The Dim-Post

February 23, 2016

Flag logic redux

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 12:28 pm

I don’t hate the Lockwood flag. (Probably because I’m not a vexillologist or design expert, unlike everyone else on twitter, suddenly.) I like it more than our current flag. But I think I’ll still vote to keep the current one, mostly because I don’t really like the Lockwood, and if we vote for it we’re stuck with it for many generations. But if we keep the old flag we’ll be forced to change it during the transition to a republic, which may happen during my lifetime.

Also, while I also don’t hate John Key, it did occur to me during the first referendum – when I opened my ballot and stared down at the four options for change, two of which were almost identical, three of which were very similar, and the fourth obviously chosen as a spoiler to promote the other three – that Key’s government really did do a shitty, horrible, clumsy job at this process, and that is not immaterial. Voters like me do get to judge him and punish him for that.

62 Comments »

  1. The thrust to change NZ’s traditional flag comes from the National Party, or to be more accurate, a clique within the National Party that I would describe as the same old bunch of Progressives, and whose social views make them a better fit for Labour than the party of Sid Holland. This group includes John Key, David Farrar, Maggie Barry, Lewis Holden etc, and a large contingency of the ignorant of history progressives who call themselves the Young Nationals.

    Lewis Holden attempted to change the flag by referendum some 10 or so years ago, but could only muster around 100K signatures on a petition that needed something like 270K to initiate the process. Then JK took the lead, and provided $26 million of taxpayer money and all of govt’s resources to revitalize Lewis Holden’s original failed project.

    I support keeping our traditional flag for the simple reason I have not seen one good reason to change. John Key says “its time” and we need to “celebrate the new multicultural country that NZ has become”. Both of those so called reasons annoy me considerably. “Its time” is a meaningless cliche that of course appeals to the mindless uneducated ignorant of history sector of the population it is meant to.

    As for celebrating multiculturalism, I’m never going to do that, because I value our traditional culture and have never understood why it has become necessary to dilute and degrade that culture by forcibly introducing foreign and obviously under-developed and inferior sub-cultures. Even among the general public, the jury is still out on whether we should celebrate multiculturalism. There is perhaps a case for multi-racism, but multiculturalism, no way.

    I support our traditional flag because it bears the Union Jack, which to me symbolises our cultural roots and in particular the joint origins of Australia, NZ and other British colonies. Its a heritage that brought freedom, egalitarian legal systems, sophisticated effective governance and relative economic prosperity to every country where it settled. Far superior to most other colonial systems.

    I saw an ignorant of history little prog millennial in the Young Nats describe the Union Jack as a derelict colonial relic the other day. This is also I am sure how John Key, only a first generational NZer whose father was an English Communist and mother an Austrian Jew, and other Nat Party progressives also regard the flag. They call themselves multiculturalists, but what they really are is anti White-European termites going down the same old road of pulling down all of our traditional institutions and replacing them with the new improved progressive model.

    If the flag changes, it will be a win for multiculturalists, progressives and Cultural Marxists, in other words a massive loss for traditional NZ and the heritage so many of us value.

    Comment by Redbaiter — February 23, 2016 @ 12:41 pm

  2. Do you think there’ll ever be a flag you like on any shortlist?

    Do you think there’ll ever be a better process?

    Possibly you might think there could be but then maybe everyone just swaps roles and we get another group vehmently opposed.

    That’s what normally happens in politics.

    Some people are going to be disappointed whatever. And they’ll rationalise that disappoint by saying there should have been better choices and a better process.

    Comment by NeilM — February 23, 2016 @ 1:01 pm

  3. I think it is just a little bit disingenuous Danyl to blame the Government without mentioning the Panel (https://www.govt.nz/browse/engaging-with-government/the-nz-flag-your-chance-to-decide/the-panel/). How did we even get to this point without any of our recognised iconography being in the running?

    Comment by Robert Singers — February 23, 2016 @ 2:20 pm

  4. How did we even get to this point without any of our recognised iconography being in the running?

    You mean, like, the silver fern?

    Comment by Phil — February 23, 2016 @ 2:28 pm

  5. @Phil, specifically I mean a white fern leaf on a black background, and a kiwi inside a circle (i.e RNZAF tail marking). A yellow mini would have been more recognisably Kiwi than what we were presented with.

