Final four flags – online polls

The first flaf referendum will be to choose from the final four alternative flag desigs, but online polls run since the final four were released yesterday also included the current flag.

The four alternative flag designs

NZ Herald:

Which flag design do you like?

  • Silver Fern (Black, White and Blue) by Kyle Lockwood 32%
  • The original flag 28%
  • Silver Fern (Red, White and Blue) by Kyle Lockwood 21%
  • Silver Fern (Black & White) by Alofi Kanter 6%
  • Koru by Andrew Fyfe 4%
  • None of the above 9%

15500–15550 votes

Stuff:

Which flag do you prefer?

  • Keep the current flag (5759 votes) 39%
  • Silver Fern (Black, White and Blue) – Kyle Lockwood (4085 votes) 27%
  • Silver Fern (Red, White and Blue) – Kyle Lockwood (3436 votes) 23%
  • Black and White Fern – Alofi Kanter (893 votes) 6%
  • Koru – Andrew Fyfe (705 votes) 5%

3 News:

Which alternative Z flag design do you prefer?

  • Existing NZ flag (4989 votes) 52%
  • Kyle Lockwood’s Silver fern black and blue (2305 votes) 24%
  • Kyle Lockwood’s Silver fern red and blue (1313 votes) 14%
  • Alofi Kanter’s Silver fern black and white (625 votes) 6%
  • Black Koru (428 votes) 4%

Online polls are indicative only as they are self selecting non-scientific polls but thse give an indication of current levels of support for the alternatives and for retaining thje current flag.

Opinion is obviously quite divided and variable at this stage.

John Key on arguments for and against flag change

All Blacks versus Wallabies

The Wallabies deserved to beat the All Blacks in Sydney last week, and deserved to winn the Rugby Championship.

The return match is in Auckland tonight.

Can the Wallabies back up their success and get their hands on the Bledisloe Cup?

Or can the All Blacks lift their game and retain their un beaten record at Eden Park that dates well back into last century.

The Wallabies have nothing much to lose, a one al series would be a good result for them, Two nil would be a major boost to their confisence..

If the All Blacks get well beaten again it wil raise big question marks about their World Cup chances.

This will be one of the more interesting rugby tests for quite a while.

Could you be proud of this?

While rows of forty flags looks a bit boring and conservative NZ Herald has done an interesting exercise with the flag designs favoured in a poll – they have put the flags into real situations.

Most of them don’t stand out at all – see them at Would you stand and wave this flag?

But what about the first one here?

(The graphic included all examples in one).

Most of those do nothing for me, but the top one featuring Mahe Drysdale – yep, I could feel proud of that. I don’t even mind the Southern Cross – it adds to the star quality.

Your NZ flag choices

I haven’t chosen my preferred alternative flag yet, but a number of commenters here have suggested what their favourites are. Here are the flags pointed out in comments in  Final forty flags.

Kerry Reed, Alan Wilkinson:

Silver Fern (Black,White & Blue) by Kyle Lockwood, tagged with: Black, Red, White, Fern, Southern Cross, Growth, History, Landscape, Māori culture, Multiculturalism, Nature, Unity.

Silver Fern (Black,White & Blue) by Kyle Lockwood

Alan Wilkinson:

White & Black Fern by Alofi Kanter .

White & Black Fern by Alofi Kanter

Mike C:

Silver Fern (Red,White & Blue) by Kyle Lockwood, tagged with: Blue, Red, White, Fern, Southern Cross, Growth, Independence, Kiwiana, Māori culture, Multiculturalism, History.

Silver Fern (Red,White & Blue)by Kyle Lockwood

Embrace (Red & Blue) by Denise Fung, tagged with: Blue, Red, White, Fern, Koru, Southern Cross, Multiculturalism.Embrace (Red & Blue) byDenise Fung

Koru and Stars by Alan Tran, tagged with: Blue, Red, White, Koru, Southern Cross, Peace, Strength.Koru and Stars by Alan Tran

Unity Fern (Red & Blue) by Paul Jackways, tagged with: Blue, Red, White, Fern.

Unity Fern (Red & Blue) by Paul Jackways

Jamie:

Modern Hundertwasser by Tomas Cottle, tagged with: Green, White, Koru, Growth, Māori culture.

Modern Hundertwasser by Tomas Cottle

Silver Fern (Black & White) by Kyle Lockwood, tagged with: Black, White, Fern, History, Nature.

Silver Fern (Black & White) byKyle Lockwood

I’d be happy with most of those. I think the fern is probably an essential element. While I agree that a single element flag would be best I’d go with a fern/Southern Cross combo as a compromise.

But I’m still pondering.

The full forty:

FlagsFinal40

Flag Referendums Bill passed

The New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill passed it’s third reading in Parliament yesterday. Radio NZ reports:

Parliament passes law to change flag

Legislation clearing the way for referenda on changing the nation’s flag has passed its third and final reading in Parliament.

The bill was passed by 63 votes to 59 with the support of National, United Future, ACT and the Maori Party.

