flag debate

It’s official: we are keeping the NZ flag

The official results are out and they aren’t much different from the preliminary results:

The official flag results have been released, and there are no surprises.

The British ensign proved to be the victor with no real change in votes from the preliminary results: 1,208,702 (56.6 per cent) voted for the current flag and?921,876 (43.2%) voted for the silver fern contender.

The total votes received were 2,140,895 – but about 10,000 of those were either?invalid or it was unclear which flag the voter had selected.

Turnout for the referendum was at 67.78 per cent of the total number of people on the electoral roll as at 3 March – about 3.1 million Kiwis.

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Nasty party at it again

Sue Moroney epitomises the Nasty party.

She is just plain awful and the reason why National MPs want her to stand against them…so they can increase their majorities.

She has taken to Twitter to post a picture of some random person’s house flying the Lockwood flag and decided to attack them for it.

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 4.00.32 PM Read more »

Key’s regrets

Tracy Watkins reckons John Key will have a few regrets…and from where she sits in the political spectrum you can understand why she thinks that way.

For a leader who is not used to losing, however, it will rankle with Key that he?has burned up some of his political capital on a failed?campaign. That will be his biggest, if not?his only regret. And the others?

Has he used up political capital? I see no evidence of this. National and Key’s personal popularity are still higher than at the election, and for that matter than the past three elections. It seems this loss of political capital is imagined by the media commentators.

??He didn’t throw more at it.?When Key launched his campaign to change the flag, he knew there was no groundswell?for change. But he banked on his personal popularity giving the debate momentum, and pushing a new flag over the line. Being the face of change?was a double-edged sword, however,?and proponents for a new flag?on the left began baulking?at what felt like a vote for Key.?Key made a partial withdrawal, believing that might bring them back. But Thursday night’s result suggests he might have done?better sticking to his guns. Sentiment in favour of?a new flag had picked?up momentum, most notably in conservative National strongholds like Clutha-Southland. So Key’s initial instincts that his own popularity might win the day were probably correct. If he had pushed it more,?would the outcome be?different?

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Is the biggest loss our chance to examine our views towards becoming a replublic?

This was one of the rare occasions in his premiership when he backed the wrong horse. A new flag will not be among the achievements of his time in office, but equally it is unlikely that the electorate’s judgment will carry over into the party political arena.

Close analysis of voting remains to be completed, but it is likely that most voters ticked their ballot paper on the basis of the illustrated flags, and not because of some wider political matters.

While there was rhetoric during the flag campaign that the $26 million exercise was an extravagant vanity exercise, the scale of the turnout – 67 per cent of the electorate – and the low number of spoiled returns suggests New Zealanders engaged with the task at hand.

Where to from here? Mr Key suggested the flag ballot was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

There is no reason why it ought to be. There is every reason, though, that the process adopted this time around should be carefully reassessed.

In retrospect it seems a mistake to weigh up the idea of changing the nation’s flag without consideration of constitutional change.

A new national flag would almost certainly eliminate the Union Jack from its fabric, which in turn raises more searching questions about New Zealand’s relationship with Britain and the place of the monarch as head of state. Read more »

Now listen up: Granny Young lectures on what the flag vote has taught you

We don’t do constitutional reform very well in New Zealand. That was clear from the reactions of the various parties to the flag referendum: triumphalism from political winners and faux patriotism from the losers beseeching us to be more proud of the New Zealand flag (sorry, no way).

The debate that preceded the vote was politicised and unedifying. So it’s worth taking some lessons from the flag referendum.

Not that changing the flag is actually a constitutional issue – at the margins, possibly.

But call for reform is a constant feature of the political landscape and you never know when the next opportunity will present itself.

Only this week, with the appointment of Dame Patsy Reddy as the next Governor-General, two party leaders, Metiria Turei of the Greens and Peter Dunne of United Future, advanced credible proposals for change to the next appointment in five years.

I need a lie down.? How often do you see any self-respecting political commentator form the following phrase and expect to receive respect:? “Metiria Turei of the Greens and Peter Dunne of United Future, advanced credible proposals“.? Read more »

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No more flag debate while Key is PM

John key has confirmed that he is done with flag referenda.

Prime Minister John Key says he is disappointed with the flag result and that the National Government will not revisit the issue under his leadership.

