RSA reponse to criticism of their flag campaign

The RSA are confident they have ” the NZ public behind us” in their campaign to retain the current New Zealand flag – but not confident enough to risk the people actually deciding via a sound democratic process. After posting RSA opposes flag change, opposes democratic process I tweeted:

Sad to see @RSA_National actively campaigning against democratic process.

The RSA responded:

We’re all for democratic discussion. We think Govt should hold 1 referendum to ask NZ if they want a change.

They want one referendum because they think that will get them the result they want. Fair enough. But why do they not want to explore possible alternatives to the flag and give people a choice between the best of the rest and the current flag? Presumably because they don’t want change. They want to minimise choice to improve the chances of retaining what they want. I also tweeted:

And unless it can be substantiated claiming just “one or two” in the @RSA_National support flag change insults members.

@RSA_National responded:

Sorry – not our intent. But we are confident we have the support of our membership and the NZ public behind us.

Being ‘confident’ is not any sort of measure. They haven’t offered any substantiation. I replied:

I don’t know how you can claim the support of the public. By what measure?

They haven’t responded. But someone else did. @SarahRoseNZ:

Poll ’14 72%!= No @Yahoo 10,000 voted last month 77% = No! Any ?’s Pete #NZFlag

When I asked how current the Colmar Brunton poll was she said:

Jan last year= no. Don’t shoot messenger. MOST NZ’rs say NO FLAG CHANGE! #NZFlag

That’s over a year ago. I’m sure there will be more polls. And there should be a couple of referendums. I also asked if the Yahoo poll was scientific. No response to that. Some questions for those who don’t want a flag change and who claim that there is strong public support to retain the current flag.

  • What do you fear from exploring possible flag alternatives?
  • What do you fear from having a referendum to let people choose between the current flag and the best of the rest?

If you support the democratic process and you’re confident your choice has overwhelming public support you should be happy with the two referendum process. If you are right that will prove public support is on your side and it is likely to lock in the current flag for the foreseeable future. That would be a win-win for you.

What’s the problem?

Deciding whether to change the flag without knowing what the alternative is would be like deciding to get married without knowing who to.

Leave a comment


  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  15th April 2015

    Exactly. Well said Pete.

  2. Mike C

     /  15th April 2015

    I am sick of the RSA banging on about this subject. The way they are talking, you’d almost think that our fine Nation’s flag was property owned solely by the New Zealand Armed Forces.

  3. There an old saying ‘If it aint broke, why fix it ?’
    The approach the Govt. is taking is like a travelling salesman, bring in a selection of new items, without first asking if the people wants something new !

    Methinks ‘teflon John’ just wants something to be remembered for.. 😦

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  15th April 2015

      “The approach the Govt. is taking is like a travelling salesman, bring in a selection of new items, without first asking if the people wants something new !”

      Exactly, and for the excellent reason that people don’t know what they want if they haven’t seen it. That is why we are not still living in trees.

    • Goldie

       /  15th April 2015

      A referendum process to change the flag was a Labour Party policy (and they sought to bring a bill on the subject in 2010). Before that, it has been mooted by both Labour and National politicians (Jenny Shipley wanted a new flag) – there has been bipartisan support for a flag change for some time.

    • Mike C

       /  15th April 2015

      @Zedd. LOL. Based upon your above philosophy … just because my 2005 Phillips tv was still in perfect working order … we should not have been allowed to trade up to our much better Sony flat screen a year or so ago 🙂

      • @MC.. no not at all.. but surely you prefer to make the decision, about whether you want a new one, before the question is which one ?

        ‘philosophy or maybe analogy’.. LOL :/

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  15th April 2015

          It’s very simple Zedd. Some want to keep the flag, some want to change it and some want to see the options before they decide. The proposed system gives everyone a chance to decide. Yours doesn’t.

  4. Mike C

     /  15th April 2015

    @Zedd. When our family decided that it was time to look at getting a new up to date telly that would accommodate our requirements better, we looked at many different types online, and then narrowed it down to a short-list of about 3 or 4, and then we all decided, as a family, in a very diplomatic and democratic manner, after much discussion, which one out of those, was the best one to fulfil the majority of our family’s needs in the here and now.

    Here endeth this analogy. LOL.

    • @MC “When our family decided that it was time to look…”
      here endeth the lesson LOL :/

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  16th April 2015

        You’ve never tried to sell anything, have you Zedd, nor ever read an advertisement when you weren’t already looking for something to buy. In fact you don’t have any external sensors at all. All you ever need is prompted entirely internally. All of which kind of explains some of your opinions.

        • Stop ‘making sense’.. you’re spoiling the fun 😦

          btw; If it wasn’t for ‘people like me’ (& my different opinion) you ‘boring tories’, would have nothing to whine & complain about… “ho ho ho hum” 🙂

  5. I hoped that the flag debate would be about how we, as a country, want to be represented in the 21st century.
    Some people want to retain the Blue Ensign with a southern cross (tradition; adherence to Britain, etc).
    Others want a new flag (reflect that we are no longer a British dominion; the practical reality that we use national symbols that are not the Blue Ensign notably the silver fern on a black background; something that is a more obvious NZ “brand”; etc).
    And that is a good debate to have.

    Instead, some opponents of any change are seeking to derail what should be an important and honest debate about national identity into pointless bickering about the technicalities of how the referendum should be held. And some people hate John Key so much they want to hijack the debate to score political points.


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