No extra flag choices – tough

Yesterday some journalists belatedly woke up to the fact that they had dicked around with the flag change process and suddenly realised that they didn’t like the final four flag choices.

Quite a bit of media and social media had not taken the flag change process seriously, or they thought that if they criticised and ridiculed enough it woukd all go away.

But many people did take it seriously and submitted proposals. The flag consideration panel took their responsibilities seriously and consulted and listened to feedback and polled and came up with a short list of four.

The knockers suddenly realised that the flag choice was happening without them.

Yesterday Toby Manhire wrote Let’s run up the red flag.

Until very recently, my response to the flag ballyhoo swithered between indifference and annoyance. Mostly annoyance. It might have something to do with the fact I fractured my fibula and no one offered to fly me to Fiji to smear leaves on it. But mainly it’s because the debate has been so annoying.

The current flag is definitely annoying. It is annoying that it is almost indistinguishable from Australia’s. It’s annoying and outdated that a Union Jack sits there, haughtily, taking up a whole quarter. Why not stick another flag in the corner of the British flag and then another in the corner of that, and so on and so on? That would be annoying but at least interesting.

But the case for change has been annoying, too. It’s been annoying to feel infantilised, herded into a nationwide social studies project. Actual grown-ups holding aloft “I stand for …” sheets of paper and smiling mawkishly, annoyingly.

The Prime Minister’s call for more “overt signs of patriotism” has been annoying.

Toby was annoyed so he didn’t taske part in the process. Until now.

In a heartfelt and constructive blog post, Wellington startup guy Rowan Simpson makes a cogent argument for the missing Red Peak (bit.ly/redpeak). He notes that it looks like a flag, not a logo, and illustrates the point by placing it, and the officially shortlisted options, alongside some other great flags. It is simple enough to be drawn by a child – one of the criteria emphasised by the panel – yet there is genuine substance; the historic, cultural, mythological and even topographic references are there if you want them.

And it just looks right. In one photograph at aotearoaflag.tumblr.com, Dustin shows it floating in the breeze at sunset. Spectacular.

On aotearoaflag.tumblr.com, Aaron Dustin shows the Red Peak flag floating in the breeze at sunset.

Red Peak has won me over. I love it. And I’m not alone – a Red Peak groundswell is building. Team Red Peak. Unfurl the fifth flag.

Red Peak should be added to the shortlist.

No it shouldn’t be added to the shortlist. I would have been happy if a flag like Red Peak was in the short list bit it wasn’t chosen.

If Red Peak was able to be added because a few journalists try to use the power of their keyboards and claim a groundswell of support there would be likely be a clamour of claims for groundswells for different flags.

But it would be ridiculous for the flag change process to be re-written because a few flag dissers suddenly realised that their dissing and dismissing had been ignored and the process had continued without them.

And it’s not as if Red Peak is a compelling choice. It would not be readily recognisable as a flag of New Zealand within New Zealand let alone around the world. It could mean anything and could represent anyone.

Those like Manhire who have suddenly realised that they had sidelined themselves in the flag change process will just have to accept that they have left their input too late.

Tough.

They can join in the process and choose one of these designs:

The four flag alternatives that will be considered in the first referendum.

Or they can keep sulking on the sidelines, waving alternate flags in futility.

Leave a comment

37 Comments

  1. rayinnz

     /  5th September 2015

    I have to agree, these clowns have filled my Twitter feed with this nonsense
    It is funny because even though it was a Labour policy, the fact that National was prepared to take a hit to change the flag meant to them “the time wasn’t right”
    Now they wake up and realise that if it isn’t changed this time like the referenda Australia had on a republic, it could be a long time before the “time is right”
    Hence the rush, it is this time or nothing

    Reply
  2. That’s more than a bit disingenuous. Red Peak was submitted and was in the final 40 designs. How the 40 were reduced to 4 was not subject to any kind of influence. It was done by the panel on their own terms.

    And people did, in fact, criticise that the panel did not have any designers.

    But I was one who supported the process and was hopeful that it will produce results.
    What the panel delivered is a joke. They disregarded their very own design guidelines in each and every flag they chose.

    Their final four hardly gives us any “choices”. It’s a complete farce, designed (pardon the pun) to ensure a Lockwood design will go up against our current flag.

    The cabinet had the chance to send it back and get some real choices. But of course all Key could see were ferns (because no one was going to go for that child’s drawing of a koru) so he gave it a thumps up.

    I wouldn’t be surprised at all if in the end we keep our current flag. A lot of people who were open to the idea of a change given a proper choice are now turned off (including myself).

    I would have voted for a lockwood design, if it would have won the referendum against some serious contenders.

    But the way the “choice” was been conducted is disgraceful and unfortunately has proven the critics right, who have been saying all along that this panel is a farce.

    Reply
    • Whichever final four choices the panel came up with I’m fairly sure there woukd be many people bityter about the flawed process because they don’t like the result.

      There’s other designs I’d have liked to have seen in the mix. But that’s irrelevant. We have the choices that have been delivered. We can choose one, we can spoil our ballot, or we can ignore the referendum.

      But to see the amount of dissing and dismissing going on with this whole process over just a bit of symbolic cloth I don’t think we should bother trying anything important like considering a constitution or a republic, as an online nation we lack the maturity to deal with it properly.

      Perhaps an appropriate flag should be a bunch of sledgehammers to show what a bunch of knockers we are.

      Reply
      • jamie

         /  5th September 2015

        The panel were charged with selecting four designs. They picked three ferns, two of them identical except a colour variation.

