Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The flagging referendum

165 Responses

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  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to linger,

    The fallacy is that a miniscule amount of public spending is of disproportionate importance.

    If the flag referendum wasn’t happening, where would that money go. It’s indeterminate?

    Sure, it might go on Bart’s allegedly useful research. It might go to GCSB to buy spying hardware, it might add to the billions of foregone tax revenue on Aucklanders' capital gains, it might be used to subsidise some pork-barrel casino or sports ground or it might go to pay for an ineffective drug whose manufacturer has funded an astroturf campaign, or it might pay a few hundred more teachers.

    It’s impossible to tell.

    You could make the same argument for scrapping any item of allegedly inessential expenditure: How can we spend money on arts when children are starving? How can we afford parks when the money could be sent to help Syrian refugees? How can we spend money on treating heart disease when millions overseas don’t have water?

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

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to linger,

    What fallacy?

    I think he's pointing out that because the government gets to spend so much of our money we shouldn't care when it pisses down the toilet tiny amounts like $60 million dollars which realistically could never amount to anything of value if it was spent anywhere else so we just should stand back and not worry our little heads over it dear.

    Or we could spend it on women's refuge.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4450 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    How could you spend it on Women's refuge when there are thousands of refugees in Syria on the point of death?

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

  • Jason Kemp,

    Last night we were talking about design and how having access to Photoshop/clip art or some other tool of the trade doesn't make anyone a designer. At some point the topic of the flag design came up. Everyone there thought that the new design was just "clunky" and poorly executed. A number of others like the idea of the new design but wondered why it doesn't have the "real" silver fern element included.

    From what I can tell it is because the mainstream silver fern design - belongs to someone else who won't licence it for use on the flag and therefore the compromise.

    What was interesting (to me) is that while people like the idea of a new design they are very uneasy about the official option. And it has something to do with design as well as the general unease over the process and politics so far.

    And while no one was wildly in favour of the current design the overwhelming impression is that we should only be making a change if there was an obviously better design to change to. In my view that hasn't happened.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 364 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    The point being that there will never be a time when a flag change (or any other item of discretionary spending) will be the absolute best thing that the money can be spent on.

    The conclusion from this would be that either:
    - we should never, ever consider changing our flag
    or
    - we should do it by the cheapest method, which would be for Key to have whipped his MPs into passing his chosen flag through parliament without further consultation, and then introduce the new flag as old flags (and passports, licenses, aircraft, tanks, etc) are replaced or repainted.

    Is that method preferable?

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

  • Grant McDougall,

    I'm voting to keep the current flag, mainly for two reasons.

    The first is that the proposed new flag just looks ugly and is a design nightmare. It looks like the sort of thing that a fifth form design student would rattle off when he / she had forgotten to do their homework last night.

    The second is - I'll be completely honest here - I want a free kick at the PM.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 759 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    A preferable method would commit us to spending only what there is support for. For example:
    First referendum: ask if it's time to change from the current flag.
    Only if that succeeds do we proceed to canvassing possible designs.
    Consultation phase: ask public for submissions regarding design elements and colours (not necessarily complete designs).
    Design phase: a team of actual design experts produces a shortlist of alternatives incorporating (combinations of) common suggestions from the consultation phase.
    Second referendum: choose replacement from shortlist.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1886 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    ...when there are thousands of refugees in Syria on the point of death?

    Now you are just being obtuse, if not a wilful denigrator - what good are we to others if we can't look after our own first?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7887 posts Report Reply

  • tony j ricketts,

    IF WE CHANGE THE FLAG NOW WE WILL NOT LIVE TO SEE A BETTER ONE

    wellington • Since Aug 2012 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    No the conclusion is that IF we spend our money on a new flag that it should be GOOD.

    Because if we spend our money on a BAD flag we will all feel really shitty about it for ages and be thinking of all the actually nice things we could have spent that money on.

    It's not complicated Rich

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4450 posts Report Reply

  • Dave Patrick,

    I would love to see the current flag replaced, but I will be voting to retain it. Because I don't want my country's flag to be a corporate logo created from clipart for the rest of my life. If it's a choice between crap and crapper, I'll hold my nose and vote for crap.

    Rangiora, Te Wai Pounamu • Since Nov 2006 • 261 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to linger,

    Who chooses the design experts, or decides on their qualifications? Shouldn't we have elections and referenda to do that?

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

  • tony j ricketts, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Shouldn’t we have elections and referenda to do that?

    No Rich, we have elections to choose parliaments, and if we are collectively daft enough to choose the National Party then we must exert all our efforts to reduce the consequent damage.

    wellington • Since Aug 2012 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac,

    I'm in the "I won't vote for clipart" group.

    But as for those here saying petulantly that they won't vote for anything Key endorses, grow up. Fair enough if you were against the whole process and the lack of proper consultation. But if that wasn't a concern, even if Key endorsed the "best ever design", you still wouldn't? Come on. I detest his politics and constant mendacity, but in general we get things done better by basic cooperation rather than a constantly adversarial attitude - especially when you fundamentally agree on the result you want.

    I have to concede there isn't much this govt comes up with where I would fundamentally agree on its goals, though.