The first part of the referendum is expected to be held later this year, when voters will pick their favourite of four proposed flag designs.

As we know the process to seek and select alternate flag designs is well under way, with the top forty designs now chosen.

I find it odd that the legislation enabling this has only just passed. There has already been considerable effort and expenditure.

It was interesting to watch the twelve speeches in Parliament on this Bill.

Government speakers promoted the process, but more notably Opposition speakers spoke against the flag change process but didn’t look convinced by their own arguments, especially Trevor Mallard, Grant Robertson and Russel Norman.

Bill English (National):

This Bill will give New Zealanders the opportunity for the first time ever to vote on the flag that represents them and their country.

Trevor Mallard (Labour):

I’m an old fashioned Parliamentarian and I think the role of the Prime Minister is to stand up in this Parliament and to state his views.I waited through the first reading of this legislation. I waited through the second reading of this legislation. I waited through the committee stages for John Key to get on his feet and to give his views.

He went on to complain about the lack of Key’s contribution to the debate – but kept calling it Key’s ‘vanity project’. There’s not only a contradiction on that, there’s also a huge contradiction in Mallard’s and Labour’s pro-change but anti this change stance.

And Andrew Little did not appear to speak on Labour’s contradictory stance.

Alfred Ngaro (National):

It’s disappointing to see that a member…to see that he’s come to a point where he knows and he’s agreed, in fact at select committee he agrees with the changing of the flag. He told us that. It’s in Hansard.

He said that changing the flag is the right thing to do, yet today in this house, to the open public of New Zealand he’s only opposing it out of spite.

Grant Robertson (Labour):

I’m one of the members of the Labour party who thinks that there is a place for a new flag for New Zealand.

But I’m equally a member of the New Zealand public who’s angry with John Key for turning a process…I, along with a lot of other New Zealanders am angry with John Key that a discussion about this, a discussion about out national identity, has become a vanity project for him, and there’s absolutely no doubt that that’s what’s happened.

Ironically as Mr Mallard says, the vanity doesn’t extend to coming to parliament to actually talk about the flag change.

They are trying to argue two opposites at the same time, Unconvincingly.

Labour are intent on trying to depict it as a John key vanity project – but Robertson did not look or sound angry. His argument sounded contrived and insincere.

Russel Norman:

This Bill is of course a classic form over substance Bill. So the form of course is actual pattern on the flag…so it’s really about some people saying they want to change the pattern.

But a flag, the reason why the pattern matters is that it actually refers to a deeper substance, and the deeper substance that it refers to is the constitutional arrangements of the country, ah that’s the thing that really matters.

Norman gave a subdued fairly passionless speech. He wanted to change much more than the flag – he wants to change the constitution along with it.

However the Greens have also campaigned against the flag change as not the right time to put any resources into changing anything while there are ‘more pressing matters’. To be consistent they would not want constitutional changes to be addressed until there are zero hungry children and zero damp houses in New Zealand. That’s never.

Marama Fox (Maori Party):

I think this is an important discussion, and it’s important because I absolutely agree with a lot of the objections about why we’re doing this, but actually I absolutely agree that I’d like to see a change in the flag, and I’d like to see a change in the flag because I’d like to see something that does symbolise our duality of nationhood.

Should we be spending this amount of money on doing it? I’d like to think not.

Should we have put a constitutional change first before we put a flag change in? Absolutely agree with that.

Constitutional change would be much more complex, would take much longer and would be much more expensive than the flag change process.

The Maori Party voted for the Bill.

Links to the all the speeches:

New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill – Third reading – Part 1 Bill English
New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill – Third reading – Part 2 Trevor Mallard
New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill – Third reading – Part 3 Alfred Ngaro
New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill – Third reading – Part 4 Grant Robertson
New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill – Third reading – Part 5 Jacqui Dean
New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill – Third reading – Part 6 Kennedy Graham
New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill – Third reading – Part 8 Jono Naylor
New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill – Third reading – Part 9 Russel Norman
New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill – Third reading – Part 10 Marama Fox
New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill – Third reading – Part 11 Chris Bishop
New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill – Third reading – Part 12 Jenny Salesa
New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill – Third reading – Part 13 Nanaia Mahuta
New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill – Third reading – Part 14 Joanne Hayes, Lindsay Tisch, Tim Macindoe

Labour support for flag choice – now or never?

Labour’s absurd stance on the flag change process may have seemed like a brilliant strategy to Andrew Little, Trevor Mallard and Matt McCarten at the time it was devised, but it risked ridicule (there’s already been some of that) and risks more as the referendum process rolls on regardless of Little’s lame opposition to something he and Labour have previously supported.

Vernon Small writes in Labour ‘nuanced’ opposition to the flag referendum lacks standards (is ‘nuanced’ a typo for ‘nonsensical’?):

When it comes to the flag, the time has come for a change and it is right for the issue to be put to the public.

We knew this was Labour’s position at the last election because it said: “We believe that the time has come for a change and it is right for the issue to be put to the public.”

