The Dim-Post

September 2, 2015

Flag logic

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 11:53 am

I don’t much like the current flag. But I don’t really like any of the alternatives, as amusing as the Hypoflag might be. If we pick a new flag we’ll be stuck with it for a long time because it will be ‘the new flag’. So I’ll be voting to keep the current flag on the assumption that we’ll be able to replace it with something better a little down the line, probably as part of our transition towards a republic.

59 Comments »

  1. Why do assume there will be something “better” down the line?

    And by better don’t you mean something you like which is just personal taste.

    Surely many people will disagree with the choice what ever it is.

    Comment by NeilM — September 2, 2015 @ 12:01 pm

  2. Why do assume there will be something “better” down the line?

    Because I assume it. That’s how assuming works.

    Comment by danylmc — September 2, 2015 @ 12:07 pm

  3. I wanted “Red Peak” to be one of the final four. I was disappointed that no design in the long list featured a kiwi. Of the poor options on display I’ll vote for Koru. Could I attempt to start a conspiracy theory that the Seven Day Adventist Church is behind the Kyle Lockwood Silver Fern (Red, White and Blue) design in a master plan to make us all eat Weetbix and go to church on Saturdays?

    Comment by cctrfred — September 2, 2015 @ 12:09 pm

  4. Sums it all up for me too, like a change, final 40 were mostly terrible, final 4 are useless. Red , white blue ….ahrghhhh.
    Could have lived with simple ‘vegetarian pirate’ flag
    Will probably stick with current one till a better choice comes along next time.

    Comment by dukeofurl — September 2, 2015 @ 12:23 pm

  5. Surely your not advocating we waste another $26 mil later on? There are so many better and important things to do with the money right now and it’s only a silly flag. Do we even need one?

    Comment by artcroft — September 2, 2015 @ 12:34 pm

  6. Wouldn’t a better time line be:
    1) Settle all Waitangi claims
    2) Once settled and therefore no more claims to the Crown, call for referendum on a republic, or transition to republic
    3) as part of republic or what ever, we’ll get a new flag – as the union jack is then a remnant of that era, new flag is then symbol of the new system
    There has to a strong enough desire to change and currently, there isn’t, but that’s because the environment is not in that space.

    Comment by Ben — September 2, 2015 @ 12:37 pm

  7. I was really taken by the white bird on the blue background. White – because we are the land of the long white cloud, because white is unspoiled, which is how we should imagine ourselves. And a migratory seabird because we are a nation of migrants, and we are a free people, free like ocean birds. And the white bird, in a mass of blue, symbolising our islands isolated in the vastness of the South Pacific.

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/assets/news/46575/eight_col_04_migrant_bird.jpg?1441074456

    Unfortunately, the total fail of imagination means we’ve ended up with the rubbish final four.

    Comment by Sanctuary — September 2, 2015 @ 12:52 pm

  8. 1.Why do assume there will be something “better” down the line?

    And by better don’t you mean something you like which is just personal taste.

    “Better” is obviously subjective, but I think the real goal is “more meaningful”. The whole problem with the flag debate is that we’re not supposed to debate. The killer line from the Flag Consideration Panel guy yesterday was that the choice of the final 4 was “unanimous”. He was portraying that as something good. But it’s not.

    We have unanimity by saying nothing that anyone can disagree with, e.g. New Zealand is about the “environment”. As opposed to all the politicians who go around saying “The environment sux!” (of course their policies might say that, but then we’d be relating words to actions, and that’s called politics, debate, reality).

    Changing the flag could and should mean something, but if we’re not going to face up to what it means (and our different views) then it’s worse than meaningless, it’s divisive.

    That’s the irony of it all – by trying to avoid disagreement (because Key doesn’t want to talk about republics, Treaties, or anything hard), we’ve ended up creating something that could be far more divisive. It is now very likely to be an unpopular flag – if we change at all.

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — September 2, 2015 @ 12:56 pm

  9. 5.Surely your not advocating we waste another $26 mil later on?

    Or is he advocating we waste another $26 mil later, so we can waste $50 mil on a Presidential palace and then pay John Key/Jacinda Ardern $2 million year to be our President?