    Comment by Robert Singers — February 23, 2016 @ 2:53 pm

  6. The panel involved in deciding the flag redesign couldn’t get more “designed by committee” than it ever could. The whole affair could be likened to the New Coke debacle of the 1980s.

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — February 23, 2016 @ 2:59 pm

  7. Robert S: “A yellow mini would have been more recognisably Kiwi than what we were presented with.”

    Or the Laser Kiwi.

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — February 23, 2016 @ 3:05 pm

  8. Last week I heard the nine-to-noon “from the left” guy make the remarkable assertion that the flag change is Key “playing political games”. Challenged on this he explained that Key shouldn’t push policies that properly belong to the left. Policies like changing the flag and increasing benefits. Yes that’s right he was miffed that National increased benefits! At least I give him credit for being honest about his real reason for resisting the flag change. Your (Danyl’s) logic by comparison comes across as an attempt to grasp at straws.

    The proposed flag is attractive, unique and distinctively kiwi, making it very much fit for purpose. The existing flag has none of these attributes. The left had an ideal opportunity to do the principled thing and get in behind this policy. Instead they’ve chosen to quibble endlessly about the process. If you think that any kind of process would yield a flag that is new, exciting, aspirational and universally applauded you’re living in a fantasy world.

    Do the right thing and vote for the new flag.

    Comment by Bill Forster — February 23, 2016 @ 3:25 pm

  9. @NeilM “Do you think there’ll ever be a better process?”

    The proper process for a nation to change its flag is for the revolutionary army to raise a new one over the wreckage of the capital.

    A flag gets its meaning by being part of constitutional change. Keith Ng explains it for you here: http://publicaddress.net/onpoint/yeah-nah-but-what-do-we-stand-for/

    Comment by RJL — February 23, 2016 @ 4:22 pm

  10. I get pissed off at the entire ‘this is John Key’s vanity/legacy project’. Can anyone (without using Dr Google or Prof Wikipedia) tell me who was the PM when the current flag was introduced? Or even the name of the person that designed it? How about for the Coat of Arms? Further, I think he’d rather be remembered for things like the post-GFC recovery and Chch recovery than this (not saying I think he did a great job, but they are actual achievements in his mind).

    Comment by Gster — February 23, 2016 @ 4:24 pm

  11. Keith Ng explains it for you here:

    I take it the wasn’t meant to be ironic.

    Comment by NeilM — February 23, 2016 @ 5:06 pm

  12. … it is just a little bit disingenuous Danyl to blame the Government without mentioning the Panel

    The government selected the panel, so no it’s not disingenuous. The government may have been disappointed with the results, but the results were its carefully-chosen panel’s results, so the accountability’s pretty clear.

    Do you think there’ll ever be a better process?

    Well, one that’s prompted by some constitutional event that justifies changing the flag, rather than one that’s a whim of the PM would be a good start.

    A yellow mini would have been more recognisably Kiwi than what we were presented with.

    A lot of flags are three different colours in vertical or horizontal stripes. There’s nothing that says a flag has to feature some sentimental icon for the country’s sappier citizens to get all dewy-eyed about.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — February 23, 2016 @ 5:58 pm

  13. Bill F: the eye is in the beholder. As far as I’m concerned, the architect Mies van der Rohe’s “less is more” also applies to flag designs.

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — February 23, 2016 @ 6:06 pm

  14. Well, one that’s prompted by some constitutional event that justifies changing the flag, rather than one that’s a whim of the PM would be a good start.

    Is that going to satisfy everyone? Don’t you think that there’ll be the same response – wrong time, wrong flag, wrong PM etc but from just a different group of vocal opponents.

    You may be satisfied by a different process but then what happens for those that aren’t? Wouldn’t they be entitled to prevent change just as you feel you are?

    People are contrary and are likely to remain so.

    And if we can’t have a civil, non-partisan, discussion over changing the flag what hope do we have of having one over the more complex and emotional charged one of moving towards a republic.

    Comment by NeilM — February 23, 2016 @ 6:14 pm

  15. The RSA should thank john key there is no way the flag can be changed for a generation after all this

    Comment by Graham — February 23, 2016 @ 6:15 pm

  16. @NeilM “And if we can’t have a civil, non-partisan, discussion over changing the flag what hope do we have of having one over the more complex and emotional charged one of moving towards a republic.”

