Hard News by Russell Brown

183

The positive option of Red Peak

I don't think John Key moved to support the Greens' bill to include Red Peak in the the flag referendum out of any positive sentiment. I think he did it in a desperate attempt to save face for an awfully-executed project that, according to the latest polling, has been rejected by two thirds of New Zealanders.

He was desperate enough this week to waive the absurd, anti-democratic condition he had earlier imposed on Labour – that his support for any bill must be matched with a promise to stop criticising him and his process.

But I am pleased to see Red Peak included, if only because it gives me the option of a positive response to what I regard as an awful result from the flag consideration panel.

I will vote for Red Peak in the first stage of the referendum because I like it and the stories that have grown alongside it. I like the fact that it has achieved a groundswell absent from any other part of this misbegotten exercise.

And if Red Peak turns out to be the favoured choice in the first stage, I will vote for it to be the new flag in the second.

If it does not, I will vote against changing the flag in the second stage. And then I will hope that Red Peak or some other viable flag design continues to be engaged with thereafter and is adopted unofficially by New Zealanders, because that would be better than the banal market-research process we've been subjected to. I will look forward to a time when a new flag is adopted in a more competent way.

And that's it, really.

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