    Comment by unaha-closp — September 2, 2015 @ 12:57 pm

  10. “…we can waste $50 mil on a Presidential palace….”. Why does that result ? We have two official ‘palaces’ in Auckland and Wellington currently used by Governor General that will do nicely, especailly after the $45 mill rebuild in Wellington. Presidents are not normally paid vast amounts and will likely the same level as GG salary now , around $400,000 tax free.

    Comment by dukeofurl — September 2, 2015 @ 1:16 pm

  11. I think we should all get to veto a new flat til one comes along we all think is better.

    I assume that’s workable and inexpensive.

    Comment by NeilM — September 2, 2015 @ 1:33 pm

  12. 1. Why do assume there will be something “better” down the line?

    And by better don’t you mean something you like which is just personal taste.

    Surely many people will disagree with the choice what ever it is.

    Comment by NeilM — September 2, 2015 @ 12:01 pm

    2. Why do assume there will be something “better” down the line?

    Because I assume it. That’s how assuming works.

    Comment by danylmc — September 2, 2015 @ 12:07 pm

    Also because “John Key” eh?

    Comment by Richard Williams — September 2, 2015 @ 1:35 pm

  13. The whole problem with the flag debate is that we’re not supposed to debate.

    I haven’t felt any pressure not to debate what a change of flag means.

    I certainly have considered why it’s important.

    I won’t get my choice – two flags, the present one plus the tino rangatira flag but that’s all a bit unlikely and I really don’t have a problem with what ever dies get decided.

    Sometimes democracy doesn’t give you what you want since there’s a lot of different opinions out there.

    Comment by NeilM — September 2, 2015 @ 1:43 pm

  14. I’m all for a flag change, but it doesn’t get more “designed by committee” than the final 4 choices. I can’t help but think that this is a rerun of the Wellywood sign debacle, but on a nationwide scale.

    What promised to be “Brand New Zealand” is instead turning into “Brand Key”. All the more so if the existing flag ends up being kept.

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — September 2, 2015 @ 1:50 pm

  15. I must say, I hope we become a home-grown constitutional monarchy rather than anything as crass and tasteless as a republic (by all means let us not be like the British, but must we really be like the Americans?). I think Nanaia Mahuta has said she’s available to be a monarch. She could have a state-house palace in Pakuranga or Porirua and invite her subjects around for barbecues in the summer. Much more fun than a vulgar old president.

    And more importantly, entrusting our nation’s head of state to a genetic lottery releases the citizens from the guilt and self-loathing that accompanies the democratic election of arseholes. Can you imagine how ashamed you will be of the nation when Paul Henry or Mike Hosking is elected president (as they inevitably will be)? Now consider the joy of watching some dysfunctional drug-addled teenager fall off the royal throne of New Zealand and vomit on an archbishop of the Destiny Church. Such entertaining scenes make us feel better about our wretched selves, and we can complain about them with a clear conscience because these leaders have been foisted upon us by divine irony rather than elected by the will of the stupid people. Down with the republican reprobates! Long live the Eternal Kingdom of Aotearoa New Zealand!

    Comment by Higgs Boatswain — September 2, 2015 @ 1:50 pm

  16. Or is he advocating we waste another $26 mil later

    It’s not a waste if we actually have a proper debate about our constitutional self-image rather than Key’s vacuous branding exercise.

    I’m going to vote Hypnoflag and then Keep the Exiting Flag because I don’t want a bar of Key’s railroaded, corporate-logo silver fern fixation. Like Danyl, I really want to change the flag, but not via some bullshit panel who’s brief is to deliver Key his coveted fern.

    This whole project is an expensive, narcissistic attempt by Key to create a national legacy to himself. I’ll vote against that, any day.

    Comment by Mikaere Curtis — September 2, 2015 @ 1:52 pm

  17. We don’t need a president. We could have the PM be head of state (similar to what they do in South Africa). That would leave Government House free to be a museum of hereditary rulers, featuring Henry VIII, Emperor Bokassa I and the George Bushes.

    Comment by richdrich — September 2, 2015 @ 1:56 pm

  18. No doubt any future left wing govt wanting to change the flag would come in for the same allegations of narcissism etc etc but from the right.