    As I said, read what Keith Ng says On Point. Without constitutional change, changing the flag is meaningless/pointless/irrelevant.

    The process is: change the constitution. A new flag will naturally arise from this process.

    Comment by RJL — February 23, 2016 @ 6:29 pm

  17. I support the NZ Blue Ensign, but I fail to see why some sort of constitutional rupture should be required to change it. Sure, it’s logical that a war of independence, overthrow of the current system or uniting of the country would justify a change – such as was the case with the United States, France and the United Kingdom.

    But flags change in the absence of constitutional rupture all the time. Canada – whose example some people seem to want us to follow – did not wait until some sort of constitutional revolution occurred before adopting the Maple Leaf. I believe the same probably applies to others.

    Other countries have gone through constitutional changes while retaining their flag.

    Comment by Liam H — February 23, 2016 @ 6:38 pm

  18. I wasn’t convinced by Lloyd Morrison’s campaign for a new flag earlier this century and when this campaign started wasn’t particularly enthusiastic either. Have no problem with the process but I think the Panel that chose the design did a mediocre job. Excellence can be achieved. The Maori sovereignty flag, for example, is a great design and – paradoxically – is a candidate for the best example of NZ design in the post war period. But since seeing the existing and proposed flags flying side by side my view has started to change. I have no great negative emotion towards the Union Jack but it is starting to look out of place in the NZ Flag and the fern, the Southern Cross and the blue Pacific seem the right elements to represent the nation. The main problem with the proposed one is the touch of black in the top left hand corner. That adds one too many elements and dilutes the message sent by the others. Simplicity is good for national symbols. But to my surprise I think I will vote for change mostly because the proposed flag has made me look at the old one in a different way.

    Comment by Tinakori — February 23, 2016 @ 6:43 pm

  19. The tino rangatiratanga flag would be my first choice but it’s unlikely to ever be in consideration and possibly isn’t appropriate.

    I also really like the aboriginal and Kanak flags.

    But my impression is that my taste would be up against a greater range of more popular designs whatever the process.

    Comment by NeilM — February 23, 2016 @ 6:51 pm

  20. The whole shambolic process has had zero integrity – which is why we ended up with such crappy alternative designs, including Lockwood’s rather unsightly Dog’s Dinner. A ludicrous half-way house, neither fish nor fowl.

    I mean the 3-month flag design competition run by Gordon Campbell and others at the Listener back in 1990 was far better organised, enjoyable and inspiring than the vastly more expensive debacle we’ve witnessed over the last couple of years. (And Red Peak entering through the back door via a little social media campaign of well-connected elites was part and parcel of that shoddy little debacle).

    Comment by swordfish — February 23, 2016 @ 7:17 pm

  21. @LiamH “…but I fail to see why some sort of constitutional rupture should be required to change it.”

    The point is that you need a reason to want to change the flag. And there’s not really been a convincing argument put forward as to why we need to change, and why the replacement is any better.

    Constitutional change is certainly one reason to change the flag. Maybe you can think of others, but it’s hard to think of any.

    Comment by RJL — February 23, 2016 @ 7:40 pm

  22. I have no great negative emotion towards the Union Jack but it is starting to look out of place in the NZ Flag…

    As long as Elizabeth the Second, by grace of God the etc etc is our head of state, the Union Flag looks exactly in place on the NZ flag. Pretending otherwise only fools yourself.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — February 23, 2016 @ 8:21 pm

  23. As long as Elizabeth the Second, by grace of God the etc etc is our head of state, the Union Flag looks exactly in place on the NZ flag. Pretending otherwise only fools yourself.

    Not to mention that NZ is part of the Commonwealth which includes the likes of Fiji, Australia, Cook Islands, Tuvalu and Niue, each of which features the Union Jack on their flag. I’m not aware any of these countries has felt the need to change their flags because of the evil Union Jack.

