The Dim-Post

September 3, 2015

On the much lighter side: the flag debate cont

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 11:47 am

The Herald reports:

All Black captain Richie McCaw may be keen on using the silver fern in a new national flag – but New Zealand Rugby warned the design committee not to use its trademarked silver fern logo.

Officials were told permission to use the fern on a new flag was unlikely to be granted. If NZ Rugby had allowed its fern to be used on a flag and it made the final four, it would have had to assign all rights in it to the Crown at no cost. Other fern symbols can still be used and feature in three of the final four designs.

This is funny to me for a couple of reasons: firstly, Key has been pretty clear about his motives for changing the flag. It’s about having brand synergy with our internationally recognised sports teams who all wear the silver fern. He’s always wanted the silver fern as our flag, only now we learn he didn’t actually bother to talk to the people who own the trademark on that image to see if they were keen.

Secondly, rugby and patriotism are deeply linked in New Zealand. It’s supposed to be part of our identity. Good New Zealanders support the All Blacks. But the patriotism only goes one way: when you ask the Rugby Union to surrender their intellectual property to support New Zealand they tell you to fuck right off. Nice.

43 Comments »

  1. I hope they lose.

    Comment by Moses — September 3, 2015 @ 11:59 am

  2. But the patriotism only goes one way: when you ask the Rugby Union to surrender their intellectual property to support New Zealand they tell you to fuck right off.

    They probably don’t want to sully their sport by associating with the cesspit of NZ politics.

    Comment by unaha-closp — September 3, 2015 @ 12:12 pm

  3. I’d assume the NZRU will be paying back the billions they’ve had from the taxpayer over the years?

    Comment by richdrich — September 3, 2015 @ 12:28 pm

  4. Also, I just looked something up. The NZRU claims exemption from income tax under CW47 of the Income Tax Act http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2007/0097/latest/DLM1513279.html
    “promotion of an ameteur game or sport”.

    Rugby is a professional sport and has been since 1995 – are they evading tax?

    Comment by richdrich — September 3, 2015 @ 12:34 pm

  5. They probably don’t want to sully their sport by associating with the cesspit of NZ politics.

    Yeah, imagine if the PM was photoshopped onto the front of Rugby News magazine just prior to a General Election to make him appear to the masses as a bloke rugby fanboy like them – if NZRU were asked whether that was OK, they’d absolutely make sure that it wouldn’t see the light of day.

    Comment by Patrick — September 3, 2015 @ 12:38 pm

  6. Rugby is a professional sport and has been since 1995 – are they evading tax?

    Club rugby isn’t which also falls under the RNZFU’s purview.
    But it’s a good point nonetheless.

    Comment by Gregor W — September 3, 2015 @ 12:40 pm

  7. 3.I’d assume the NZRU will be paying back the billions they’ve had from the taxpayer over the years?

    Heh.

    Comment by unaha-closp — September 3, 2015 @ 12:48 pm

  8. You’ve got to be kidding! The Captain of the All Blacks reckons he knows what will be good on a New Zealand flag? That’s like a currency trader thinking he knows what’s right for a country.

    Comment by Daniel Lang — September 3, 2015 @ 12:57 pm

  9. I understood ‘their design’ consists of silver fern combined with word ALL BLACKS.
    Just looked up IPONZ register and they have mostly let the combined design described above lapse and have taken up their specific design on its own but only on specific materials including playing cards? eg design number 163433
    Doesnt seem to be a trademark for use in flags, but of course you would want a national flag to cover everthing from tea towels to bottles of liquer

    Comment by dukeofurl — September 3, 2015 @ 1:02 pm

  10. The fern in the ABs’ logo is different (and a damn site better looking) than the ferns on the three short-listed flags, so the NZRU doesn’t have anything to complain about.

    If we are going to end up with a new flag that has a fern on it, I hope the fern is redesigned to look better than the current options do. Close-up, they’re pretty fugly.

    Comment by Ataahua — September 3, 2015 @ 1:07 pm

  11. …when you ask the Rugby Union to surrender their intellectual property to support New Zealand they tell you to fuck right off.

