The Dim-Post

September 8, 2015

And another

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 1:07 pm

National party activist Liam Hehir has a column on Stuff denouncing the evil left-wing conspiracy to undermine our Prime Minister by promoting the ‘Red Peak’ flag:

This all comes a bit late in the game. Until now, the principal position of the liberal punditry has been to ridicule, rather than engage in, the flag debate. Toby Manhire, the Left-wing columnist who started the belated campaign forRed Flag, justified his former apathy for the consultation procedure on the basis that it made him feel “… infantilised, herded into a nationwide social studies project”.

Manhire tends to mock all political parties in his column. But one of those is National, and to guys like Hehir any failure to meet Mike Hosking levels of sycophancy and obeisance to the government is proof of a radical left-wing agenda. But Manhire didn’t actually kick off the Red Peak campaign. That was Rowan Simpson, a software developer who worked at TradeMe and Xero, who might be a secret communist too, but realistically probably is not.

I’m not a huge Red Peak fan and neither were the members of the public who were surveyed by UMR. The reason people like it after the fact is, I think, because Simpson and the flag’s other advocates have successfully told the flag’s story. They’ve described how it works on a symbolic level. And many people seem to feel that’s important: the Union Jack symbolises the union of the United Kingdom, the US flag has thirteen stripes for the thirteen colonies and stars for the states, etc. Our current flag tells a story: the Union Jack and the Southern Cross. But none of the selected ones do. The Lockwood flags are a fern and the stars. But why? So what? I mean, there might be some deep symbolic reason behind the number of leaves on the fern and its relationship to the stars, but if there is no one’s ever explained it, and I’m pretty sure that’s because there ain’t.

I do actually agree that some of the Red Peak supporters are just making mischief for the government. But when you botch things really badly your opponents get to make mischief. That’s how politics works. Other Red Peak advocates like, say, David Seymour are probably not so diabolically motivated. And while some of the Red Peak activism is probably politically motivated, pretty much 100% of the anti Red Peak activism seems political and motivated by partisan dislike.

76 Comments »

  1. I mean, there might be some deep symbolic reason behind the number of leaves on the fern and its relationship to the stars, but if there is no one’s ever explained it, and I’m pretty sure that’s because there ain’t.

    Yes. The designs simply have a fern on them, because “rugby”. They have black, red, and/or blue on them because either “rugby” or “the existing flag has those colours”. Four stars are there, because “the existing flag has four stars”. There is no meaning. The four designs are just unthinking pastiches.

    Comment by RJL — September 8, 2015 @ 1:19 pm

  2. Ridicule, engagement, or the new Nat party logos?

    FM

    Comment by Fooman — September 8, 2015 @ 1:23 pm

  3. Well, according to esteemed public intellectual and design-guru, Sean Plunkett, the silver fern represents the story of rugby. Therefore, if you’re pro Red Peak, you’re actually anti-rugby and anti-New Zealand.

    Comment by Nick — September 8, 2015 @ 1:43 pm

  4. Yes. The designs simply have a fern on them, because “rugby”.

    And Emirates Team Brand Air New Zealand Trade & Enterprise.

    Comment by Moses — September 8, 2015 @ 1:47 pm

  5. Also, I didn’t pick a favourite before the selection because there were too many and I trusted that the flag panel would actually come up with four different options, rather than two.

    Comment by UrbanDissidentChatterati — September 8, 2015 @ 1:53 pm

  6. Well expressed. But you’re selling Rowan Simpson a bit short by characterising him as a software developer who worked at Trade me and Xero. He’s a director of and investor in multiple companies and is the chair of Vend’s board. So, really not a communist.