    Funnily enough, even the flag of Hawaii features the Union Jack. It’s unclear if John Key wants to change that flag.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Hawaii

    Comment by Ross — February 23, 2016 @ 8:53 pm

  24. I find the argument thst the Union flag no longer represents NZ a bit shallow. We had that symbol when we were a part of the British Empire. The British Empire no longer exists but that doesnt alter the fact that our nation came from it. The union flag is no less ours than it is the modern day UK. We both inherited the symbol from the Victorian British Empire.

    Comment by swan — February 23, 2016 @ 9:06 pm

  25. @RJL

    Constitutional change is certainly one reason to change the flag. Maybe you can think of others, but it’s hard to think of any.

    Most people I know – who don’t destroy brain cells by thinking about politics for more than 5 min a year – have a fairly straightforward view of all this.

    “Do I think the flag should be changed, yeah sort of. Do I like some of the flags, yeah sort of.”

    There’s a general sense of wanting to change as an expression of an independent identity but not the angst ridden level of – we have to think deeply about nationalism and icons and design etc.

    That’s what Red Peak was about – the high minded we know better about decolonisation and symbolism line. And that turned out to have limited appeal.

    So if we want some discussion about our identity I don’t think it makes much sense to write off the views and tastes of such a large part of the population that contribute to our identity.

    Comment by NeilM — February 23, 2016 @ 9:51 pm

  26. “So if we want some discussion about our identity I don’t think it makes much sense to write off the views and tastes of such a large part of the population that contribute to our identity.”

    Like, why change the habits of a lifetime?

    Comment by leeharmanclark — February 23, 2016 @ 10:11 pm

  27. “I’m not aware any of these countries has felt the need to change their flags because of the evil Union Jack.”

    http://www.newfijiflag.com

    Comment by Mushimushii — February 23, 2016 @ 10:22 pm

  28. I guess its an indicator of how John Key has set up residence in the heads of the left that Psycho Milt, Ross, Swan, Swordfish and poor old Keith Ng are now all fully paid up members of the League of Empire Loyalists and avid defenders of the Union Jack.If a left wing rather than a liberal Prime Minister was proposing changing the flag – as is Labour policy sans constitutional change – try and imagine this crew deploying the no change without constitutional change argument or defending the presence of the Union Jack on our flag. Can’t imagine it? Didn’t think so. Sour Lefties is a great name for a new confectionary item. I can imagine supporting a Helen Clark led government wanting to change the flag just as I can support a John Key led government wanting to change the flag. It doesn’t have to be a inter tribal spat and a political willy waggling competition. That’s the whole @$R%%*&ing point of a flag. It’s for the nation not a political party.

    Comment by Tinakori — February 23, 2016 @ 10:51 pm

  29. “Last week I heard the nine-to-noon “from the left” guy make the remarkable assertion that the flag change is Key “playing political games”. Challenged on this he explained that Key shouldn’t push policies that properly belong to the left. Policies like changing the flag and increasing benefits. Yes that’s right he was miffed that National increased benefits! At least I give him credit for being honest about his real reason for resisting the flag change.”

    Comment of the day. Thank you Bill Forster @ 3:25 pm

    Comment by Redbaiter — February 24, 2016 @ 12:36 am

  30. I have to admit that for me this is rather simple. I don’t oppose the Lockwood flag because I dislike the Prime Minister (though I do), because the process by which it was arrived at was flawed (though it was), or because I want constitutional change (though I do). All those things are matters of secondary importance.

    I will vote against the Lockwood flag simply because it is ugly. Not just ugly, but tacky, vulgar, unimaginative, and bereft of any significance at all. I perfectly respect Bill Forster’s right to say that the proposed flag is “attractive, unique and distinctively kiwi,” and I trust he will respect my opinion that it is trashy, flashy, and irremediably superficial. Aesthetically, the design has no merits at all; symbolically it is totally empty of meaning. I have no particular affection for the existing flag, but it has at least got a hundred years of history behind it. The proposed alternative does not even have the sole redeeming feature of being old. And – pace Tinakori – I hope I would feel exactly the same way about it had it been proposed by Helen Clark or James Shaw. (Though privately I suspect Auntie Helen would have much better taste in flag-design than her successor).