    Comment by NeilM — September 2, 2015 @ 1:57 pm

  19. As someone with one weak view on this issue – why do we need another flag? – and one strong view – if we are going to have one let it be the silver fern on the black background – in my observation the debate seems to be driven by two complementary forces. The first which I think is derived from the Scottish influence in our heritage is the reluctance to express positive views on any public proposal or matter of taste unless it is preceded by a lengthy deluge of negativity intended to demonstrate that we are tough minded and nobody’s patsies. The second is the ever strong Key Derangement Syndrome, hence the desire to postpone a decision on the flag until an option is proposed by a political faction of which we approve, which is hardly the point of a national flag, is it not? This is a variation on the conceit that National necessarily cannot have any form of social policy other than oppressing the poor because….? Matters of national identity therefore are the preserve of Governments led by people like Andrew Little and Winston Peters, supported by Metiria and James of course……..

    Comment by Tinakori — September 2, 2015 @ 2:24 pm

  20. Mind you, the finalists for the Aussie flag re-design weren’t that much cop either.

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — September 2, 2015 @ 2:27 pm

  21. 17.No doubt any future left wing govt wanting to change the flag would…

    …have to wait until about 2050 or so to raise the issue again after this referendum is defeated.

    Comment by unaha-closp — September 2, 2015 @ 2:28 pm

  22. “Why does that result ?

    Because to get a republic we would need a cause and the only worthwhile cause I can think of is greater democracy for NZ. We would directly elect a president to be our head of state and the role would not be ceremonial. The president would sign laws and conduct the affairs of state, wars and all that. The president would be a politician and those sort of presidents aren’t cheap.

    Comment by unaha-closp — September 2, 2015 @ 2:36 pm

  23. @NeilM,

    What on earth are you arguing on this thread? Danyl’s made a pretty simple argument:

    (1) He doesn’t like any of the 4 alternative flags (that being his subjective view, which may differ from others (duh!));
    (2) He thinks (“assumes”) that one day we will change to an alternative flag from our current one;
    (3) In order that that change be to an alternative flag that he likes (that being his subjective view, which may differ from others (duh!)), he’ll vote for the current one (so keeping open the prospect of change in a way that wouldn’t exist if one of the current alternatives is adopted).

    What’s so hard ot understand about that? And how exactly is that him (or those who think like him) “vetoing” a “new flag”? If a majority vote to keep the current flag (either because they genuinely like it, or in order to keep open the possibility of change to a “better” one in the future), then hooray for democracy!!!!

    Your whole argument seems to boil down to “we’re being asked to change the flag to one of 4 alternatives, so if you want to change the current flag to anything, you have to accept one of these four”. Which is totally bogus reasoning.

    Comment by Flashing Light — September 2, 2015 @ 2:40 pm

  24. The Panel Chair said “we chose the final four.” Could that be verified, because if Mr Key chose the final four wouldn’t that be a croc!

    Comment by ianmac40 — September 2, 2015 @ 2:42 pm

  25. @Tinakori,

    And the third is that the four alternative flags on offer are really, really shit … and if we pick one of them then we’ll be stuck with it for the foreseeable future.

    Aesthetic considerations don’t have to be party political in nature.

    Comment by Flashing Light — September 2, 2015 @ 2:42 pm

  26. The second is the ever strong Key Derangement Syndrome, hence the desire to postpone a decision on the flag until an option is proposed by a political faction of which we approve

    Or, it could be any one of the many reasonable arguments made by countless people over several months. But you know better. Syndrome it is, no more thinking required. Fingers cheerfully stuck in ears, and we’re done.

    Reject the Syndrome! Report all suspects to the House Committee on Un-New Zealand Activities!

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — September 2, 2015 @ 2:48 pm

  27. This is pretty much my position too. I want the UK Ensign gone but not like this and not for one of those logos.

    Comment by Fentex — September 2, 2015 @ 2:48 pm

  28. “It’s not a waste if we actually have a proper debate about our constitutional self-image rather than Key’s vacuous branding exercise.

    I’m going to vote Hypnoflag and then Keep the Exiting Flag because I don’t want a bar of Key’s railroaded, corporate-logo silver fern fixation. Like Danyl, I really want to change the flag, but not via some bullshit panel who’s brief is to deliver Key his coveted fern.

    This whole project is an expensive, narcissistic attempt by Key to create a national legacy to himself. I’ll vote against that, any day.”

    This.

    Neil: Do you think John Key would have come under the same criticism if he had decided to initiate an actual debate about the country’s constitution, with the flag change as an outcome of it? I don’t think so.