    Comment by russell brown — September 8, 2015 @ 1:54 pm

  7. any failure to meet Mike Hosking levels of sycophancy and obeisance to the government is proof of a radical left-wing agenda

    Yet even Hosking’s level of sycophancy is a little down on usual:
    http://tvnz.co.nz/seven-sharp/would-shame-lose-change-vote-cause-options-weren-t-up-much-video-6383989

    Comment by Dylan Reeve (@DylanReeve) — September 8, 2015 @ 2:02 pm

  8. Rowan Simpson is best described as a venture capitalist rather than a software developer. Which probably reinforces the original point.

    One of the main reasons why the design community has been upset about this is because the entire process represents a devaluing of the work that designers do. Red Flag was definitely successful because it told a story, but that should have been the basic prerequisite that all flags needed to meet. The role of design is not to make things look pretty, but to provide a rationale for decisions and to translate a vision for the future into a story that people can relate to. Designers should have been consulted about how best to run an iterative submission and referendum process, not just what the flags look like.

    The partisan reaction against Red Peak is a complete (and deliberate) misreading of what has actually happened.

    Comment by Mark Rickerby (@maetl) — September 8, 2015 @ 2:06 pm

  9. So how come Hooton’s so spittle-flying ad-hominem flinging wound up about it?

    Does he have skin in the game?

    Comment by rickrowling — September 8, 2015 @ 2:11 pm

  10. Liam Hehir channels Dubya: “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists” …

    Except it’s about flags, so he doubles down on the stupid.

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — September 8, 2015 @ 2:16 pm

  11. In fairness, I don’t take any issue with the design and never said its appeal is exclusively limited to the Left. Personally, I’m against any flag change at all – and I was against the referendum. I’ve also written my criticisms of the process used to select the contenders. But whatever.

    What does annoy me, and what the column is actually about (if you read it) is the manner in which so many leftwingers retreated into biting sarcasm during the time their input could have made a difference, only to now come over all earnest now that they can’t make a difference.

    Comment by Liam H — September 8, 2015 @ 2:24 pm

  12. …and I’m pretty sure that’s because there ain’t.

    Maybe not now, but by the end of this process the contender will have symbolism figuratively fluttering in its every thread.

    Comment by unaha-closp — September 8, 2015 @ 2:31 pm

  13. It is flat out dishonest to portray this groundswell as being from the left. Lefties at the Daily Blog and the Standard have been studiously ignoring the flag referendum out of principal. They continue to do so. When they have discussed Red Peak opinion has been decidedly mixed. Dimpost has been less than enthused.

    What Mark Rickerby said, basically. It’s a design issue.

    Comment by Hane — September 8, 2015 @ 2:35 pm

  14. A lot of New Zealanders probably aren’t aware that the four stars of the Southern Cross are traditionally taken in in medieval European thought to represent the four cardinal virtues: prudence (or ‘wisdom’), justice, fortitude (‘courage’), and temperance (‘moderation’). This interpretation has been current since at least Dante, who presents this interpretation of the constellation in the Purgatorio. (Though just how Dante came to know about the Southern Cross is still a bit unclear). The medieval cardinal virtues may be a bit old-fashioned and a bit overly-Christian by our modern multicultural standards, but I think it’s rather nice that our flag contains a nod to the allegorical figure of four great political virtues we would hope to emulate as a nation. They are certainly four virtues that have not been overly evident in the way the flag debate has been conducted.

    Comment by Higgs Boatswain — September 8, 2015 @ 2:36 pm

  15. @ moses: “And Emirates Team Brand Air New Zealand Trade & Enterprise.”

    So, the fern represent “rugby”, other sports teams such as “netball” and “yachting” who want to be seen as “like rugby”, and “corporations that like to clothe themselves with rugby logos”?

    Still seems like “rugby” is the primary (and “intended”) meaning of the fern.

    Comment by RJL — September 8, 2015 @ 2:45 pm

  16. I can confirm I’m not a communist. I am, however, left handed.

    Comment by Rowan Simpson — September 8, 2015 @ 3:00 pm

  17. It seems to me that when Mike Hosking and Russell Brown agree on something that maybe the old left/right categorisations might not be the best way of splitting the debate. Just saying…

    Comment by Rowan Simpson — September 8, 2015 @ 3:00 pm

  18. Still seems like “rugby” is the primary (and “intended”) meaning of the fern.

    Probably why Labour and Greens have ferns in their logo.

