Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The flagging referendum

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  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    ($4k for the massive, heavy-duty one for the Auckland Harbour Bridge indicates the very, very top-end cost for a one-off)

    So y'mean nearly $8000 then?

    None of the other 300 flags around the country are the wrong colour, the spokeswoman said.

    What else could go wrong with this imposter? It should just surrender now, oh look it has! It's white feather fluttering in the wind. My bad.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    To be scrupulously fair, the extra $4000 is the cost for two replacements: it will

    include the price of a back-up flag “in reserve for weather damage"

    Because obviously we’re going to have some extreme weather events (in Auckland!?) before the referendum ends this storm in a teacup…

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1886 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    I’m calling BS

    Have you ever been through a logo change?

    Everything changes. The marketing team changes everything, all the colours on carpets, all the paintwork, business cards, company umberellas, office chairs.

    Everything.

    You don't think all our government departments will go through those changes as a result of the flag change? Frankly I think $60 million is way under the final cost.

    Sure the costs will be partitioned off so it never looks like it cost the taxpayer, but the reality is all those individual budgets will get stacked with logo change costs. The whole point of this thing is to change the branding on NZ Inc. Any businessperson will tell you that comes at a cost. Pretending there is no cost is bizarre.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4450 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    You don't think all our government departments will go through those changes as a result of the flag change? Frankly I think $60 million is way under the final cost.

    But it's not a logo change. The flag, from memory, doesn't appear in any department's logo (I'm open to correction, as I'm a little out of date, not having worked in central government for a decade), so nothing needs to change, except the actual, y'know, flags. Matthew has a valid point here - that cost figure has no actual foundation. I suspect it's based on "this is how much it cost one agency to rebrand - multiply that by x agencies" and that's just not accurate. I have no doubt that some of the more idiotic comms managers will take the opportunity of the flag change to initiate their own rebranding exercise, but that's not the flag's fault.

    That said, not costing as much as people say it might cost is not a valid reason to go ahead with it.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    $4000 each?
    So....

    None of the other 300 flags around the country are the wrong colour, the spokeswoman said.

    but still $4000 each?
    Now that's... err 4 times 3 add some zeros.... 1.2 mililon.

    Yeah.... I know... but....

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to nzlemming,

    Vexillogical behaviours…

    But it’s not a logo change. The flag, from memory, doesn’t appear in any department’s logo

    But it does appear on our nation’s coat of arms, and every act and law
    for instance:
    http://www.legislation.govt.nz/regulation/public/2013/0194/latest/whole.html?search=ts_act%40bill%40regulation%40deemedreg_cultural+property_resel_25_a&p=1#DLM5191640

    interestingly originally selected by a public competition;

    History
    The first recorded move to establish a Coat of Arms for New Zealand was a design competition in 1906.
    The competition was readvertised in 1908 and 75 designs featuring everything from kiwis, sheep, cows, moas and lions to stars, ships, British soldiers, Māori warriors and Union Jacks were received. Three entries were sent to England for judging.
    The winning entry was by James McDonald, a draughtsman in the Department of Tourist and Health Resorts. A Royal Warrant granting armorial ensigns and supports was issued on 26 August 1911 and published in the New Zealand Gazette of 11 January 1912. These arms, known as the 1911 arms, are no longer used.
    An image of the first New Zealand Coat of Arms is available on the NZHistory.net website.

    Will they have to update this too – and why doesn’t the ‘new flag’ design incorporate the fine ferns on the coat of arms instead of the cartoon frond


    ps I originally reproduced the Coat of arms here – but on reading this properly

    The Coat of Arms can only be used or published with the Ministry’s permission. If you have any questions about using the Arms please contact us.

    thought I’d best just link to a graphic of it – strange times and all that…

    pps whatever happened to the wonderfully named Department of Tourist and Health Resorts.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7887 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    but still $4000 each?

    That is an eyelet-watering price…

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7887 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to nzlemming,

    I have no doubt that some of the more idiotic comms managers

    The implication being there are less idiotic ones?