    People will always hold a grudge against a leader they didn’t vote for, but that doesn’t mean they can’t gain respect for that leader if they show leadership. John Key’s leadership on important national issues where the leader is supposed to at least try to act in a bipartisan way has been pretty crap. The flag is one example, the TPP is a much more serious one.

    Comment by Seb Rattansen — September 2, 2015 @ 2:52 pm

  29. John Key wants a new flag. So now we all have to pay pennants….(boom boom)

    Comment by PPCM — September 2, 2015 @ 3:02 pm

  30. John Key wants a new flag. So now we all have to pay pennants….(boom boom)

    I’d say it’s an emblem of the standard of public discussion in New Zealand, with each side gathering under their repective banners.

    Comment by Flashing Light — September 2, 2015 @ 3:07 pm

  31. “My underlying reason for wanting to change the flag is that I beieve we are a very proud and passionate nation but we don’t utilise our current flag to demonstrate the love we have of our country. Secondly there’s no doubt that the international recognition of New Zealand’s products is enhanced when they are branded with the silver fern. So if the country votes to change the flag, to the one that has the silver fern then I think the probability that we’ll display it more widely and use it to promote our products is greatly enhanced.”

    That’s the PM. He has said before that he wishes we were a bit more flamboyant in our patriotism, and says that this is the main reason he wants to change to change the falg. I think our style of patriotism is what it is, and doubt that we don’t go in for the rah rah flag waving simply because we don’t like the flag’s design. I think it’s probably more to do with our stoicism and other cultural traits. But who knows.

    The second bit is another thing he has brought up often in this debate, and evry time it makes me think of what Catton said about how we are led by money focused types. She was of course pooh poohed about that and told that ‘we do too respect culture, look at how much money we’ve given you, ungrateful much?’ etc.

    Plenty of people on the right are accusing opponents of not wanting to change the flag ‘coz key’, borrowing the Bush Derangement Epithet the US right came up with when people started criticsing the failures of the GWB administration. It beats actually listening to what people are saying I guess.

    But for the record, I do think that if say Clark had proposed a flag change the conversation would have been different. but that isn’t just because of partisanship, but because I really can’t see Clark replying to a voter in the way Key did in that quote. If Clark had done it, it would have been about identity and all likelihood, overtly about republicanism. That would have shown in how she would have framed the debate. Key has ruled all that out in favour of making it about rah rah fag waving displays of a type we don’t go in for, and selling more product.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — September 2, 2015 @ 3:24 pm

  32. “I’d say it’s an emblem of the standard of public discussion in New Zealand, with each side gathering under their repective banners…”

    Well I don’t intend to get into a flap about it…I suspect the whole debate will be ensigned to history.

    Comment by PPCM — September 2, 2015 @ 3:25 pm

  33. Can’t wait for this all to be over and done with so everyone can get back to using the silver fern on black to represent NZ like we always have.

    Comment by @simongarlick — September 2, 2015 @ 3:35 pm

  34. @Pascal’s bookie,

    Today in my Laws 422: Bills of Rights class I was teaching the case of Hopkinson v Police, in which a protestor challenged his conviction for burning a NZ flag back in the mid-2000s. I asked the class why such a law might be in place – why would the State want to protect the national flag from desecration/disrespect? Not one person had the blindest clue … by which I mean that there wasn’t the usual “don’t want to talk” silence, but rather a blank incomprehension that this is something that the State might have any sort of interest’concern for at all.

    Which, I think, buttresses your argument about how “we” relate to the flag. The whole notion of “a national flag” just isn’t a thing that we attach all that much meaning to. Which isn’t to say NZers don’t possess a sense of patriotism or national pride … it’s just that we use a range of other symbols to express it in a variety of different ways. Silver ferns on backpack badges and war graves. Kiwis on our airplanes/army uniforms. The koru for tatoos on our arms. And so on.

    I guess Key thinks we should then adopt one of these other organically developed symbols (the fern) in the hope that the pride invested in it then carries over to the national flag. I’d ask “why do we need/want to do that?” – it’s a bit like suggesting we take the “Ka Mate!” haka as our national anthem because it’s what we spontaneously perform at places like the Olympics, etc. Let each thing be what it is and don’t go trying to articificially generate a passion by coopting meaning from elsewhere.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — September 2, 2015 @ 3:41 pm

  35. Tinakori: an “orchestrated litany of whines” is still a whole lot louder and shriller than “Key Derangement syndrome”.