    Comment by unaha-closp — September 8, 2015 @ 3:15 pm

  19. The reason people like it after the fact is, I think, because Simpson and the flag’s other advocates have successfully told the flag’s story. They’ve described how it works on a symbolic level.

    I think there’s a much simpler explanation – the 4 options are execrable.

    Comment by Ross — September 8, 2015 @ 3:43 pm

  20. What does annoy me, and what the column is actually about (if you read it) is the manner in which so many leftwingers retreated into biting sarcasm during the time their input could have made a difference, only to now come over all earnest now that they can’t make a difference. – Liam H — September 8, 2015 @ 2:24 pm

    What’s not clear then is when exactly that input would have made a difference? The whole process was weak to begin with. The public meetings were less about expressing a preference for designs and more about discussions of process and identity (which is something the committee was supposed to consider).

    A long list of 40 designs was released and was largely underwhelming, but it was also still to wide and unfocused to really gain the attention or strong feedback it deserved. However even if it had attracted that feedback, it wasn’t wanted. Public feedback on the long list wasn’t solicited or wanted.

    So when, exactly, before the announcement of the four finalist designs of the 10,000 submitted, were we supposed to tell the committee what we thought?

    Would I have picked Red Peak out of the 10,000? Maybe not even from the 40. But when presented with four (more like three) designs that have been offered I feel compelled to express my displeasure and, given what I’ve since learned about the design, my support for Red Peak.

    Comment by Dylan Reeve (@DylanReeve) — September 8, 2015 @ 3:52 pm

  21. If this kind of hype had been generated before the shortlisting process, then I don’t think that the Flag Consideration Panel would have ignored it – especially if people had turned up to the public meetings and made that view known in force. If this had been a process initiated by the Clark government, I also really don’t think we would have had the same world-weary eye rolling we’ve been treated to ever since the referendums were announced. So I stand by my thesis.

    Comment by Liam H — September 8, 2015 @ 4:07 pm

  22. during the time their input could have made a difference

    What time was that?

    Comment by herr doktor bimler — September 8, 2015 @ 4:18 pm

  23. If this kind of hype had been generated before the shortlisting process

    That “if” is doing a lot of work. The hype could not have been generated before the shortlisting process; because before the shortlisting process, there were not four execrable flag-shaped bags of Vapidity enraging people.

    Comment by herr doktor bimler — September 8, 2015 @ 4:20 pm

  24. How was this hype ever going to be generate when Red Peak was one of 10,000 designs and no one could know how the panel’s selection process could have worked out.

    The point of the process was to discover designs for the new flag, not for people to somehow rally behind a design they’d never heard of before.

    The process was fatally flawed from the start. If the panel had made a shortlist of 8-10 for their 4 spots and then toured that around the country then I’m sure we’d have had a much stronger engagement – maybe Red Peak would have stood out, or maybe another design would have…

    But when they were actually consulting with people we were faced with thousands of designs, many of which were clearly jokes.

    If this process had been initiated by the Clark government and had turned out the same way you would absolutely be seeing the same thing. The political argument is the “we should be spending the $26m on something else” which is possibly a view that many Red Peak supporters hold, and one that many who aren’t supportive of it hold to.

    The dissatisfaction with the process, panel and selections are not political they are pragmatic. The support for Red Peak is because it’s a strong design with actual meaning that’s been well articulated and has gained attention.

    It wasn’t until the panel presented the nation with terrible options that people even realised it was necessary to rally behind something else. I don’t think even the most skeptical naysayers would have imagined a result as poor as we’ve been given. Two of the four are the same fucking design

    Comment by Dylan Reeve (@DylanReeve) — September 8, 2015 @ 4:22 pm

  25. If this had been a process initiated by the Clark government, I also really don’t think we would have had the same world-weary eye rolling we’ve been treated to ever since the referendums were announced. So I stand by my thesis.