    They certainly are very unpleasant people. However, in this case, being told to fuck right off means our flag won’t have “brand synergy with our internationally recognised sports teams,” so for once I’m feeling quite well disposed towards the NZRU.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — September 3, 2015 @ 1:11 pm

  12. “I’d assume the NZRU will be paying back the billions they’ve had from the taxpayer over the years?”

    Or not very much as the case may be. In 2014 out of total income of more than $120m the NZRFU received $5.5m from the Government made up mostly of payments from High Performance Sport NZ to support the Rugby 7s teams (men and women) build up for the Rio Olympics and a one off payment from MBIE’s major events budget to support hosting the Junior World Cup in NZ. Plus some money from ACC for injury prevention programmes. The bulk of their income $103m – came from commercial activities – sponsorship, broadcasting rights and ticket sales.

    Comment by Tinakori — September 3, 2015 @ 3:06 pm

  13. Careful – if the Left positions itself as ‘rugby haters’ it risks pissing off (some of) the public and losing the next several general elections

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — September 3, 2015 @ 3:42 pm

  14. Didn’t happen after the Springbok tour. Muldoon lost seats at the 1981 election and was defeated 3 years later.

    Comment by richdrich — September 3, 2015 @ 4:12 pm

  15. I think the other funny part about this is from Key’s op-ed in the paper a week or so ago.

    He talked about watching the ABs play, enjoying the crowd and how everyone was waving Silver Fern flags. This showed Ket that the current NZ flag doesn’t work because people don’t fly it at the rugby like he think we ought to.

    Alternatively, people fly the ABs flag at the ABs matches coz ABs. It’ll be interesting to see if a new flag does get flown more at AB matches.

    I think it might, assuming there’s a big retail push to ‘buy a new flag’ so people have one lying around, and it looks close enough to the ABs logo to do.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — September 3, 2015 @ 4:28 pm

  16. The All Blacks silver fern is a very specific design. It’s not just a random fern design on a black background.

    Comment by @simongarlick — September 3, 2015 @ 4:46 pm

  17. Why would the Rugby Union pay tax when other, lesser religions are tax-exempt?

    Comment by Can of Worms, Opened — September 3, 2015 @ 4:56 pm

  18. “Why would the Rugby Union pay tax when other, lesser religions are tax-exempt?”

    Part of their organisation is subject to tax, but they have accumulated tax losses of around $5m and on a profit of $300,000 or so they are not in danger of paying tax anytime soon.

    Comment by Tinakori — September 3, 2015 @ 5:06 pm

  19. This was an obvious problem, and it isn’t one at all. The NZ Government can write a law to take the trademark at will. It’s not a story except for the way it does highlight the one way attitude of some people.

    Professional sports eventually undo loyalties. It’s just a fact and it will kill NZ supremacy at rugby one day (I always thought we’d start seeing that about now but it’s taking longer than I thought, if I was right then 2013 was the high water mark).

    Comment by Fentex — September 3, 2015 @ 6:40 pm

  20. What would people sacrifice to have 50,000 refugees?

    I’d sacrifice the flag referendum and if necessary the central Auckland rail link.

    Comment by NeilM — September 3, 2015 @ 8:46 pm

  21. I don’t really know why Key wants to change the flag as I don’t know him personally.

    I know I want to change the flag and in that sense I’m not interested in why he wants to.

    And to continue the cynical theme, I’m not sure why Clark accepted 200 (yes only 200) of the Tampa refugees. It might have been because she wanted to cultivate her relationship with Howard.

    But what ever her reasons it was in my opinion a good choice.

    The international community has refused to deal with Assad, the Syrian refugee crisis has not just appeared overnight, there’s been refugee camps near Calais for a number of years.

    But I’m sure we can find some local politician to vent our own personal lack of action on.

    And I vote for no flag. We have no common agreement and should have no common symbol.

    Comment by NeilM — September 3, 2015 @ 9:24 pm

  22. I sort of think that if even Helen Clark at the UN can’t solve the refugee crisis then the problem might be worth more than looking for a scarlet letter,

    Comment by NeilM — September 3, 2015 @ 11:09 pm

  23. What would I sacrifice for 50k refugees? JK’s holiday house in Hawaii (and the others), all govt investiture into this year’s sporting events (building houses keeps one fit, do that instead), tax cuts by way of a haircut to anyone with more than say a million… Plenty really.