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — September 2, 2015 @ 4:13 pm

  36. “…as amusing as the Hypoflag might be.”

    A very understated flag indeed.

    Comment by unaha-closp — September 2, 2015 @ 4:44 pm

  37. This post demonstrates very well the cognitive dissonance of the left-wing flag-changers, they believe that the current indifference to the idea of a new flag is purely due to Key’s mismanagement of the process here. I think this is naive. The public indifference/low-grade hostility to change isn’t a result of the poorly-done process, it’s the result of their attachment to the present change. Left-wing gripes about the process have varying degrees of validity, but it’s naive to think that if there were more designers on the flag panel (for example) public enthusiasm for a new flag would swell.

    Any democratic process in the forseeable future is going to result in an endorsement of the current flag.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — September 2, 2015 @ 4:52 pm

  38. Maybe it’s just a timing thing. Maybe there needs to be an accompanying desire to move away from the UK being part of New Zealand’s beginnings. Perhaps when we consider if we want Charles as King of NZ we might think it’s time to reconsider our flag. I kept an open mind on changing the flag, but was disappointed with the decisions of the expert panel. I fully expect the second vote to be for retaining our existing flag as I think the panel has failed to come up with any inspiring alternative. It’s possible the government may even abandon a second referendum if the first has a poor turnout.

    Comment by cctrfred — September 2, 2015 @ 5:20 pm

  39. Yeah, fully agree, Danyl.

    I’d like to change from the present anachronism, but not to any of the four eyesores chosen by John key’s little handpicked committee.

    This whole process is utterly fake – highly-contrived, elite-driven, foisted on to an unwilling public and carried out at breakneck speed. It hasn’t arisen from some sort of inate upswelling of public opinion, in fact quite the opposite ( http://thestandard.org.nz/guest-post-the-flag-a-change-is-gonna-come/#comment-1054687 ), no real public debate or consultation has taken place, little input from design professionals or from the wider community.

    Comment by swordfish — September 2, 2015 @ 5:36 pm

  40. It’s clear that the flag considering worthies have picked such awful ‘designs’ as revenge for no-one turning up to their meetings ( except for the old in need of a cup of tea and the mad in search of a captive audience).

    In being so awful they’re actually creating a level of interest and debate not achieved by consultation exercises. It’s the kind of cunning plan a hooton would come up with

    Comment by insider — September 2, 2015 @ 5:53 pm

  41. Why don’t we just hold out till Australia changes their flag?

    Comment by Lee Clark — September 2, 2015 @ 6:18 pm

  42. @ swordfish

    Flags are almost by definition anachronistic. The USA flag has lines and stars representing original colonies and current states. Not those it is about to annex. The Union flag represents a300 year old alliance. What s the problem with that ?

    An aspirational flag for NZ would probably have a boat, a nice view, summer sun, fast internet connection, Netflix and a cheap airline ticket.

    Comment by regicider — September 2, 2015 @ 6:20 pm

  43. “no real public debate or consultation has taken place”

    Remember the flag tour? It’s not entirely the government’s fault that there’s been no public debate – you can’t hold a vital, wide-ranging public discussion about changing the flag when most of the public doesn’t want the flag to change.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — September 2, 2015 @ 6:23 pm

  44. … you can’t hold a vital, wide-ranging public discussion about changing the flag when most of the public doesn’t want the flag to change.

    That will change once the concerted Richie McCaw/Olympians/Business Leaders juggernaut really starts rolling. By the time the vote-off between the old and new comes around, I reckon there’ll be a majority vote for change (even if it is not an absolute majority of voters).

    Comment by Flashing Light — September 2, 2015 @ 6:53 pm

  45. This post makes a good case for one of the un-chosen flags

    http://rowansimpson.com/2015/09/02/dear-john/

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — September 2, 2015 @ 8:44 pm

  46. If Clark had done it, it would have been about identity and all likelihood, overtly about republicanism.

    But she didn’t. It just happens to be a conservative PM who has proposed changing the flag.

    And sure some will have agreed with the sort of arguments that you think she might have made.

    But many others wouldn’t have. And many would have disagreed because of her just as now people are disagreeing because Key is pushing this.

    So we could continue going round in circles with party tribalists sabotaging any progress or we accept that there will be no unicorn farting flags and republics.

    Because I don’t see why the partisan left or right should hijack debates and obstruct everyone else getting on with things.