    Invoking the subjunctive mood is a weird way to prove a thesis. “A counter-factual Clark-administration would not have aroused such opposition,* therefore the actual real-world opposition is partisan.”

    * Possibly true… the exercise might have been performed more competently and become less of a fiasco. But pointing to counter-factual hypotheticals is no way to go through life.

    Comment by herr doktor bimler — September 8, 2015 @ 4:33 pm

  26. Red Peak activism seems political and motivated by partisan dislike.

    There’s tribalism on both sides. But how could it possibly be otherwise?

    If it was Labour then the petulance would come from the Right as it comes from the left now.

    Although the Left does rather fancy being better than that.

    Both the Union Jack and the stars and stipend evolved over a period of time as a result of major traumatic political.

    Making storirs up on the spur of the moment about a triangle hardly compares.

    But ultimately it is just about the stories we individually tell ourselves about any flag. It really doesn’t matter what it is unless it’s in someway offensive.

    Comment by NeilM — September 8, 2015 @ 4:37 pm

  27. @ Liam H – Yea but it doesn’t say much about the quality of the legal minds in the Manawatu, ad hominems, red herrings, factual inaccuracies, I wouldn’t let you near any submissions.

    Comment by mark — September 8, 2015 @ 4:40 pm

  28. I think that thought experiments are a good method of questioning oneself and one’s assumptions. If the Greens had initiated the flag process – as well they might have – do you think there would have been the same derision from the same quarters? Do you think David Farrar would have been against changing the flag if someone like Russel Norman proposed it?

    Comment by Liam H — September 8, 2015 @ 4:43 pm

  29. Doesn’t the silver fern have symbolism in Maori belief systems?

    Comment by kalvarnsen — September 8, 2015 @ 4:44 pm

  30. It does seem to be a strange target for Liam’s ire, though.

    The “antis” can (and do) complain about the distraction, the cost, the order of the referendum stages, and much else. Suggested responses include boycotting and spoiling.

    By contrast, here we have a bunch of people who are participating in the debate and proposing a flag. And they’re the bad guys?

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — September 8, 2015 @ 4:45 pm

  31. @ Liam H – You could have made a counterfactual argument, which would valid namely the role of political motivation of either anti or pro-flag positions, but most of the article is as I have noted largely an series of ad hominems of people you disagree with. It does not make for a particularly compelling argument.

    Comment by mark — September 8, 2015 @ 4:55 pm

  32. @kalvarnsen “Doesn’t the silver fern have symbolism in Maori belief systems?”

    You’re the one telling the story — you tell us.

    Comment by RJL — September 8, 2015 @ 4:57 pm

  33. The fern and the southern cross have more well defined sets of cultural stories.

    Whatever stories the triangle has aren’t rooted in any history and could easily be said of any arbitrary geometrical shape. The Circle – represents the Sun etc etc.

    Not that I think that’s a deciding factor at all but there’s a bit of overplaying of it mountain etc and somehow being objectively more flag like like.

    If it’s about stories that represent us then the fern and stars have more.

    Comment by NeilM — September 8, 2015 @ 5:03 pm

  34. If the Greens had initiated the flag process – as well they might have – do you think there would have been the same derision from the same quarters?

    Christ.

    There is political posturing about the issue for sure, but the support for Red Peak is not that.

    If the panel had presented four diverse options that even met their own basic guidelines about flag design and people were still demanding some fifth flag be included then you may have a point, but that is not what has happened here

    The panel has delivered us four designs (two of which are LITERALLY the same), none of which stand up to basic design and vexillological ideals. It’s in response to those finalists that the popular focus on Red Peak has occurred.