    Comment by Roy — September 3, 2015 @ 11:39 pm

  24. What would people sacrifice to have 50,000 refugees?

    That seems like an absurdly high number for us to take. I’d be happy with a 10th of that, if we could resettle them properly. And when National were throwing money at Saudi billionaires and Rio Tinto and promising pointless bridges in Northland to buy the by-election ($65 million) no one ever talked about what we needed to sacrifice to pay for them. But suddenly, when we’re talking about helping people there’s all this very stern, serious sensible talk about giving things up and making sacrifices. If there’s money for desert agri-hubs and all the rest of the ridiculous bullshit there’s money for this.

    Comment by danylmc — September 4, 2015 @ 6:38 am

  25. “That seems like an absurdly high number for us to take.” What do you mean by this? What would be wrong with taking 50,000 refugees?

    Comment by kalvarnsen — September 4, 2015 @ 7:21 am

  26. For comparison – if NZ took in 50,000 refugees, that would be roughly 1 refugee for every 90,000 people. Germany, with 80 million people, is expecting to accept 800,000 refugees this year, e.g. one refugee for every 100,000 people. They’re comparable, and I doubt anybody would say Germany is absorbing an “absurdly high” number.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — September 4, 2015 @ 7:22 am

  27. You might want to review your arithmetic there. 800,000 into Germany is one refugee per hundred people, and yes it is an absurdly high number. If they are expecting to absorb that many refugees this year, they’re nuts.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — September 4, 2015 @ 7:37 am

  28. Forgot to add: 50,000 into NZ is one refugee per 90 people, plus all the “family resettlement” people that follow on from that, so say 200,000 minimum or one per 23 NZers. “Absurdly high” seems appropriate.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — September 4, 2015 @ 7:40 am

  29. Yeah I fucked up the math, but the proportion still stands – for NZ to take 50,000 would be only slightly ‘worse’ than Germany. And the family reunification add-on applies to Germany as well. If they can do it, why couldn’t NZ?

    Comment by kalvarnsen — September 4, 2015 @ 8:09 am

  30. …if NZ took in 50,000 refugees, that would be roughly 1 refugee for every 90,000 people. Germany, with 80 million people, is expecting to accept 800,000 refugees this year, e.g. one refugee for every 100,000 people. They’re comparable …

    Need to be a bit careful about comparisons. When NZ “takes in” refugees, we do so for “resettlement” purposes (i.e. on a permanent basis). So even if Syria settles down in (say) 2 years time, those brought to NZ will get to stay here – meaning we’re taking families for the long haul. That’s why we give incoming refugees so much support/help when they arrive.

    The mooted 800,000 that Germany is looking to accept is on an asylum basis – people will have the right to stay until it is safe to return, then they have to go back home. In the interim, they’ll get a minimal degree of assistance from the German State. So it’s not quite and apples-with-apples deal.

    But anyway – I thought this was meant to be the “lighter note” thread? Can we go back to hating on the NZRFU? Or maybe combine the two topics – how come the All Blacks aren’t being sent to Turkish refugee camps to help out?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — September 4, 2015 @ 8:12 am

  31. how come the All Blacks aren’t being sent to Turkish refugee camps to help out?

    Their branding symbolism, white image scrawled over a black background, is going to be in very poor taste in those refugee camps.

    Comment by unaha-closp — September 4, 2015 @ 8:51 am

  32. It’s alright to have a flag that looks like the ABs flag while the ABs are at the top of the game. But kids aren’t playing rugby anymore, so what happens in 20 years when the ABs are getting clobbered by all and sundry and our fern flag becomes synomous with a loser’s flag.