Mr Key, speaking to reporters at Auckland Airport this evening, said that he respected New Zealand’s choice of flag.

He took some positives from the result, pointing out that nearly one million people will have voted for change by the time the final results came in.

Mr Key also defended the process, saying it was lengthy and considered.

Asked whether the referendum process had been worth $26 million given it led to no change, he said it had sparked an “enormous”, healthy debate across the country.

“You can’t shy away from a debate or a discussion about nationhood,” he said.

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The madness of the Greens and stupidity of Labour

Metriria Turei is barking mad.

Here is her comment on?the?flag result:

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei says the flag result is a major failure for the Prime Minister, who she says has politicised the process.

“John Key’s overt campaigning for his favourite flag tainted the referendum from the outset and cost all New Zealanders the opportunity to get a new flag.

“Lots of New Zealanders support a change of flag but voted for the current one because the Prime Minister’s interference ensured they weren’t given a proper choice. John Key alienated people by politicising the process and attacking those who didn’t like his choice of flag.”

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As predicted, the flag won’t be changing

As predicted by almost everyone except those who have spent the best part of a year wishful thinking, the flag won’t be changing.

To be fair, I was listening to David Farrar and he knew what his polling was showing. He explains on his Arts, Lifestyle and Travel blog precisely why the vote wasn’t for change.

As I?ve got better things to do at the start of Easter long weekend than wait for the results and write the blog post tonight, I?m doing it in advance. Why do I think the status quo won.

First of all, let me say that it is very possible that regardless of all the factors, it is more than likely the vote would have been for the status quo. There has never been a poll showing a majority for change, and?few if any countries have ever ever voted to change their flag. It is normally done by fiat from Government, or as a result of constitutional change such as becoming independent.

I?m proud of the fact we are one of the few countries where we have actually got to have a vote on what our flag will be.

However it may have been a lot closer than what the actual result will be. A number of factors basically doomed any chance there was of a change. Here?s what I think they were: ? Read more »

Someone should tell Winston the flag debate is over already

Changing the New Zealand flag will bring with it a cost of up to $458 million to change passports, according to New Zealand First.

On Thursday, Newshub revealed the Government had no idea what the cost to taxpayers would be to roll out a flag change if the alternative option wins the referendum.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says he has since done some further investigating.

“We asked the Minister of Internal Affairs what would the cost be if every valid New Zealand passport had to be recalled and re-issued,” says Mr Peters.

“The minister replied ‘from $0 to $458,221,788’. So, the cost of changing the passports would be $458 million, but by saying $0 suggests no reissue is contemplated by the Government.

“If the alternative flag was adopted we would have the bizarre situation of having our passports with one flag, and our country with another flag.”

I’m fairly sure that current passports wouldn’t be invalidated by having the “wrong” flag on them. As for everyone wanting them re-issued, the cost won’t be one borne by the government. Winston’s $458m will come out of the pockets of those feeling strongly enough to pay for their passport to be reissued with the new flag on it.? Read more »

Karl du Fresne on the Flag Debate

Karl du Fresne say he can’t recognise his fellow New Zealanders.

In his best-selling 1976 book The Passionless People, journalist Gordon McLauchlan famously called his fellow New Zealanders smiling zombies ? basically decent, but smug and complacent.

I wonder what he makes of the extraordinary kerfuffle over the flag.

Every so often in New Zealand, an issue comes up that seems to rouse us from our inertia. It happened in 1981 when the Springboks came and it?s happened again, albeit without the flour bombs and Minto bars (the affectionate name given to the long? batons wielded in 1981 by the police), over?the past few weeks.

The flag debate has exposed an ornery, cranky streak in the national character.? I keep waiting for the tumult to abate, but the letters to the editor keep coming and the radio talkback lines continue to run hot.

Who could honestly say they saw all this rage and fury coming? I bet John Key didn?t.

He probably thought this was his best shot at making history ? the one potentially memorable act of a political career otherwise defined by carefully calculated pragmatism in the finest National Party tradition.

What he surely couldn?t have imagined was that the flag referendum would lift the lid on a seething, boiling, often contradictory mess of emotions, some of which are only tenuously connected with the flag.

I barely recognise my fellow New Zealanders. McLauchlan probably doesn?t either.

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