    If the Greens, Labour or anyone else had run a process that had delivered the same result then I think you’d be seeing a very similar expression of frustration. Maybe some people would come in and out on partisan lines, but I think the issue would remain unchanged.

    For the avoidance of doubt #RedPeak isn’t about John Key or National – it’s about shitty flags.

    Comment by Dylan Reeve (@DylanReeve) — September 8, 2015 @ 5:05 pm

  35. My ire is directed at those who are engaging in the debate (now that it is too late) but who were previously disdainful of it. The government signaled that there was going to be a vote for a new flag in February last year. At that time, I wrote a critical (and accurate) column about how I thought that process would work and outlined a more democratic alternative. Nevertheless, there has been more than enough time for people to look into the various designs they like and build a public case for them. But that didn’t happen because so many people couldn’t get over their disdain.

    It’s wrong to lump Mike Hosking and David Seymour in the other people on board the impotent Red Peak bandwagon. Both were fairly earnest participants in the debate right from the start. They didn’t ridicule the debate right up until the point that the decision was made and then decide that they wanted a say after all.

    Comment by Liam H — September 8, 2015 @ 5:12 pm

  36. @ Liam H – Dylan Reeve makes a good point, namely that there can be objection to the selected four flag that isn’t necessarily driven by political motivations. Further that the public given the chance to actively select the final four. I personally like Sven Baker’s Huihui more than any of the shortlist, and Redpeak. But I also see the new flag process as a legacy project for John Key and as as a waste of money. See Liam we can disagree on things without using ad hominems.

    Comment by mark — September 8, 2015 @ 5:17 pm

  37. For the avoidance of doubt, I never said “#RedPeak” was about John Key or National.

    I am not sure if Green Party activist Danyl McLaughlan actually read my column or not. If he did, you’ll see that I said that indifference to the debate – at the time it actually mattered – was about John Key and National.

    Comment by Liam H — September 8, 2015 @ 5:19 pm

  38. I think that thought experiments are a good method of questioning oneself and one’s assumptions.

    It can also be a good way of telling oneself exactly what one wants to hear.

    Comment by herr doktor bimler — September 8, 2015 @ 5:19 pm

  39. none of which stand up to basic design and vexillological ideals.

    Design isn’t subjective?

    Two flags aren’t the same – they have different colours which is why the Frech and Italian flags are different.

    Comment by NeilM — September 8, 2015 @ 5:20 pm

  40. My ire is directed at those who are engaging in the debate (now that it is too late)

    It’s not too late at all. If the PM wanted to add another flag to the list, he could do so.

    Comment by Ross — September 8, 2015 @ 5:21 pm

  41. I also see the new flag process as a legacy project for John Key

    Don’t you mean vanity project?

    Comment by Ross — September 8, 2015 @ 5:24 pm

  42. I agree herr doktor bimler. At the moment, I’m getting a lot of objections to things I didn’t write – such as the idea that there was some kind of conspiracy, that there’s something inherently wrong with the design and that liking the design can only be attributed to animus against John Key. None of that being in my column, of course.

    Comment by Liam H — September 8, 2015 @ 5:26 pm

  43. “during the time their input could have made a difference”

    What time was that?

    During the Cabinet meeting. What? You weren’t there? Well, only yourself to blame then.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — September 8, 2015 @ 5:32 pm

  44. The flag designs are crap, 3 of them look like something the Labour Party came up with in 2011.

    Comment by unaha-closp — September 8, 2015 @ 5:32 pm

  45. I did suggest recently that as it is all in our minds Key’s opponents were free to reframe the debate if they so chose.

    But I think the triangle is a bit far fetched in terms of offering some form of decolonisation narrative. It’s a flag Morgan likes.

    Comment by NeilM — September 8, 2015 @ 5:34 pm

  46. Right – so your theory is that cabinet intervened against some alternative shortlist drawn up by the Flag Consideration Process?

