keep or change the flag”

      I dunno, I reckon this should be part of the constitutional review his government set up. He’s got the report, why not wait until the recommendations are presented in a cohesive way forward?

      I guess he only wants the public concerned with the symbols of state rather that the workings of the State.

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 12.6.1

        Plus one Miravox.

        No need for your opinion of whether we should sell the country, now pick out some nice curtains.

    • They don’t call John Key, the PM of the people for nothing.

      He has to pay them? Actually, on reflection, they don’t call John Key ‘The PM of the People’ at all.

  13. Yoza 13

    There’s always the flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand. , although similarity with the St. George Cross and the fact the ‘United Tribes’ consisted of Nga Puhi with a smattering of Tainui adherents probably wouldn’t go down well anywhere south of Auckland.

  14. SpaceMonkey 14

    Desperate stuff from Key… second only to his use of WMDs to justify the GCSB and other five-eyes members from spying on New Zealand.

  15. Policy Parrot 15

    Come to think of it, isn’t this what Jenny Shipley did when faced with the likelihood she would lose power at the next election?

    “The flag debate was stirred up again in 1998 when National Party MP and Minister of Cultural Affairs Marie Hasler called for the current flag to be replaced with a silver fern on a black background. The Prime Minister, Jenny Shipley, tourism operators and others supported her suggestion. The RSA again argued in favour of the existing flag, but said that it would support a change to the flag if it was shown to be ‘the will of the people’ in a public referendum.”

    So shouldn’t the media be asking: “why bring this up now?” Smacks of distraction.

    • ianmac 15.1

      @ Policy:”So shouldn’t the media be asking: “why bring this up now?”
      The only Leader who asked that during the TV question to every Leader, was Hone.
      The only Leader who challenged the shortness of time before an Election was Winston.

      • Clemgeopin 15.1.1

        Yes, I noticed that too. It was a golden opportunity for the other opposition leaders to expose Key’s cunning bluff!

  16. MaxFletcher 16

    The timing of this ‘serious’ issue was certainly coincidental.

    “Inequality?…but but..THE FLAG!”

  17. Craig Y 17

    Hmmm. I think it’s a good idea to change the flag, but on the other hand, will it actually divert attention from core issues of economic inequality within New Zealand? No more than Colin Craig’s enthusiasm for the restoration of parental corporal punishment, I suspect. New Zealand’s voting public is nowhere near “post-materialist” enough for either. (And I’ll only become post-materialist in a post-capitalist society, thanks very much!)

  18. Craig Y 18

    But- I am a soft republican, so I support the idea of a flag change in principle. As a matter of fact, it seems to be one of those consensus parliamentary issues where there is little difference across party lines within the current Parliament. I think the left needs to steer this argument toward one in which republicanism, a new national flag and new national anthem are seen as one incremental solution to New Zealand’s democratic deficit. The other is a written constitution, and the third, of course, is a comprehensive welfare state and social citizenship that it enables.

  19. Jenny 19

    I have just heard on the radio that John Key is now saying, that he is only considering a referendum on the flag. Maybe he is starting to realise that it is on this sort of thing that sometimes electoral defeat hinges on.

    Especially if the Labour Green opposition Parties come out and say will oppose changing our nation’s the flag and think we should retain the current one. This would put New Zealand First on the spot, with their avowedly nationalist platform they could not possibly side with the Nacts. John Key must be realising by now that theis issue splitting New Zealand First away from any possible arrangement with National.

    We do not need a meaningless corporate type logo on the advice of some advertising excutives as a symbol for our country.

    • Jenny 19.1

      “It’s on the All Black’s Jersey”
      John Key

      (Along with all the other very similar corporate logos)

      The All Black’s Jersey

      Welcome to New Keyland

      Yeah Right!

      Tell John Key to shove his dirty attempt at the corporate branding of our nation.

      Bring on your referendum John Key, and we will vote it down in massive numbers, along with your government.

  20. Jenny 20

    Nikey

    “Just Do It”

    Jonkey

    “Just Did It”

  21. Jenny 21

    “How many countries in the world have a flag with an all black background?”

    No results found for “How many countries in the world have a flag with an all black background?”

  22. Jenny 22

    Will New Keylander taxpayers have to pay for the “Trade Marked” rights to the country’s new flag?

    Or will we just lease the rights until the next corporate rebranding?

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/9667574/Designing-a-flag-isn-t-black-and-white

    Designer Dave Clark was commissioned by the New Zealand Rugby Union in 1986 to create the first trademarked logo for the All Blacks, the silver fern design which remains today.

