I find it hard to believe the government, senior ministers and all, are spending so much time defending a position based on its value to us of $24 million a year.
There has to be more to it than that and that, frankly, worries me.
Perhaps the best outcome of having a cancer diagnosis was the realisation that I'm on borrowed time, that we all are, and that frankly I'm not going to not be there for my family unless there's a damned good reason.
Being at the office is not that reason.
(Takes deep breath) I have to disagree with you on one point, Graeme, regarding the process.
There have been complaints about the flag consideration and referendum process. There are other ways we could have done it (I supported one at the select committee) but this is fair way of doing it.
In this day and age a flag is something of an anachronism. We no longer need a rallying point around a piece of fabric to differentiate our side from the others. The fog of war doesn't descend in quite the same way, so the need for a banner is pretty much gone.
A modern flag is a representation of what a nation stands for. It's a way of saying who we are as a people and the one thing this whole process lacked was any discussion around this point at all.
Legend has it (that is, I read it somewhere on the internet so it must be true) that when Apple first approached Belkin to make accessories for its new device Belkin wasn't allowed to know what the device (the iPod) did. Instead they were shown a set of connectors so they could work on devices that would connect via the correct port. Belkin is supposed to have pointed out that they won't know what accessories to make until they know the device's purpose and that caused much consternation in the Apple camp.
I don't know, it's probably rubbish but I like the story and can't help but see the parallels with our flag process. We're being asked to define how we represent ourselves without first deciding what "we" are.
I guess it's not the process itself which I have a problem with, it's the lack of a wider context. Maybe you were right all along, Graeme.
I'll be voting to keep the current flag on the basis that if we vote for the new one that's it, our one chance to chose a flag is done for at least a generation. Can you imagine the fun that would be had if we decide to revisit our new flag choice in 20 years time? No, this is it for a long time to come, possibly for ever because the need for a flag is pretty much nonexistent.
Voting for no change now means we can have another go when we decide to discuss who we are and what it means to be a New Zealander and that's a debate worth having.
The flag is supposed to be a symbol of the nation it represents but ours became a logo. We had no discussion about New Zealand, but plenty of chatter about the design of the flag itself.
To echo Keith's point, we are doing this the wrong way round.
I'll be voting for the current flag even though I despise it because conversely, once we've changed our flag we rule out the possibility of a second change for a generation at least.
If we keep the current flag we can revisit this whole issue again and hopefully in the timeframe discussed here.
Sadly I suspect we'll have a debate about becoming a republic when the Queen dies and I fully expect sentiment to rule the day and we'll press on being the last outpost of the empire, but that's another fight for another day.
David Fisher has a good piece on the police's response: "Handling of Slater grip stunned cop" however the Herald site is refusing to serve the story up at the moment.
Amusingly it gives me an error message with an APN logo.
One of the TV commentators (I forget who) talked a lot about Keven Mealamu as one of the old guard, whose role off the field in creating the culture has been as important if not more so than his role on the field.
He said something about new players having to step up to the Mealamu standard - I thought that spoke volumes.
A tremendous game and a tremendous team. I wonder if we'll see their like again.
Well that's depressing.
I find the best approach is to count backwards from 40 (I'm currently 34 again and loving it) and then when you reach zero for the second time start counting up again.
Honestly, when you consider the alternatives, turning 40's not so bad.
The entire process has been backwards. Flags represent a nation and (putting aside for a moment the ludicrous notion that we have to have a piece of fabric with a picture on it to represent anything) we haven't had the discussion about who we are as a nation. That needs to come first, followed by the decision on an emblem to represent us.
The whole thing reminds of nothing so much as one of those interminable corporate sessions where a committee of well-meaning amateurs tries desperately to come up with a mission statement and in the end produces a trite piece of pap that nobody can muster up enough energy to object to.
I'm voting against the whole thing on the basis that if we change the flag at this point we're not going to be able to change it again for a generation or two. Rejecting the entire steaming pile is the only way to ensure we have a real crack at sorting it all out before I'm in the ground.
So this is the Labour Party of today.
I want no part of it.
Afflict the comfortable, comfort the afflicted. That's what I want from my journalism, from my news gatherers.
Challenge those in positions of authority to keep them honest, act as a Fourth Estate and play a part in raising the consciousness of the nation.
I remember not understanding words on TV and going to look them up. TV wasn't dumbed down to my level, I had to upskill.
I learned things (and I don't just mean from documentaries - I learned things from drama and comedy too) and I don't know that I or my kids have done that for many years.
Kia kaha to the team at Campbell Live and to Fairfax and to the journalists in general. Hang in there.