    Comment by Liam H — September 8, 2015 @ 5:35 pm

  47. If he did, you’ll see that I said that indifference to the debate – at the time it actually mattered – was about John Key and National.

    Don’t worry, many of us are still indifferent to it. Between those of us who’ll vote against changing the flag because we don’t like the idea of it being a rebranding exercise, those who’ll vote against changing it because John Key, and those who’ll vote against changing it because our heroic forefathers etc etc, keeping the current one should be a safe bet.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — September 8, 2015 @ 5:37 pm

  48. That’s how I’m voting (for the first and third reasons).

    Comment by Liam H — September 8, 2015 @ 5:40 pm

  49. …so your theory is that cabinet intervened against some alternative shortlist drawn up by the Flag Consideration Process?

    Nope. But the group with sign-off is the group that makes the choice. If you’ve ever been one of the flunkies coming up with a shortlist to put to such a group, you’ll know how it works.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — September 8, 2015 @ 5:40 pm

  50. If this kind of hype had been generated before the shortlisting process, then I don’t think that the Flag Consideration Panel would have ignored it – especially if people had turned up to the public meetings and made that view known in force.

    The longlist hadn’t been released at that point. The blogpost that swayed people to the flag hadn’t been written at that point. The meetings were about explaining the process and what flags ought to be like, guidelines the panel subsequently ignored when moving to the shortlist.

    Also on that panel, they went from 11/40 designs being ferns to 3/4. It seems that they chose mostly based on the UMR polling. The ferns were popular, and that’s fair enough. But what they seem to have missed is that people who liked ferns are likely to have ranked all the ferns highly in the poll. This turns the strong plurality into the 3/4 majority we see in the selection. So if you don’t want a fern, you now have to rank one second. This seems to go against the panel’s mandate to ensure that no one design is unfairly favoured. the shortlist was to be released by mid September. They went with early Sept. Oh well.

    If this had been a process initiated by the Clark government, I also really don’t think we would have had the same world-weary eye rolling we’ve been treated to ever since the referendums were announced.

    Maybe we wouldn’t have. But maybe there would be good reasons for that. You stand proudly on your own consistency is favouring both the old flag and the monarchy. Is it not possible that many people who want to change the flag are consistent in exactly the same way? I know you don’t agree with such people, but is it beyond you to extend even a little intellectual charity?

    I don’t think Helen Clark would have framed a flag change debate so that the reasons for changing the flag were off the table. That is effectively what happened when it was decided not to first ask ‘Should we change?’ That question would have seen a debate about reasons for change, what it would mean. Instead, the flag change is essentially about nothing, ‘should we just change the look of the thing?’ The PM has sold it as a good idea as maybe people will be more flag wavey in the future, and we’ll sell more stuff.

    For people who, like you, associate meaning to the flag beyond that; this debate is a bit shit. So they mocked it because they thought the debate was silly, that the process was deeply flawed, happening for stupid reasons, and likely to produce stupid results.

    What happened next was that some people read a well written, short, simple explanation of why someone liked the Red Peak flag. They agreed with it, and started saying hey yeah. that flag is pretty cool, and the process has been shit but maybe something could be salvaged from it. What exactly is wrong with that?

    That is what Manhire said in his Herald piece. Did you read it? Or did you just see some talk on twitter and decide that people whose style you don’t like just must be being dicks?

    So I stand by my thesis

    Your thesis seems to be that your opponents are dicks because hypothetically they are hypocrites, so you don’t have to actually bother to do any reading about the conversations that have been happening before banging out a few hundred smarmy words for your column.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — September 8, 2015 @ 5:45 pm

  51. @ Liam H – you would have had more words if you left the ad hominem waffle out

    Comment by mark — September 8, 2015 @ 5:52 pm

  52. They’re not my opponents. There was nothing stopping the building of hype from the day the longlist was released several weeks earlier (considering the current fury only took a few days to build up). There was also nothing stopping the building of hype around a preferred design from the day the process was announced. I don’t buy into the idea that the FCP would have simply ignored an organic, popular movement for a certain design in its considerations.