(The rest of its policy was to “review the design of the New Zealand flag involving flag design experts and with full public consultation and involvement” but to back the RSA and others to fly the current flag if they so wished.)

Now, though, it thinks it has detected which way the wind is blowing and has adopted with gusto a new (ersatz) opposition to a new flag.

That reached peak absurdity this week when leader Andrew Little pledged not to even vote in the referendum to chose which flag would run-off against the current one.

Call it a principled position on an unprincipled u-turn if you like. Or maybe, a stand on a standard without standards.

Either way, rest assured. If there is going to be a new flag there’s no way Little – even as a potential future prime minister – wants even a citizen’s say in how it looks.

So Labour is now both in full oppositional mode on the issue, while insisting it is still in favour of a new flag. (The technical term for this is a “nuanced” stance.)

As I posited – that could also read ‘nonsensical’.

The Government’s plan, backed by officials’ advice, is the better option.

More recently Labour has also pointed to growing opposition to a change, backed by public polling.

And throughout it has played on the notion a change now (lest we forget, Labour and Little still support a change) is simply Prime Minister John Key’s “vanity project” – an attempt to create a legacy – or, worse, a distraction.

But there’s more. Now is no longer the right time for a change.

Instead, a delay of five years would be about right. (Perhaps it thinks there’s a good chance Labour will be in power then and can create a “legacy” of its own?).

Has Little actually said “a delay of five years would be about right”?

It may be good politics – though even that is questionable.

Highly questionable now, and it’s likely to be more questionable as the referendums roll on.

But it all looks pretty weird coming from a party that for years has seemed more enthusiastic about a new flag than the Government.

It’s a safe wager that a poll of MPs three years ago would have seen overwhelming backing from Labour and a more lukewarm response from National.

And it also involves something of a political gamble.

Sure, the public mood against a change could become overwhelming and the final run-off between the four options could become a fizzer.

But it is equally likely that, as the options get whittled down, the public mood identifies a front-runner and there is an intense public debate over whether a change should be made.

I think that as the choices are whittled down and as the referendums become reality then public debate and interest will rise.

Especially when the second referendum allows us to choose between the current flag and the best of the new suggestions.

As Small says, that risks leaving Little and Labour”

…left to squeak impotently from the sidelines “too soon”.

And if Little manages to sabotage the flag change process (very unlikely) and remains leader of Labour and Labour manage to get into Government it is very difficult to see any attempts by Little to initiate a flag change in five years time will have any credibility.

Whatever the outcome of the flag referendums realistically this is the only opportunity I will get to participate in choice of flag for New Zealand.

Little should be clear about whether he supports flag choice – now or never?

England win the test and the Ashes

England has demolished Australia by an innings and 78 runs in the fourth test to sew up the Ashes series, leading 3-1 with a test to play.

Michael Clark has announced that he will retire after the series. He’ll be hoping for a far better finale to his career, but going out with an Ashes loss must be tough.

Yesterday Ricky Ponting said that this series could be the last time up to eight of the squad of seventeen play for Australia. That means big changes for them – and the Black Caps are due to play them in Australia later this year.

But Australia have shown they can bounce back from downers quickly.

In the meantime all plaudits are due to England, who themselves have recovered very well from a tricky patch.

England have now one four home Ashes series in a row.

All Black loss

The All Blacks lost to the Wallabies last night in Sydney. An All Black loss is bigs news these days as it doesn’t happen often.

This means Australia win the Rugby Championship and the Bledisloe Cup goes on the line next week in Auckland.

In a close game the Wallabies played very well, they finished the game better, and they deserved their win.

The All Blacks played well at times but made far too many errors, their defence was poor at times letting through what looked like soft tries and they didn’t deserve to win.

The referee was Wayne Barnes. One aspect of his performance could be a concern – at times his rulings on giving tackled players time to play the ball (or not giving them time before opposing players attacked the ball) seemed to favour the very proficient Wallaby loose forwards.

Playing to the ref is an important part of the game.

This is an important less for the All Blacks leading in to the World Cup.

The win is good for Australia, but in the bigger scheme of things it should also benefit the All Blacks – if they learn from their mistakes and learn, if they learn the strengths displayed by Australia, and if they learn that whoever a referee is and however rulings may go in their favour or against them that’s part of the game they have to deal with.

It’s disappointing to lose, and an aversion to losing is something that makes the Al Blacks formidable.

But I think this was a good test to lose when looking forward to the World Cup.

Making amends in next weeks test is important though. Two losses to the Wallabies in a row would be concerning.

The Dirge

I agree with Andrew Little about our second National Anthem, except that it’s worse than a dirge, it’s a dirge with embarrassing lyrics.

The Maori version sounds better, if we must keep The Dirge we should stop after the first (Maori) verse.

It’s good to see Andrew Little stand up for something better. Will he pledge to engage the people of New Zealand in choosing a new anthem if he becomes Prime Minister? If he was seriously anti The Dirge then he would.

And another view or two:

Winston Peters: “I’ve never heard anyone singing our anthem when they’re happy.”

Hmm. NZF opens conferences with national anthem every year.

Funny.

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