    As for becoming a republic, there's nothing about that that means we need to change our flag. Of course, most countries in that position have done so, to get rid of colonial relics. I can't imagine Canada changing theirs if they went the republic route, though.

    Finally, can I mention how offensive I found the sight of the unendorsed Lockwood Logo the other day, flying from the Auckland Harbour Bridge instead of the Tino Rangatiratanga flag? I mean, genuinely offensive. If they were going to take something down, the old relic should have been removed instead.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to TracyMac,

    But as for those here saying petulantly that they won’t vote for anything Key endorses, grow up. Fair enough if you were against the whole process and the lack of proper consultation. But if that wasn’t a concern, even if Key endorsed the “best ever design”, you still wouldn’t? Come on.

    Agreed. I was determined to participate in good faith in the first round of the referendum and to make a positive choice in doing so.

    But ... it could be said that the Lockwoods are the kind of thing the guy whose favourite movie is Johnny English and favourite music is "easy listening music" would choose to champion.

    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.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Withers, in reply to Craig Young,

    Me, too. The new flag is a better beach towel than the old one. The UJ is worse than the fern. I’m no Key fan (as anyone who knows me will attest), but I do actually try to take every issue on its merits….which still ends up lopsided against Key and National because their values often simply do not align with mine, but on THIS occasion, I prefer the fern to the jack.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 312 posts Report Reply

  • bob daktari, in reply to TracyMac,

    But as for those here saying petulantly that they won’t vote for anything Key endorses, grow up

    Is anyone saying that though?

    For the majority I see here and everywhere else the design is the primary factor, Key is a bonus but only because of the former and only if you don't like the man or what he represents

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 537 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Do I *have* to grow up? Can't I just be a petulant dick? It's so satisfying.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Danielle,

    Can’t I just be a petulant dick?

    I'm sorry we have already filled that position.

    However, your interest in that role has been noted and you are now 2618473rd in the queue.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4450 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    In that Morning Report interview, the PM basically made the flag referendum sound like an ultimatum, which only reinforces existing perceptions of a vanity project.

    As for the flag design itself, Mies van der Rohe said it best: "less is more." The adopted flags of Canada and South Africa pass that test, which the Lockwood flag doesn't. It makes for a nice toilet paper print though.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5416 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to TracyMac,

    Can you provide examples of how positive engagement with the National party has led to anything other than symbolic gains?

    Key losing on the flag would have several positive outcomes:
    - firstly, it demoralises the man and brings the time closer when he retires to Hawaii or gets gifted some sinecure by his mates in the states.
    - secondly, it introduces traditional National voters to the idea of voting against Key. This could turn into a habit
    - and finally, it spreads discord within the National caucus and membership between the Key faction and his various rivals

    However, if you think we are best served by near-perpetual National government interspersed with National-lite Labour administrations, then yes, the sensible, grown up approach would be to consider the flag (and the TPPA, the holiday highways, benefit cuts, education cuts, etc) on their merits.

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

  • Rae Sott,

    Let's not forget the actual first choice was the red and blue version of Lockwood's design (the original), sadly it still has the unfortunate cartoon fern on it.

    One thing is for certain I don't think NZ should go forth with the representative colours being principally black and blue. Then again, maybe some of you think it is an appropriate colour combination to represent the country.

    It is an awful flag design so have everything crossed the existing one comes through, so that some point down the track we can revisit this and get one that has been properly designed and hopefully one with some sort Maori motif on it, because the only thing that sets us apart from any other country is that.

    Please don't vote for this thing unless you think it is absolutely the best representation of NZ, I have given you some reasons why I think it is not.

    Hamilton • Since Apr 2015 • 21 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    The conclusion from this would be that either:
    - we should never, ever consider changing our flag
    or
    - we should do it by the cheapest method, which would be for Key to have whipped his MPs into passing his chosen flag through parliament without further consultation, and then introduce the new flag as old flags (and passports, licenses, aircraft, tanks, etc) are replaced or repainted.

    Is that method preferable?

    Or… it’s not done until there’s already enough of a consensus in society that even the latter could be done without any significant controversy. Obviously a portion of people like this proposed flag, but the entire process hasn’t allowed any particular flag to grow into everyone in a way that lets them consider, understand, accept and even like it it. Instead it’s been a largely arrogant and aggressive short term marketing exercise where people are fighting over who’s the bigger idiot. It's not consensus. Like so many things with this government, it's highly polarising.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to linger,

    If you don’t care about either choice (you’re equally ‘meh’ about either the current or the proposed new flag), but you want to protest against the process, it would be better to submit an informal vote recording that [e.g. handwritten “(3) Neither"] than not to be counted at all.

    Better for what? I'm still counted as not counting, either way. As in, a number will appear somewhere that x people didn't even vote (and it will be a large value of x). But one of the ways I had to make an effort to not count.

    And risk ending up with the tea towel flag?

    Well, I do use tea towels. Flags, I never use.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Rae Sott,

    the representative colours being principally black and blue. Then again, maybe some of you think it is an appropriate colour combination to represent the country.

    Well it has been a bruising process...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7887 posts Report Reply

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