    Comment by NeilM — September 2, 2015 @ 10:43 pm

  47. I haven’t seen much discussion of how the debate is an overly serious one an anachronistic form of symbolism.

    Flags were effective indicators of allegiance in war which then evolved to became symbols of nationalism – that temporary truce of war, within a border at least.

    They’re sort of a not very admirable form of identity definition when looked at like that.

    But there are good reasons why people could have valid emotional attachments to flags, most commonly related to war and more recently rainbow flags – seen all over my Facebook timeline.

    Which suggests how the visual imagery of flags has changed with changing technology.

    Previously, flags were an important visual signal displayed with great theatre on a flagstaff. Involving large amounts of space and ceremony. But these days our visual experience is dominated by the visual media. I have seen more pictures of flags than actual flags. It’s the internet where we see things.

    More often than not visual images are tiny screen icons. Not vast billowing cloth dramatising the great people, events and nations.

    Now there’s mostly these simulacrum – small, dispersed, easily accessed and viewed often in the solitude of a computer station rather than within the roar of the celebratory crowd. Apart from sports.

    So once upon a time there was a need for a flag. Battlefields, nationalism etc. It was a way of sending a powerful visual message of loyalty, confrontation, victory or surrender. It communicated.

    Today we are bombarded with visual images that attempt to convey a wider variety of messages. The royal monopoly on symbolism has long been dismantled.

    So here we are arguing about something that has possibly passed its used by date and arguing one way or the other depending on our tribal loyalties often symbolised ironically by an archaic form – The Flag.

    Maybe to be a republic doesn’t mean having a a new flag or a flag at all. Or maybe we could have more than one.

    Comment by NeilM — September 3, 2015 @ 1:17 am

  48. — “This post demonstrates very well the cognitive dissonance of the left-wing flag-changers, they believe that the current indifference to the idea of a new flag is purely due to Key’s mismanagement of the process here. I think this is naive. The public indifference/low-grade hostility to change isn’t a result of the poorly-done process, it’s the result of their attachment to the present change.”

    Do you mean their attachment to the present flag? Really?

    I think Danyl’s spot on this time: put aside the die-hard supporters of the current flag, and the die-hard left-wingers who just won’t vote for change no matter because John Key eh, and you’re left with a bunch of people happy to push pause.

    It seems to me that a lot of people are in the ‘don’t really like the current flag’ category, but also in the ‘unless I’m really happy with the design, I won’t vote for a new flag’ category.

    I’m certainly not going to vote in support of “slightly less shitty flag number x”, when I can just not take part at all and be left with “shitty flag that’s nothing to do with me and was decided on since before I was born”.

    Comment by steve — September 3, 2015 @ 2:38 am

  49. Yes Neil. People would have disagreed with Clark too. Did I say otherwise? *(hint: ni o idd ton)

    I was responding to the claim people are making that ‘left wing opponents would support this if Clark was doing it rather than Key’ and showing that doesn’t necessarily mean such people wouldn’t have had good reasons for a different opinion under those circumstances. That the difference isn’t just ‘partisan tribalism’, that what you insist on calling ‘tribalism’ is based on people having actual genuinely different ideas, they are not being dishonest about that.

    The real blind partisans are those who won’t accept that others genuinely have different views. Reducing those views to ‘tribalism’ is itself blind partisanship, as summed up in this quote:

    “Because I don’t see why the partisan left or right should hijack debates and obstruct everyone else getting on with things.”

    Why are the left and right ‘hijacking’ the debate from the sainted ‘everyone else’? The left and the right are just as entitled to their views as ‘everyone else’, and yes, they really do disagree about things. This is all well known, it isn’t some stunning insight you have had, and they aren’t just being petty and spiteful. They are taking part in ‘democracy’, which is not something owned by your mythical ‘everyone else’.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — September 3, 2015 @ 6:10 am

  50. I think NeilM sees himself as The Voice Of Reason, untainted by any ideological baggage and responding only to the facts as they present themselves – giving his views an objective quality that all others lack.

    This is funny.

    Comment by Flashing Light — September 3, 2015 @ 6:41 am

  51. Russell Brown gets it right when he says: “After all this contemplation, we seemed to have wound up with what you’d get if you hadn’t really thought about it.”