    Clark and his team also helped design all of the New Zealand Super Rugby team logos and names, Air New Zealand’s rebrand and the Auckland International Airport logo, among a host of other high-profile designs.

    Any new flag would need to be coloured, not just black and white, Clark said.

    Eweuu. I see a messy trademark infringement battle looming in John Key’s future.

    Or maybe, to avoid copy write infringement, and other (icky) problems we could go with pastels.

    Any new flag would need to be coloured, not just black and white, Clark said.

    “The things I’ve learnt over time is that, in terms of the colour you’re going to use, it should really try and reflect the colours of the country and the colours of this country are green and blue.”

    Any takers?

    Using black was a double-edged sword and could cause problems for a national flag, Clark said.

    “In branding and packaging, black gets used to indicate premium positioning, think chocolates or coffee.

    “In Western culture it’s also the colour of mourning, sadness and death.

    Icky

    Jenny the [email protected] Queen

    [lprent: Only a few more months to go.. ]

  23. Pretty cynical and typical move by key. The distraction aspect will frustrate labour, the inevitable choices will piss off many Māori because guess what flag won’t be considered, meanwhile the electorate will mistakenly feel that they have been given some ability to actually make change, when ironically the election is the actual change moment but this will be a nice distraction from that messy moment of politics.

    So imo key up to his usual tricks and i think any opposition has to react like Hone did after key’s recent attack on him (to support the Māori Party) – stick it back to him – get on the front foot and follow up hard. Too many free hits from key have built a feeling of overconfidence in him and rubbing his smug face in his bullshit is the best answer. Labour (in their own way and on the issues which they think are important) should use the example of Hone – does he lower his head to key – fuck no! The days of being nice to that wankey because he has pondscummed his way to the ‘top’ must be over if the left hope to get the treasury benches.

  24. newsense 24

    Time for some Kiwi/Iwi-esque shite…

    Key: The Things that Matter Labour: Our Children

    Key: The most important thing for me in politics is to change our flag Labour: One in Five NZ children in poverty

    Key and English: Paid Parental Leave is a ‘nice to have’
    Labour: 26 Weeks Paid Parental Leave and 25 hours free Early Childhood Education

    • srylands 24.1

      “Time for some Kiwi/Iwi-esque shite…”

      I hope you are not from Labour Marketing.

      Key didn’t say the flag was the most important thing.

      And there are no New Zealand children living in poverty.

      • fender 24.1.1

        Here’s something else you can sing to your cockroach, sslands. Some NZ sounds from ’81 for ya..

      • marty mars 24.1.2

        no nzchildren in poverty? – many have explained the error of your thinking, the paucity of your imagination, the boring regurgitated predictable lines you push, the idiocy of your conclusions, yet on you continue – the funny thing is you think you’re funny and you are but not for the reasons you suppose and if you ever figured that out you wouldn’t be seen again, but until then your extreme right wing views provide mirth so ta for that.

  25. Scott 25

    Part of the problem for the left, I reckon, is that the values of the left at its best – inclusiveness, equality, pluralism, and democratic debate – don’t sit well with the atavistic emotions that flags are intended to stir in the human breast. So lefties tend not to make the best flag designers:
    http://readingthemaps.blogspot.co.nz/2013/02/why-good-politics-make-for-bad-flags.html

    • Colonial Viper 25.1

      Heh, that’s sharp.

    • Chooky 25.2

      Scott …that is bullshit….many artists and designers ,in fact the greatest of them and the majority of them , have been Leftys…hence they are more than capable of designing a flag

      ( fascists dont generally make good artists or designers eg Hitler a failed artist and rejected by Disney)

      …what Key wants as a flag is most unoriginal…in fact it has been a NZ logo for years ….and quite frankly any flag Key brings in will be ceremoniously burnt around the country

      ….so I dont think it is a good idea to make a new flag out of our old silver fern as he wants

    • mickysavage 25.3

      Good stuff Scott. I am tempted to ask if we could use your post as a guestie but I would rather not buy into the Key distraction unless we have to …

      • Chooky 25.3.1

        …MS….fact is most Nation States do have flags….or do you suggest New Zealand should not have a flag at all !…….this is all very radical.

        ….Maybe New Zealand should do away with a flag altogether ….maybe we could be subsumed under the flags of China or USA or Israel or Australia to show our economic dependence and the changing of our values?…maybe we could change our flag every year or so…..as economic circumstances and and values change …or maybe we should adopt the flag of the United Nations….but if every country did this …we would not need a flag….ONE WORLD….a wee bit utopian imo

        imo…most objections to the New Zealand flag and the monarchy seem to come from Irish Catholics…or new immigrants…… however …even these people come from countries with flags

        …..and I have to say that for others subjugated by these nations these flags represent oppression too ….eg how do the Tibetans feel about the Chinese flag? or the Palestinians about the Star of David flag ….or the Aborigines feel about the Australian flag …or the countless peoples in South America and the Middle East about the Stars and Stripes?