    But de gustibus – as they say – non est disputandem. I hope New Zealanders will have enough taste to reject the Lockwood abomination, but if they don’t we’ll just have to put up with it. Either way, the only “right thing” to do is to vote in accordance with your own judgement. If we get an(other) ugly flag, it’s not the end of the world. And if we’re stuck with the old one, it’ll probably change in a few decades anyway and we’ll get to go through this whole ridiculous procedure again. Who knows? Maybe every government from now on is going to change the flag, and we’ll get to briefly enjoy a national standard in every colour of the spectrum. It’s so much easier and more rewarding than actually having to make policy or govern the country.

    Comment by Higgs Boatswain — February 24, 2016 @ 1:51 am

  31. I score the hat-trick of loathing John Key, loathing the new design and being appalled at how bad the process has been. Key should have butted the hell out and it’s a measure of the man that he didn’t. That it’s now a partisan shit fight is squarely at his door.

    Comment by Adrian — February 24, 2016 @ 5:54 am

  32. The flag referendum will fail largely because of the very poor process – perhaps the Sheep in Hobbiton are waking out of their big sleep and for once in the last 8 years saying in a meek way “no thank you John”

    Comment by Gruntie — February 24, 2016 @ 5:59 am

  33. If a left wing rather than a liberal Prime Minister was proposing changing the flag – as is Labour policy sans constitutional change – try and imagine this crew deploying the no change without constitutional change argument or defending the presence of the Union Jack on our flag.

    I’m against changing the flag as a re-branding exercise or a feel-good exercise, regardless of the party proposing it.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — February 24, 2016 @ 7:04 am

  34. Five years ago I knew a lot of people who believed the flag needed to be changed. They wanted a Republic too but didn’t feel the two events necessarily had to go together.

    Now they all believe that changing the flag outside of a transition to a Republic is at worst stupid and at best constitutional treason. The reason they abandoned their original views seems to be that a right wing Prime Minister started agreeing with them.

    Comment by Ortvin Sarapuu — February 24, 2016 @ 7:06 am

  35. @NeilM “There’s a general sense of wanting to change as an expression of an independent identity but not the angst ridden level of – we have to think deeply about nationalism and icons and design etc.”

    I’ll think you’ll actually find that most people don’t really give a shit about the flag one-way-or-the-other. It’s just a bit of cloth.

    Which is the point. A flag represents something. Changing the flag represents that something has changed. Other than a hollow corporate re-branding exercise there’s been no concrete argument presented as to what has or will change except the flag itself.

    Of course, as I said, the flag is just a piece of cloth. So, there’s nothing to stop it being changed at a whim. However, expecting most people to care about a change, to be enthused about a change, without some underlying reason for change is the problem of this campaign. It does appear that the new flag is merely Prime Ministerial whim. We are reduced to picking which piece of cloth is prettiest. It’s Quilting Idol; which is pretty sad.

    Comment by RJL — February 24, 2016 @ 8:04 am

  36. Tinakori,

    I am not a “leftie”. Mainly I think the new design is a tacky copy and paste mish mash. My relatively apolitical wife agreed with that. Every day I get to see the new flag and it hasnt grown on me yet.

    Comment by Matthew W — February 24, 2016 @ 8:20 am

  37. @ Tinakori

    (1) Nope, never had a particular personal problem with your hero. Happy to acknowledge that he’s enjoyed an unusual degree of popularity with New Zealand voters in the past (and that he is, therefore, quite a remarkable politician) – though obviously he’s been on a downward trajectory for some time now: currently on his lowest 6 month Preferred PM average since becoming PM. It appears that – for quite a few voters – the thrill has gone. All of which probably explains why I made no mention of him whatsoever in my comment (at 19). Always best to avoid Straw Man territory, young fella.

    (2) “fully paid up members of the League of Empire Loyalists and avid defenders of the Union Jack”
    But I’ve always loved the British Empire, me ! Crucifixion ? Best thing the British ever did for us. Oh yes, if we didn’t have crucifixion this Country would be in a right bloody mess. Nail em up, Nail em up, I say !!! Nail some sense into em !!! And if nothing else, Britain’s obscenely cruel and unusual punishment of its imperial subjects has taught me to respect the Empire, and its taught me that you will never get anywhere in this life unless you’re prepared to do a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay !!!