    I did say guesstimate. I don't think anyone knows. And I doubt we'll ever know, because the flag won't change and when it does change most of the costs will be devolved and hidden.

    But a guess at any number less than several 10s of millions is naive at best and deceptive at worst.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4450 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    None of the other 300 flags around the country are the wrong colour, the spokeswoman said.

    but still $4000 each?

    No. Two specific flags were $4k each, made very large and very tough to fly from the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

    One can buy 90cm-by-180cm outdoor-grade NZ flags for $49.95 inc GST; 90x180 seems to be the "standard" size for pole-flown flags.
    The priciest NZ flag I could find online, at $505.88 inc GST (1.35x2.7m) would still only run the taxpayer $5m (inc GST) if we had to replace 10k of them, which sounds both ludicrous and excessive. Keep in mind, too, that these are retail prices. One would expect the government to get one hell of a bulk discount at any size.

    That also indicates how far removed from the norm the AHB flags are in terms of price, as well as, to my thinking, dismissing the "It's going to cost squillions to replace all those flags" attempt at an argument.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    You don’t think all our government departments will go through those changes as a result of the flag change?

    Show me evidence of the use of the flag as a logo in government, Bart. Please, show me. I want to see the error of my understanding.

    I have seen multitudes of individual departmental logos, and government offices certainly reflect the departmental logos, but I've seen no use of the flag as a logo and nobody has shown me the slightest shred of evidence to the contrary. So if you're going to harp on about massive unstated costs, now's the time to show your working. Because my working, based on research and evidence, is that there'll be a bunch of fairly-cheap flags that need to be replaced and a tiny handful of government-issue documents that are on a replacement cycle and can be re-branded over the ordinary lifetime of that cycle.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Duncan McKenzie,

    I see that Auckland Airport flies both flags. The Jack flies above the Fern. From my understanding of flag etiquette, the convention is that the conquering flag flies over the conquered flag. Presumably the Airport company knows how the referendum is going to turn out.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 53 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Brent Jackson,

    Only the first 2 actions, have any effect on the outcome. Even if the number of invalid votes outnumbers all the valid votes put together, they will still not affect the outcome.

    So I suggest people vote for the outcome they want, from the only 2 that are available.

    What if the outcome I want is minimizing my own personal wasted time on a matter of trivial importance, in which I have been given very little genuine choice? Not voting is available as a third option, and it will certainly affect that outcome.

    I mean seriously, if our democracy were organized so that there was a referendum for everything, it wouldn't be long before people saw the sense in not voting on trivial matters they don't give a shit about. It's only because we're so generally disempowered by our system that this Clayton's choice even seems like something worth discussing. They could do this for every stupid matter of inconsequential stylistic taste, for which the government is responsible. There are thousands of such decisions to be made. What picture should be on the coins and notes? What color should the Beehive be? Should the Department of Internal Affairs have a new letterhead?

    By all means, empower yourselves by voting. Feel that massive surge of democratic sauce flowing through your veins, and then unleash it on a tick and trip down to the mailbox. Revel in the difference it will make. If that's your thing.

    It's not my thing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to nzlemming,

    But it’s not a logo change. The flag, from memory, doesn’t appear in any department’s logo (I’m open to correction, as I’m a little out of date, not having worked in central government for a decade),

    Well this in every town has the flag. Our Courts. (Article only for Emphasis)

    Ian got there first but I cant link from his so leaving the Coat of Arms up for more emphasis

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to BenWilson,

    I mean seriously, if our democracy were organized so that there was a referendum for everything, it wouldn’t be long before people saw the sense in not voting on trivial matters they don’t give a shit about.

    You're talking about Switzerland Ben -- they have nine scheduled this year. Some referenda are mandatory, others optional. Turnout averages around 50% in the latter.

    I can't agree with your I'm far too busy, let other people decide attitude, but hey... each to his own.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1385 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson, in reply to BenWilson,

    What if the outcome I want is minimizing my own personal wasted time on a matter of trivial importance, in which I have been given very little genuine choice?

