NZ Herald Editorial wants you to change the flag

I wrote a piece last week suggesting a way for people who do not want to change the flag to deal with the stage of the referendum where you have to rate five flags that you don’t want.   I outlined all the options, including one that suggests people vote for the worst one.   Strategically, it is sound.

The NZ Herald, who have been pushing the Red Peak hard, are a bit concerned about that idea and are now begging people not to do so.

Those who have firmly decided they do not want a new flag face a dilemma of whether to vote in the first referendum. It they want to register their opinion at the outset, they may be inclined not to return their ballot paper this time. But when the non-vote is counted there will be no way of knowing how many want to keep the existing flag and how many do not care either way.

For that reason, some have urged opponents of change to write that view on the ballot paper, returning a “spoiled” vote in effect. But that runs a risk of a result that understates opposition to change since not many opponents are likely to send back a spoiled vote, and if some do so, the rest of the non-vote may be taken as those who do not care.

The better option for those who do not want a change of flag, is to take part in this referendum nevertheless. It is in their interests to do so. If the country is going to change the flag, opponents can at least ensure it might be the change they consider least bad.

The most foolish thing to do would be to try to poison the result by voting for the worst proposal. If a large number of opponents of change vote for the design they like least, it might well win this referendum. And if all enthusiasts for a change of flag unite behind it at the second referendum, it could become our new flag. So do not fool with this exercise. Vote honestly.

Let’s be clear here.

You are being asked to rank all five flags in the order you like them.  From best to worst.  So your best choice gets the 1, the next best 2, and so on.

You do not have to rate all five flags.

You can rate just one, or two.  Or four.

If you intend to vote “no change” in the second referendum, you may feel this part of the referendum is totally unsatisfactory.   You have been denied the option to register a “no change” vote.

So what to do?

  • Don’t vote
  • Return a blank form
  • Return a spoiled form
  • Genuinely rate the flags, even though you will not vote for them
  • Choose the worst one, and only the worst one (this is the Koru, judging by every poll taken)

Whaleoil commenters in favour of change and now the New Zealand Herald are both fearful that by choosing the worst possible flag, it has a possibility of becoming our Nation’s flag.

That will never happen of course.   Once again, every poll taken this far has shown a 60% “no change” faction.  This faction, if it were to successfully put the Koru on top (and it won’t), would not suddenly choose to vote for the Koru during the second round.

Theoretically possible, but not going to happen.


I will not tell you how to vote other than tell you to vote for what you want to see happen.  The only suggestions I make, and the NZ Herald is now vehemently opposed to (“The most foolish thing to do”) is for people that do not want the flag to change, and who are unhappy this round of the referendum does not allow for their opinion to be registered, is to come up with a consistent way for us to respond.

Instead of not voting, spoiling or “honestly ranking” flags you have no intention of voting for during the second round, the 60% can vote for the Koru.

The Koru has about 2% genuine support.   There is as much chance as the sun not coming up tomorrow that the 60% of the voters and the disaffected voters that want to be reckless will vote in the Koru during the 2nd round.

Vote for what you want.

If you don’t want to change, consider ranking the Koru, and only the Koru.


– NZ Herald

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.