    But instead, people seemed inordinately fixated on what jokes John Oliver might make about the situation.

    Anyway, I’m outta here.

    Comment by Liam H — September 8, 2015 @ 5:53 pm

  53. aaaaaand, #flounce.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — September 8, 2015 @ 5:55 pm

  54. It does seem like a missed opportunity though doesn’t it. Supporters Morgan’s flag could have begun the public campaign for it a bit earlier than after it was pointless to do so.

    Any ideas why they left it so late?

    Comment by NeilM — September 8, 2015 @ 6:06 pm

  55. You mean they should have started pushing for it before reading the post that swayed them into liking it? Ideally I suppose, but it sounds a bit Dr Who.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — September 8, 2015 @ 6:09 pm

  56. Sorry, I thought Morgan’s flag had broad popular appeal based on its objective design and flag qualities and its roots in NZ cultural identity.

    Was that not self evident to people at the time?

    Comment by NeilM — September 8, 2015 @ 6:21 pm

  57. So to be clear though Liam, your refined thesis is that ‘Rowan Simpson should have written his argument earlier, or ‘the left’ should have done for him first’?

    I’m not sure what to say, that’s pretty odd, and I have read your piece a few times and you don’t mention it in there at all.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — September 8, 2015 @ 6:21 pm

  58. It’s tragically ironic that in a country that prides itself on dealing with colonialism the debate about the flag boils down to Key vs Morgan.

    New Caledonia has two flags – a settler flag and an indigenous flag. Australia has a number of official Aborigine flags.

    But Key’s opponents are up in arms for some triangle with made up stories.

    Comment by NeilM — September 8, 2015 @ 6:50 pm

  59. Glad to see the people who have decided they hate the left now because it isn’t popular at the minute are interested in discussing things.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — September 8, 2015 @ 7:02 pm

  60. Yes, politicising this is a bad thing. Now just remind us of your preferred design, Mr Key?

    Comment by Adrian — September 8, 2015 @ 7:27 pm

  61. @NeilM: “Design isn’t subjective?”

    No.

    Comment by RJL — September 8, 2015 @ 7:36 pm

  62. The flag designs are crap, 3 of them look like something the Labour Party came up with in 2011.

    Looking on the bright side, they’d all make good beach towels.

    Comment by herr doktor bimler — September 8, 2015 @ 11:39 pm

  63. The silver fern doesn’t say “rugby”. The All Blacks adopted the silver fern as a symbol because it was ALREADY a New Zealand symbol. As had been noted a number of times by a number of others, the silver fern is on the graves of NZ soldiers buried overseas. It is a distinctive NZ symbol.

    And NZ is in the Southern Hemisphere, and it is only logical that we include some nod towards that. When I am away from NZ and feeling homesick, I turn and find Orion, then turn my back to Orion and look in that direction, because that is where I would see the Southern Cross if I were in NZ. The Southern Cross is an important symbol to me, as a New Zealander.

    I didn’t think that those two symbols needed an explanation. It seems that I was wrong. It just goes to show how unaware I was of the level of ignorance of those symbols and their meanings in our lives. To some that may seem kitschy or trite, and the shallow amongst us may relate the silver fern only to rugby, but that is to dismiss over a century of its association with NZ.

    As for the “Red Peak”: It looks like a sporting goods store logo to me.

    Comment by David was in Chch, now from Chch — September 9, 2015 @ 1:13 am

  64. Oh, and a P.S. I am both a Canadian and a New Zealander. When I travel, I wear small pins or some small symbol to indicate that. The two symbols: the maple leaf and the silver fern.

    Comment by David was in Chch, now from Chch — September 9, 2015 @ 1:18 am

  65. “keeping the current one should be a safe bet.”