    I have sympathy for your argument. However, the number of lengthy posts you have made here stating that you don't want to waste your time with all this, kinda destroys your argument.

    Tick, rip, seal, post is a lot less time than write, write, post, write, write, post.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Brent Jackson,

    Tick, rip, seal, post is a lot less time than write, write, post, write, write, post.

    It is, certainly. However, the things I write might have more impact. I consider them worth the time. Also, I like writing, debating and arguing. Filling out silly forms and mailing them, not so much. Obviously others may differ on that, and really enjoy the whole thing. But that's not the vibe I'm getting from pretty much anyone about it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Alfie,

    I can’t agree with your I’m far too busy, let other people decide attitude, but hey… each to his own.

    If we were having a referendum about something important I would probably do it. Like ALL of the Swiss ones are. I do actually care about things like whether there should be a UBI, and changes to medically assisted reproduction laws. On something like a tunnel construction, I might not take a position, if, say, it was in the South Island. That's important but not necessarily my business. There could be reasons that it's controversial enough to pose to the people that really only go to the interests of people living far, far away from me.

    But this flag shit is neither important nor really my business. My only wish is that it never happened, and since that failed, that it will come to a close soon, and the majority who care will get whatever they want. Whatever that is, which I don't care about.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    the Coat of Arms

    So? It has the flag. It does not suddenly cease to be valid because it no longer displays the current flag. The crown that tops it was worn by Liz at her coronation (included in a re-design in 1956), so will we re-design again when Chuck takes over and presumably wears a different, more masculine crown?

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    But it does appear on our nation’s coat of arms, and every act and law
    for instance:

    True but there's very few that use the coat of arms as a logo if any. And even fewer that use it on their letterhead or corporate branding. That's what costs. Ask MBIE.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    Well this in every town has the flag. Our Courts. (Article only for Emphasis)

    I never said there would be no costs. But Bart was talking about total refurbs of buildings, carpets, letterheads, the works. That's not going to happen. It would top out at a couple of hundred plaques at most plus a thousand or two flags.


    EDIT: Government does not supply flags to everyone who flies one. RSA's, for example, pay for their own.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to BenWilson,

    the things I write might have more impact

    no that path leads to madness

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4450 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to nzlemming,

    Government does not supply flags to everyone who flies one. RSA’s, for example, pay for their own.

    That would go down well at the RSA: “We want to replace the flag your mates died under, and you’re going to have to pay for the replacement.” Not that anyone would actually be forced to change over immediately, but still…

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1886 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7887 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to linger,

    They could fly the flag they killed foreigners under indefinitely if they wanted to.

    I don't think the old flag would be proscribed - and any attempt to do so might come unstuck (R v Morse said you can burn flags, so I guess you can fly them).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Russell Brown,

    If there’s a tribal element to my response, it’s not really political, but cultural. That flag seems to perfectly embody the mediocrity of recent years. The idea of enshrining that into an enduring symbol gives me the screaming shits.

    Pretty much this. Pig-ugly versus boring. Choose pig-ugly and the country is stuck with it.

    Choose boring (with some resonance, albeit only of the recent colonial past) and there’s a good chance that in the next generation this rapidly changing country will be able to have another, but considered and more inclusive, nation-wide discussion about our nation is and aspires to be.

    I see the flag referenda as a cack-handed attempt to drag New Zealand into the 21st century. It has been badly handled – from the making of the baseline campaign assumptions through to the design selection. The spinners erred badly in believing changing an emotive symbol could be pushed through in one of the standard lassoo-process-and-reach-desired-outcome manoeuvres.

    I welcome a discussion about ditching the remnants of colonialism and growing up as a nation That will be the real legacy of the flag referendum: it’s the start of the conversation that will move us towards substantive change and redefining ourselves as New Zealanders.

    I can’t be dismissive of the referenda for that reason – and because even 20 years ago the howls of outrage from the England-uber-alles brigade would have stopped any prospect of changing the flag. That is a win in itself.

    The Stars stay for me.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2895 posts Report Reply

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