        ….for Christs Sake even the IRA has a flag

        //www.google.co.nz/search?q=ira+flag&espv=210&es_sm=122&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=T7LqUp7AJsSNkwWOx4GoBg&ved=0CCkQsAQ&biw=1432&bih=747

        imo leave NZ flag as is but incorporate Maori flag /emblem of Maori choosing ( John Key stay well out of it)

  26. xtasy 26

    It is simple, change your pair of trousers, or your shirt, and the world will look a lot better. If you feel sick or unwell, do just that, and all problems will go away. You get sent this message endless times each day by the advertisers on media and elsewhere. So why do you doubt it?

    Do you doubt our “leader”, that he is NOT sending the “right” message to us? Oh, I fear, you are entering “dangerous territory”. Better review, rethink and join the flag debate right now, that is more important than anything else right now, as it will make us all feel a lot “better”!

    We want a “happy flag”, a “new flag” and our “leader” is so “liberal” and “inviting”, he even suggests we make our choices. What a wonderful “leader” we have, Kim Yong Key is the “best leader” we ever had. Do not doubt, it will be at your peril!

    • Chooky 26.1

      +100 xtasy

      the New Zealand flag as it stands is part of our history….it reminds us of the sacrifices of the ANZACs….it reminds us of the Treaty of Waitangi….a partnership between Maori Chiefs and the Queen Victoria

      …..and scoff as we will about New Zealand’s colonialist past it is not as bad as it could have been
      …..when I was 20 I once flew between Sydney and Canberra and sat next to an Aborigine leader…. an Australian MP….I think the first Aborigine to be an Australian MP…..He told me how much better the New Zealand Maori had had it in New Zealand with the early colonialists than the Aborigine had had it in Australia with early Australian colonialists..

      ( and I know this for a fact because i know someone whose ancestor was a chairman of an Australian bank( forget which one…probably now owns half of NZ bank accounts ) who told me his ancestor used to go shooting Aborigine for sport!..he wasnt proud of it!…..I digress)

      ….Anyway the old Aborigine MP told me how much he admired the New Zealand Maori( their fighting spirit and their adaptability) and that the New Zealand Maori were very lucky to have the Treaty of Waitangi….He had a lot of admiration for the Chiefs for signing such an agreement with the Queen and drawing up such a Treaty….he wished the Aborigine could have had such a Treaty …he had a great deal of mana

      imo the New Zealand flag should stay as is ( in respect for our very decent and brave (fighting against fascism) Maori and Pakeha ancestors who made great sacrifices in the world wars and who for the large part set out to build a socialist egalitarian NZ.. . )….But also have the Maori flag/emblem incorporated, even taking primacy , alongside the Union Jack emblem and the Southern Cross emblem….as a symbol of our founding document and legislation and people and place

      The Maori flag/emblem should be chosen by Maori….. and John Key should have no part of it

  27. xtasy 27

    This whole “flag business” is being raised at the wrong time, there are much more important things to focus on now! I would like a different and better flag, that is more representative and looks better to represent modern day NZ. But this is all a con. And too many “died” for the wrong ideas and for “flags”. It made me worried also hearing a RSA leader talk about the silver fern representing a “cowardly feather”.

    Some extremists from the other side that worshiped the flag per se were such as Horst Wessel:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcCvcGuIqfo

    Stop this worship of flags, for damned god’s or whosoever’s sake!

    Get this country sorted out, before we discuss flags and whatever petty issues! Fuck John Key, the manipulator, to distract from what matters, I’d say.

  28. Scott 28

    I’m not so sure about the lack of aesthetics of fascists, Chookie: I think that the Nazi flag, which was the product of a good deal of experimentation during the early years of the movement, is an horrifically powerful piece of design. I’m writing an essay at the moment about Benjamin Work, a Tongan-New Zealand artist with some German ancestry (there are an amazing number of Germans in Tonga) who has been covering walls in Auckland with murals that feature a distinctly Tongan version of the swastika:
    https://fbcdn-sphotos-c-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/t1/s403x403/57942_274257892708967_1768837750_n.jpg
    Ben’s image mixes Hitler’s symbol with the pala tavake, a famous head dress worn by the Tu’i Tonga, an ancient shaman-king and the effective overlord of the Tongan Empire in the late Middle Ages. There’s a sort of malign beauty to the mural which I find quite disturbing.