    Comment by mjpledger — September 4, 2015 @ 8:55 am

  33. @Andrew: Well, in the short term it’s comparable, and even in the long term, in practice many of those asylum seekers are likely to end up remaining in Germany.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — September 4, 2015 @ 9:07 am

  34. @kalvarnsen,

    Sure – there’s similarities. But there’s also differences to NZ’s regulated approach to refugee intake and Germany’s broad offer of asylum. To what that extent that should be used to justify our taking far less people is open for debate … but it worth recognising that if we were to be as generous in numbers as Germany, we’d inevitably be a whole lot less generous with the help we give to those we do take. That’s all.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — September 4, 2015 @ 10:19 am

  35. If there’s money for desert agri-hubs and all the rest of the ridiculous bullshit there’s money for this.

    There’s all the money in the world for multi-billion dollar roads with negative business cases – where it would literally do the country better for Simon Bridges and Bill English to walk down Queen St handing out $100 bills.

    There’s money.

    Comment by Moses — September 4, 2015 @ 10:47 am

  36. …if NZ took in 50,000 refugees, that would be roughly 1 refugee for every 90,000 people. Germany, with 80 million people, is expecting to accept 800,000 refugees this year, e.g. one refugee for every 100,000 people. They’re comparable …

    Yes, but they’re Germans.

    We on the other hand are kind and generous people.

    Comment by Moses — September 4, 2015 @ 10:49 am

  37. so what happens in 20 years when the ABs are getting clobbered by all and sundry and our fern flag becomes synomous with a loser’s flag.

    The Kangaroo is still a symbol of pride in Australia, despite the fact that they’re currently shit at pretty much every sport.

    Comment by Phil — September 4, 2015 @ 11:40 am

  38. “The Kangaroo is still a symbol of pride in Australia, despite the fact that they’re currently shit at pretty much every sport.”

    If it is then I don’t think that bothers most Australians much based on what I saw when living there, at least not in the mood-of-the-nation voting-out-governments and family-violence-invoking way. For all of how many Australians enjoy sport, what they enjoy even more than specific sports is getting behind a winning team. If a team’s not winning, people find somene else who’s winning to support rather than hinge their emotional stability on a team that’s losing, although it mightn’t seem like that from here because NZ really only sees Australia participating in the handful of sports where it meets NZ.

    To me it seems like a much healthier national attitude to sport than NZ’s All-Blacks-Must-Succeed-or-we’re-a-failure thing. Pushing the primary symbol of our rugby fetish into a national flag just seems even worse.

    Comment by izogi — September 4, 2015 @ 12:20 pm

  39. The reasoning behind the fern on the flag would suggest that Ireland’s flag should be a shamrock and The Netherlands should have an orange flag.

    Comment by rickrowling — September 4, 2015 @ 12:46 pm

  40. at least not in the mood-of-the-nation voting-out-governments… NZ’s All-Blacks-Must-Succeed-or-we’re-a-failure thing.

    That’s one of those “common sense” things that is a view neither commonly held nor even remotely backed up with sensible justification. It’s nothing more than a meme of the chattering classes to make themselves feel superior to the simpletons who are interested in team sports.

    Comment by Phil — September 4, 2015 @ 12:46 pm

  41. @ Phil “The Kangaroo is still a symbol of pride in Australia, despite the fact that they’re currently shit at pretty much every sport.

    The only sports kangaroos have ever been much good at are boxing and jumping.

    Comment by RJL — September 4, 2015 @ 3:22 pm

  42. I like the 5th, red peak option, which has the potential to keep everybody happy:

    ‘A’ for apathy;
    ‘A’ for arseholes;
    ‘A’ for Accenture;
    or ‘pyramid’ for illuminati.

    When the revolution’s over we can circle the A for Anarchy or go run with the Government’s bullshit narrative ironically and fly a ‘V’ for Vendetta.

    Comment by Thor — September 5, 2015 @ 3:58 am

  43. The NZ government can pass a law making the silver fern a national emblem….and that would be the end of it. It’s a proven successful approach. Maori lost millions of hectares of land by precisely this method. For the greater good. Might be nice to see the greater good served by nicking the property of some of the elites rather than the (relatively) downtrodden, which is usually the case. Example: National’s new labour laws further weakening the position of people already earning less in real terms than they were in the past.

    Comment by Steve W — September 14, 2015 @ 11:34 pm


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