In the Weekend herald today, John Roughan marches, as ever, to the beat of a different drum.
When the voting papers arrived I was still of a mind to ignore them. Key had gone about the exercise completely the wrong way, to my mind. It had ended in an offering of amateur designs selected by a panel of amateurs.
Then there was Red Peak, which wasn’t a flag. Nice abstract art but not a flag.
It was Red Peak that made me vote. I had believed social media to be a serious reflection of public opinion. I had to do what I could.
We clearly have a different idea of what flags look like.
His concluding paragraph:
Few national flags probably had the wow-factor when first conceived. We need a new flag, the old one looks even more dated now than it did last week. The chosen alternative may be an amateurish pastiche of the old and new but it is the way we are. It is recognisably us. It will do fine.
I almost have to admire that candour: "The Lockwood flag – it's a bit shit, but then so are we."
“The Lockwood flag – it’s a bit shit, but then so are we.”
New more honest Tourism slogan?
"Then there was Red Peak, which wasn’t a flag. Nice abstract art but not a flag.
It was Red Peak that made me vote. I had believed social media to be a serious reflection of public opinion. I had to do what I could."
"I don't know what I like, but I know about art"?
"I don't know what I like, but I know about art"?
Everything you need to know about Roughan in one simple sentence...
but that would break the golden rule of preferential voting – later preferences can never harm earlier preferences.
There is no golden rule, you're making that up. There's a set of axioms that seem desirable for any particular vote counting method to have, and none of them can cover all such desires at the same time.
With possible exceptions for tricks like Smith/IRV, though I understand that's one of those NP-hard problems as to whether it does or not.
You’re right, there is no perfect voting system, but there are none better than PV/STV.
Ha. Sorry, but STV obviously fails to find compromise candidates in polarised single-winner contests, and will happily pick one winner when most voters preferred some other candidate in a one-on-one race.
If there's a golden rule, picking the candidate who would win any possible run-off pairing is obviously it. Why should adding some 3rd candidate they would also beat suddenly make them lose?
But if you want to talk about a waste of money, it was a preferential vote! Why didn't it just have the current flag as an option? Gah!
And yeh, we've got like ten flags and they're only changing one of them because ... elephants or whatever, why do anything right.
I almost have to admire that candour
Yes, your summary probably describes how most Herald writers feel about their work. Being a bit shit probably does seem to them to be the Kiwi way.
Wow, tussock. Straight back at me, eh?
"There is no golden rule, you’re making that up. There’s a set of axioms that seem desirable for any particular vote counting method to have, and none of them can cover all such desires at the same time."
I guess you're right. It's *my* golden rule. The rest I agree with.
I covered the question of compromise candidates in my responses to izogi. We'll just have to agree to disagree on that one. We're talking public referendums / elections here, not (say) elections to elect a committee of a mathematics society.
I would have preferred to see the current flag in the mix, too. But, again, we're talking public referendums here. Apparently, the argument was, that people would not want to change the flag unless they knew what flag they were changing to.
To me, the question should always have been something like, "Which of these flags [including the current flag] should be New Zealand's flag?" Those who didn't want change would have voted (with their single vote, which is transferable) for the current flag. First flag to 50%, wins.
I'm not troubled either way. Those people who want to keep the current flag, will have the opportunity to say so in March. It's all good. In the great scheme of things, the cost is neither here nor there really.
Apparently, the argument was, that people would not want to change the flag unless they knew what flag they were changing to.
I’ve found the political exchanges over this wanting: arguing between "we should first decide if we want to change it at all" and "that’s silly unless we know what we’d be changing it to".
I appreciate concern that whatever value’s in the existing flag might be trivialised by having it considered beside so many possible alternatives. There’s plenty of marketing research around this in stuff like multi-brand strategy. But I can’t see why that should have prevented the current flag from being included in the first referendum, then just don’t bother with the second if it won.
Anyway, too late now. I find the mechanics of referendums interesting, but in typing this the fact that all this controversy is about a flag really just causes it to seem ridiculously trivial compared with other stuff parliament and media could be spending its time and resources on. But that’s politics. Goal achieved, I guess.
"Goal achieved, I guess."
I suspect you're right, izogi.
This process could have been carried out so much better than it has been. A proper panel of vexillologists / designers, charged with coming up with seven (in my view) completely different designs, could have been assembled, for starters. Then, as George Darroch says, the alternative designs could have flown together – I say, with the current flag – all round the country (for the next two years).
Then, at the 2017 general election, a one-off referendum (by PV) of all eight flags could have been held. First to 50%, wins.
As you say, too late now.
"could have *been* flown together".
I notice this morning that the increasingly tattered black ferny flag that has flown over Xero's (old, being rebuilt) offices in Wellington has been replaced by an old-school NZ flag.
Was out on the water yesterday and spotted this:
Well done to whoever put it there.