    (3) “defending the presence of the Union Jack on our flag”
    Nope, never did that either. This is what happens when you try to rope us all in to your little preconceived caricature. Always ends in tears. If you’re absolutely determined to indulge in spin, then can I suggest better planning ?
    More than happy to move to a new flag. Just have little interest if the alternative on offer is something of an unsightly Dog’s Dinner.
    No point in change for change’s sake. Needs to be appreciably better than the current one. And just a modicum of dignity and gravitas wouldn’t go astray either.

    (4) “this crew”
    Ha, ha, a very West Country thing to say (cultural importance of lifeboat crews etc). I’ll always imagine you from now on with a Cornish accent and looking almost exactly like Gareth from The Office (who was known to use the term occasionally – “Ere’s my crew !”).

    Comment by swordfish — February 24, 2016 @ 9:23 am

  38. @RJL

    However, expecting most people to care about a change, to be enthused about a change, without some underlying reason for change is the problem of this campaign.

    To an extent I agree. The campaign’s success or not does lie in how many take part.

    But I think why many people aren’t enthused is not just a product of these particular circumstances.

    I don’t think there’s any great feeling of urgency about moving towards a republic in general. Partly I think because we are an independent country anyway and the mice these days is to break down international barriers.

    Independence was a big issue from the 50s to 70s but the world has moved on.

    I can’t see how becoming a republic would be anything other than symbolic and I’m not sure how many kiwis are that concerned.

    (I’ve had this sort of discussion with independentist politicians not far away from NZ and I can see a small but noticeable ambivalence towards the concept independence).

    My wife doesn’t want to change the flag be uses of her family’s links to the military and I’m not really fussed. What has irked me is the setting up of arbitrary and self serving rules about flag aesthetics and process. But it has been interesting to watch the extent of rationalisation going on.

    Comment by NeilM — February 24, 2016 @ 9:51 am

  39. Think the colour blue used in the Lockwood looks toxic.

    Comment by unaha-closp — February 24, 2016 @ 9:59 am

  40. I can’t see how becoming a republic would be anything other than symbolic and I’m not sure how many kiwis are that concerned.

    I guess that’s because neither yourself – or many Kiwis – understand how it would require a fairly radical change our constitutional arrangements.
    Becoming a republic is a pretty big deal.

    Comment by Gregor W — February 24, 2016 @ 10:40 am

  41. @Higgs Boatswain “I perfectly respect Bill Forster’s right to say that the proposed flag is ‘attractive, unique and distinctively kiwi,’ and I trust he will respect my opinion that it is trashy, flashy, and irremediably superficial. Aesthetically, the design has no merits at all; symbolically it is totally empty of meaning.”

    Of course everyone is entitled to an opinion. I can’t help noting though that whereas I make modest claims, you feel the need to condemn in such an extravagant and basically ridiculous manner. No merit at all? Seriously? Shakespeare, who knew a thing or two about psychology, might conclude that you “doth protest too much” – a strong indication that there’s something else going on. Danyl, to his credit, indicates in his original post that he is a little uncomfortable about the emerging groupthink whereby so many are discovering nascent design sensibilities that just happen to be very politically convenient.

    Comment by Bill Forster — February 24, 2016 @ 11:30 am

  42. @NeilM “I don’t think there’s any great feeling of urgency about moving towards a republic in general.

    Perhaps. If true, that partly explains why there is likewise no great feeling behind flag change either.

    @NeilM “I can’t see how becoming a republic would be anything other than symbolic and I’m not sure how many kiwis are that concerned.

    Depends on what “becoming a republic” entails. Sure we might have a very superficial change that involves a change of titles, changing faces on coins, and changing flags. Such a change would have very little, typical day-to-day impact. Although it would still matter a great deal on the rare days that it did matter.

    Alternatively, “becoming a republic” could entail significant change. For example, an elected, executive head of state, a second legislative house, political appointments to ranking judicial, police and military positions, a federal provincial governance structure, re-negotiation of international treaties, etc. These (while maybe not all good ideas) are the sorts of thing that “becoming a republic” might mean. While individually some of these might not be that important, in total, this would be significant change.

    Comment by RJL — February 24, 2016 @ 11:43 am

  43. @Bill Foster the incorrect idea that everyone is entitled to an opinion (http://theconversation.com/no-youre-not-entitled-to-your-opinion-9978) is at the root of the problem. It’s why everyone in Danyl’s little twittersphere is suddenly a design expert. It’s why the comments here quickly degenerate into utter poppycock.