    I agree that the current flag is pretty much guaranteed to win in 2016.

    However, there is a minor chance that some kind of left-liberal dolstublegend will appear whereby the public were yearning for a new flag prior in 2014 only to be put off by that snakelike John Key. It’s possible the Red Peak may become attached to this narrative, may continue to enjoy a corollary status as the “true flag”/”democratic flag” among left-liberal groups (rather like the Tino Rangatiratana flag does among Maori groups) and may eventually end up obtaining official status in some subsequent referendum, although that is at minimum ten years down the track. And even then I only say it’s possible, not that it’s likely.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — September 9, 2015 @ 4:57 am

  66. @RJL: “Design isn’t subjective?”

    No.

    You “objectively” state the fern design screams “rugby” and is totally inappropriate to be prominently supported?

    Comment by unaha-closp — September 9, 2015 @ 9:29 am

  67. @unaha-closp

    You really think that a fern would be on the Labour logo, or the proposed flag designs if it wasn’t the logo of a prominent sports team?

    Comment by RJL — September 9, 2015 @ 11:48 am

  68. Yes. I think NZ Labour, NZ league team, NZ businesses, NZ military, NZ charities that have selected fern emblems as symbolic of NZ.

    Comment by unaha-closp — September 9, 2015 @ 12:24 pm

  69. In response to a 2010 private members bill by Charles Chauvel for holding a nationwide flag debate, Key said changing the flag was not on his government’s agenda (3News, 05/09/2010). So what changed? Who lobbied Key?

    Comment by sleepdepriveddiva — September 9, 2015 @ 1:28 pm

  70. So what changed? Who lobbied Key?

    I think Danyl nailed it on 14/8:

    “I think Key really wants to change the flag. Partly because he wants a legacy but also, mostly – I think – because, as Key said on the radio the other day, he genuinely believes it will be ‘worth billions’ of dollars over time.

    The billions comment was widely mocked but I think it points us to where the drive for a flag referendum comes from. Key has been pitched this idea by someone (my prime suspect is former Saatchi CEO Kevin Roberts) that a new distinctive flag will ‘enhance our brand’ and ‘add value’ to New Zealand as a product. The taxpayers have probably even paid for a report on it, or at least a power-point presentation in which pictures of Canadian flag-branded maple syrup and estimates of billions of dollars in added brand value were flashed in front of the PM’s face.”

    Comment by Gregor W — September 9, 2015 @ 1:34 pm

  71. So what changed? Who lobbied Key?

    To be fair, it was over four years ago since Key made the comment. He is now much closer to retiring than he was then and presumably wants to be remembered for something.

    Comment by Ross — September 9, 2015 @ 1:47 pm

  72. Russia’s new flag must have been worth billions and made them stand out in a crowd. Same for Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia and Croatia.

    Red peak says ‘Campsite’ or ‘Katmandhu’ to me. So maybe it is emblematic of NZ, particularly if it has ‘60% off’ on a diagonal- in green to reflect the environment and importance of tourism dollars

    Comment by insider — September 9, 2015 @ 2:38 pm

  73. particularly if it has ‘60% off’ on a diagonal…

    Lolz.
    Apropos a bunch of policy over the last 3 terms as well – everthing must go!

    Comment by Gregor W — September 9, 2015 @ 3:17 pm

  74. ” Key said changing the flag was not on his government’s agenda (3News, 05/09/2010)”

    I’m guessing he meant it wasn’t on the agenda for the 2008-2011 term. This isn’t much of a gotcha.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — September 9, 2015 @ 6:40 pm

  75. Russia’s new flag must have been worth billions and made them stand out in a crowd. Same for Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia and Croatia.

    I see what you do there.

    Comment by herr doktor bimler — September 10, 2015 @ 3:26 pm

  76. All the proposed flags are naff in some way. I would like to change the flag, but not to any of those proposed.

    Comment by Steve W — September 14, 2015 @ 11:45 pm


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