    Feel free to make the post a guestie should you want to go down the path of distraction MS.

    • Chooky 28.1

      Scott…. the swastika is a very ancient symbol….not invented by the Nazis but usurped by the Nazis

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swastika

      I have seen the swastika painted on house doors in far out places in Tibet ( and they weren’t Nazis …they had probably never heard of the Nazis)

      Most fascists are very unoriginal people…in fact I would say they are emotionally and spiritually stunted people….they should not go anywhere near the design of a Nation’s flag

  29. Philj 29

    Xox
    The USA $ symbol on our flag would be appropriate for Key’s flag.

  30. lurgee 30

    Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. And sometimes a politician wondering about whether we should have a look at changing the flag is just that.

    I honestly can’t see how this could be a diversionary tactic. I credit John Key with more intelligence than that. After all, he’s wiped the floor with us twice now. Or are you suggesting that’s so easy even an idiot who thinks the public will be completely befuddled by a ploy so obvious can do that?

    I think Key has been so effective in colonising the middle ground (and some on the left so quick to abandon it in favour of a small-but-ideologically-pure corner of the debate) that he has driven many on the left quite mad. Everything has to be part of a Grand Conspiracy (possibly featuring a Needlessly Large Weather Machine and a Secret Base inside an underwater volcano). Which tells you a lot about how desperate he has made us. Every action and utterance is analysed and deconstructed to find the true motive, the real dark seedy manipulative purpose because, you know, it is impossible Key might just genuinely be wondering about whether we should have a look at changing the flag. It’s got to be something else. There has to be an ulterior motive! And we have to be the first to spot it or at least the ones braying most loudly about it.

    If Key had a motive beyond just wondering about whether we should have a look at changing the flag, I suspect it probably would be causing mischief on the left. Because – like it or not – he’s got our number. And the paranoid ramblings and aghast wailing emanating from the blogatariat prove it. An casual comment from Key, and the left is veritably turning itself inside out in an effort to show how caddish – and yet stupid – Key is, lobbing this debate into the middle of an election year. An so a lot of time and energy is wasted in Exposing John Key’s True Motive in wondering whether we should have a look at changing the flag.

    A less demoralised and desperate left would have said, “Yeah, we’ve been saying that for years, welcome to the party, John.” After all, mos of us would probably support replacing the flag , or at least talking about it. Gnashing our teeth at how duplicious Key is just makes us look sad and hopeless.

    In this case, I think he genuinely believes it is a debate worth having; and election year would be the obvious time to do it, as you’ll get a better response than with a stand-alone referendum.

    • miravox 30.1

      Yes, I credit Key with an awful lot of political skill. So much so that he would be unlikely to just muse about something that would take other political matters out of the headlines for no good reason.

      Moreover, I believe puddlegum (above) might be on to something as well.

  31. ecossemaid 31

    Keys Change The Flag Policy…….. Let’s run it up the flag pole and see who salutes the diversionary tactic!

    • Chooky 31.1

      ecossemaid +1 …like it !…….Hone Heke set a precedent and chopped down the flag pole

      http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/people/hone-heke

      …..i reckon Hone Heke’s descendants and Tuhoi take part in designing the Maori emblem part of the New Zealand flag along with Hone and his Mother Titi ….Hawarera

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ng%C4%81i_T%C5%ABhoe

      ….. which also incorporates the old flag with Southern Cross and Union Jack, which was the symbolic British party to the Treaty of Waitangi settlement with the Maori Chiefs and a founding document of New Zealand legal system…rights of Maori and ecology environmental values

  32. JM 32

    “Flags are bits of coloured cloth that governments use to first, shrink wrap people’s brains and then as ceremonial shrouds to bury the dead.”
    Arundhati Roy

  33. Skinny 33

    While Labour has done a good job with 
    the diversion argument. If Key continues the waffle they need to step things up with. It’s an attempt by National to use the upcoming royal visit to suck Labour into the Republic debate, strange tactic when you think a flag change usually come with independence?  

     Still the same I can see Key- National and their spin merchants trying to drum up nationalistic pride, which has been a proven formula in dictatorship run regimes like Zimbabwe and say Uganda. Time to start taking the piss. Here is an idea a three headed flag, Robert, Idi & John!    

    • Chooky 33.1

      …or big nostril….squinty little “all seeing” eye….. and cow’s anus ( sort of a modern art Miro or Dali)

      transl….John Keys nose….5 eyes……NZ economy

  34. captain hook 34

    Hey we about to have the New Improved New New Zealand with 20% increase in New Improved New Zealand power.

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