    Comment by Robert Singers — February 24, 2016 @ 11:51 am

  44. Ahhh, so it seems nobody’s allowed to formulate their own view on the quality of an alternative design, eh ?, instead our role is simply to follow instructions like herded cattle and vote for change. Extraordinary.

    Suddenly discovering nascent design sensibilities ? Speaking for myself, I studied Art through to the 7th form and came pretty damn close to choosing graphic design as a career. May not quite make me an expert, but … you know, I know what I like.

    Seems most New Zealanders agree with us … Newshub Reid Research Poll (Feb 2016) “Quality of Lockwood Design ?” Good 35% / Not Good 60%
    http://sub-z-p.blogspot.co.nz/

    Comment by swordfish — February 24, 2016 @ 2:20 pm

  45. R Singers – I think you misinterpreted that piece.
    It’s not about subjective ‘likes’ which is really what the flag debate is about; liking the PM, liking the flag etc. for whatever reason.
    That piece is about the indisputably of certain data, and how the deceptive notion of ‘fair and balanced’ actively distorts the line between and , by assuming they hold equal weight.

    Comment by Gregor W — February 24, 2016 @ 2:32 pm

  46. sorry, didn’t account for html – “and how the deceptive notion of ‘fair and balanced’ actively distorts the line between “fact” and “not fact”, by assuming they hold equal weight.

    Comment by Gregor W — February 24, 2016 @ 2:34 pm

  47. @Gregor you seem to be agreeing with me so I’m uncertain how you think I misunderstood the article? There’s a difference between articulating your “taste” and being able to objectively determine the effectiveness of a design; whether that design is graphical, mechanical, architectural or a process. In many of the areas of human endeavour the designers of the aesthetic work in conjunction with (or against) those who design the functional aspects.

    The people Danyl refers to, and Bill and Higgs aren’t giving *opinions* on the design, they’re discussing their taste preferences.

    @Swordfish – “quality” is a loaded word. I’m interested in what quality indicators your view is based on. Also can you please point out where I indicated I want anyone to vote to change the flag (or not vote).

    Comment by Robert Singers — February 24, 2016 @ 3:00 pm

  48. Hmm, maybe I did misinterpret what you wrote. I had thought you were making a point that formulating a view based on “like” was invalid as when counterpoised with expert opinion.
    Or are you agreeing with Danyl that “not like” is fine, so long as its not disingenuously dressed up as faux-expert opinion?

    FWIW, I agree with the latter, but that doesn’t mean that people aren’t entitled to their opinion.
    Simply, they’re not really entitled to that opinion; that is, the faux-expert one as the basis for “not like”.

    Comment by Gregor W — February 24, 2016 @ 3:21 pm

  49. For a flag, I’d say in broad terms …

    Simplicity (Preferably single primary symbol / central focus).
    Bold, fresh, energetic, new
    Meaningful Symbolism
    Preferably Abstract
    symmetrical or near-symmetrical
    Balance (colour and elements)
    Easily distinguishable at a distance
    Wow factor ./ Je ne sais quoi / Impactful
    Elegance (Symbolism doesn’t look like it’s been awkwardly forced against its will into the rectangular format)
    Natural rather than synthetic-looking colours
    Bold colours that create an effective contrast
    An innate sense of dignity/gravitas
    Popular with the public
    (some overlap between these, of course)

    Partly a science with fixed rules / partly purely in the eye of the beholder

    Comment by swordfish — February 24, 2016 @ 4:44 pm

  50. “Alternatively, “becoming a republic” could entail significant change. For example, an elected, executive head of state, a second legislative house, political appointments to ranking judicial, police and military positions, a federal provincial governance structure, re-negotiation of international treaties, etc. ”

    We could have all of those without being a Republic, though,

    Comment by Ortvin Sarapuu — February 24, 2016 @ 6:52 pm

  51. “A lot of flags are three different colours in vertical or horizontal stripes.” PM @ 12
    And everyone should have given up after the French took the tricolor (ok, so they weren’t first). It really is the only truly unique, no arguments as to who it is, fuck you monsieur (a bit like Lizzie’s head on a stamp says, categorically, what it’s about). Every other stripe flag is boring and unmemorable. The Irish and Italians almost get away with it. The Dutch don’t. The Polish and the Indonesians just give me a headache. I love countries that have a little extra (India, Mexico, PNG) or go all-out in-your-face (Wales, Sri lanka). But it’s a bit sad to put your name on your flag…

    Comment by Clunking Fist — February 24, 2016 @ 9:29 pm

  52. We’ve been moving slowly and incrementally towards a republic and it’s possible that will continue rather than having a one dramatic moment conversion.