    The flag consideration panel that was set up to examine this issue seems to have ignored its own principles re flag design. Weird.

    http://publicaddress.net/hardnews/not-yet-standing-upright/

    Comment by Ross — September 3, 2015 @ 6:49 am

  52. Some people expect the new flag to tell a story about our country. I think that’s somewhat pretentious and overly optimistic. I mean, by looking at the South African flag you’d never know that blacks were once treated appallingly. The options might be poor re our flag but I don’t think we’re going to ever get something that tells a “story”…unless of course there are words on the next flag!

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player/201768908

    Comment by Ross — September 3, 2015 @ 6:59 am

  53. *Disclaimer

    NeilM has worked for the National Party.

    Comment by Joe — September 3, 2015 @ 8:02 am

  54. “Do you mean their attachment to the present flag? Really?”

    Yes I do, bah.

    I think the flag design panel probably did their best. They were basically given an impossible task, though. No purely technical act of design is capable of inspiring the feelings that a flag is supposed to inspire based purely on its appearance.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — September 3, 2015 @ 8:34 am

  55. No purely technical act of design is capable of inspiring the feelings that a flag is supposed to inspire based purely on its appearance.

    True! But if we’re dealing with “a technical act of design”, then having a committee of random notable people with no concept of design principles choosing the possible future flags based on what they think people (especially the PM) would like to see on it is not likely to produce an image we want to aspire to.

    Put it this way – if someone had said “let’s get the public to send in designs for Pukeahu National War Memorial Park and then we’ll get 12 random academics, business people and sports stars to decide which design is best”, would we expect to end up with a place that “inspires the feelings that a War Memorial is supposed to inspire”?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — September 3, 2015 @ 9:57 am

  56. The panel failed, because they didn’t grasp the very nature of what voting is about. Being appointed, not elected or accountable, that’s not surprising.

    If I am the KIng, and I’m asked to approve just 4 parties for the people to choose from, I’ll pick: Social Democrats, Liberals, Moderate Greens, Socialists. I can accept all or any of those being in power, so I pick them.

    BUT that’s not what the people should be offered. I’m supposed to work for THEM (i.e. democracy), not me. So I should include a right-leaning party on the list, which half the population would at least want to consider. I don’t like that party, but … that’s irrelevant. The people might.

    Do you see? The panel didn’t. And probably, were never meant to.

    Four very different options would have worked for us. But not for their boss.

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — September 3, 2015 @ 10:26 am

  57. I think Steve posting at September 3, 2015 2:38am (get some sleep man) has hit the nail on the head for me:
    It seems to me that a lot of people are in the ‘don’t really like the current flag’ category, but also in the ‘unless I’m really happy with the design, I won’t vote for a new flag’ category.
    And sammy 3.0 is right, the panel has failed, a big waste of money that could have produced some real choices. I am currently unhappy with how this government decision has played out.

    Comment by cctrfred — September 3, 2015 @ 11:46 am

  58. “But if we’re dealing with “a technical act of design”, then having a committee of random notable people with no concept of design principles choosing the possible future flags based on what they think people (especially the PM) would like to see on it is not likely to produce an image we want to aspire to.”

    Basically, it doesn’t matter who is on the panel – 12 designers, 12 academics, 12 community leaders of 12 pastry chefs for that matter. People are attached to flags because of habit and education (not necessarily the formal kind, just repeatedly being told ‘this represents you’). Quibbling over who is sitting on the panel is missing the point entirely. There are no designers, so people imagine that if there were designers it would have been much better. But in an alternative universe where Key got a bunch of designers to design a flag that met all the parameters that a professional designer knows how to apply, people would still feel uninspired, and we’d be hearing about how the panel should have had more cultural or historical experts or more Iwi leaders or something.

    Basically if you give somebody an impossible task it doesn’t matter what qualifications or background they bring to it.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — September 5, 2015 @ 2:35 am

  59. Higgs Boatswain @ 15
    “by all means let us not be like the British, but must we really be like the Americans”
    Aren’t most republics more like Pakistan or France? Not many countries use the US model.

    Sammy 3.0 @56
    “Being appointed, not elected or accountable, that’s not surprising.”
    Eh? Our politicians are elected and accountable, but they’re still shit.

    There are some truly shit flags in the world, ours isn’t really one of them. But Indonesia and Poland…

    Comment by Clunking Fist — September 9, 2015 @ 5:50 pm


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