    It may be easier politically and it would reflect (in my view) that the ground beneath the debate has shifted making it not such a critical issue in terms of our identity or need for independence.

    Comment by NeilM — February 25, 2016 @ 8:05 am

  53. As a nation our humour is understatement but our debates are bitter rancour.

    Maybe our flag should be black and white stripes. Then we can all argue black is white and white is black and all be right.

    Comment by NeilM — February 25, 2016 @ 8:57 am

  54. I’ve vote for the new flag simply because I like it more than the old one. The Union Jack gone? Good enough right there. Then when we become a republic we can look at it again and maybe get a better one.

    Comment by truthseekernz — February 25, 2016 @ 9:02 am

  55. Danyl I often disagree with a great deal of what you write but enjoy your writing and point of view.This is the first time I am really disappointed in what you have written.One day you will either look in the mirror or tell your kids-“yes we had a chance to change the flag back in 2016 but i didn’t support it because it was more important for me to have a dig at the Prime Minister ”
    .I have mates who think that way and are keen to change the flag .I just struggle with their inability to look at the big picture and not get hung up on petty politics.Its a bit like saying -I was going to vote for Labour but Andrew Little drives a Ford so I won’t .

    Comment by Mark Unsworth — February 25, 2016 @ 9:17 pm

  56. Mark, what part of Danyl’s assertion that: – “I don’t really like the Lockwood, and if we vote for it we’re stuck with it for many generations” – did you have trouble understanding ?

    The Lockwood design is a turkey, plain and simple.

    Comment by swordfish — February 26, 2016 @ 9:55 am

  57. Swordfish, what part of “I like it more than our current flag.” and “Voters like me do get to judge him and punish him” did you have trouble understanding?

    Comment by Bill Forster — February 26, 2016 @ 11:30 am

  58. Well, obviously I ignored those because they didn’t gel with the line of argument I’d decided to adopt. Stop trying to blind me with inconvenient truths.

    Comment by swordfish — February 26, 2016 @ 1:51 pm

  59. 🙂 If you’re going to reveal the underlying truth behind all arguments of this type we might all realise the essential futility of arguing with strangers on the internet Then we might stop and find something productive to do instead. Then where would we be? Please, for the love of god, think again.

    Comment by Bill Forster — February 26, 2016 @ 3:39 pm

  60. One day you will either look in the mirror or tell your kids-“yes we had a chance to change the flag back in 2016 but i didn’t support it because it was more important for me to have a dig at the Prime Minister

    Maybe? I think, mostly, this will be like the smacking debate – something that generates huge amounts of heat and light and then is largely forgotten about, and I won’t think about it in the mirror or discuss it with my daughter at all. I guess we’ll see.

    Comment by danylmc — February 26, 2016 @ 7:28 pm

  61. I’ve gone all over the place personally about this flag-change business. Initially, I was totally against change. Now I’m ‘less’ against change. The new designs, to my eye, are a bit undignified flashy and lacking in taste. However, one of the things I would like to see, on the anniversary of the end of World War 1, in 2018, is New Zealand/Aotearoa NOT saluting the same Imperialistic flag that so many willingly (and in my opinion unnecessarily) died for.
    I personally think that changing our flag would be a great way to show how far we’ve come as a nation since then. Personally, I’d keep the existing flag, deep blue with southern cross, perhaps a light red outline on teh stars, and just replace the union flag in the corner with a black and white silver fern.

    Comment by leeharmanclark — February 28, 2016 @ 8:15 am

  62. John Key finally comes out and says it … changing the flag really *is* the conservative, no-change option:

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/297694/last-chance-to-change-flag-before-republic-pm

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — February 29, 2016 @ 8:37 am


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