        I think there would be a lot less resentment about the process if the panel looked like they were taking it seriously.

        Reply
      • You are right, no matter what the choices, there would be criticism. Of course there would be people who do not like the designs,. I was never expecting that I would like the all the designs, nor do I think anyone else seriously was.

        My criticism is not just that I do not like the designs. I actually do not mind the Lockwoods.

        What I was expecting though was:

        – choice
        – four designs that all have a serious chance at being chosen
        – four designs showing different aspects of the submitted designs
        – a serious discussion of the alternatives
        – somewhat an adherence to the design principles in at least two of the flags (which the panel itself posted)

        None of that was delivered. What we got is Fern, Fern, Fern and a fern as a koru. The two b&w ones have no chance whatsoever. All of them violate their own design principles in more than one way. etc.etc.

        That is the basis of the criticism that is launched against the final four. Not that we don’t like the four designs, but that there isn’t really a serious choice.

        Reply
  3. artcroft

     /  5th September 2015

    It’s pretty clear the panel have decided that one of Kyle Lockwood’s designs should be the new flag by putting up two also runs. Disappointing as this was supposed to be a genuine consultation with the public.

    Reply
    • traveller

       /  5th September 2015

      The knockers and the moaners have only themselves to blame as they preferred petulance and negativity over the opportunity to be part of the process. Hell’s bells they always had the final current v new option !!! Instead of engaging the clever boys and girls of the media largely gave credence to the “anything the PM brings to the nation is a vanity project” voices. All they have left now is wise after the event design wailing. The process was and is as democratic as we could have ever had and I resent the fact that they’re potentially derailing the only opportunity in my lifetime to rid us of the spectre of a Union Jack and to begin growing up and transitioning to a republic.

      Reply
  4. Mike C

     /  5th September 2015

    I wonder how much Gareth Morgan paid Toby Manhire to write that article. LOL.

    Reply
  5. Penny

     /  5th September 2015

    god i’m so sick of this. and to think it’s going to still take months.

    Reply
  6. And, might I add to my little rant, if you are complaining about lack of public engagement, than the Red Flag movement (if you can call it that) is in fact a sign of very healthy involvement.

    It would be an amazing act of grass roots democratic involvement if it would in fact succeed to get that flag on the ballot.

    Even more so if it would win the referendum.

    Reply
    • Being too late to the party is not healthy involvement. It’s too little too late.

      Reply
      • How were people “too late”? How could they have made this point earlier? Other than saying there are no designers on the panel, maybe you should reconsider that

        Reply
        • How were people “too late”?

          Because they are promoting options after the final four have been chosen. That’s clearly too late.

          Manhire says he was annoyed aboutb everything about the process. So he chose not to give it serious thought or coverage until it was too late. He let his personal annoyance dictate his coverage or lack of coverage. Until it was too late to make a difference.

          Media have handled this poorly in general. If they had taken the process seriously and made serious contributions while the process was choosing flags then perhaps they woukld have served the public better. And perhaps some journalists would have ended up with a choice of flags that doesn’t annoy them as much.

          But in the end annoyed journalists don’t matter, we all get to make the final choice regardless of their too late suggestions.

          Reply
    • And if Red peak succeeded in being a late addition how many more should be added? Another 35?

      Reply
      • If any of the other designs manages to muster a similar enthusiastic response, why not? I f a left out design gets wat more support than one of the chosen ones, then that is a clear indication that the choice was not a good one.

        Reply
        • But where is the measure of support for flags that were left out? A newspaper column and a few journos Twitter don’t count for much in th whole scheme of things.

          Reply
          • Again you are being ingenious here. It’s far more than just a few journos. A lot of ordinary people are supporting it, facebook pages, signatures sites set up,etc.etc.

            Sure, that is no real absolute measure, but it surely beats any enthusiasm of the two b&w designs have created by a country mile.

            Reply
  7. Brown

     /  5th September 2015

    I think that you can look back in history and see that practical change generally comes about because its the right time for reasons other than the PM thinks it would be a good idea. This moaning from people that supported it (because they didn’t get what they liked) shows, to me, that the time isn’t right and that many people are self indulgent morons.

    Reply
    • Sponge

       /  5th September 2015

      Exactly. I would support a possible change 100% if it were a part of us becoming a republic. The whim of a Prime Minister is not a good reason for change of something as important as a nations flag.

      National is burning my support of it very quickly indeed. This issue, the apparently imminent backflip on refugees, the new H&S bullshit plus a plethora of other minor things are making me seriously reconsider where my vote will go in the next election. How I wish there was a plausible right wing party to vote for.

      Reply
      • “How I wish there was a plausible right wing party to vote for.”

        David Seymour seems to be doing well for ACT, but he does support an increase in refugee quota.

        It will depend on who ACT get to stand in 2017 but they look like being a feasible right wing option.

        Reply
        • Sponge

           /  5th September 2015

          Yes, they are the only option at present but unless they get a lot more momentum I fear they will end up being lapdogs again. In fairness Seymour has done better (and much more) than I had expected.

          It is a catch 22 for me. If I vote for them but they don’t get much support it is a wasted vote. If I don’t vote for them then there is no sane option but National who I think are turning into a Clarke like 3rd term Labour administration. Some of the silly shit (H&S for example) is just as bad as the shower head and lightbulb bollocks that Labour tried to thrust upon us.

          Reply
        • Mike C

           /  5th September 2015

          @George

          Based upon David Seymours performance thus far in this term, I wouldn’t be surprised if ACT managed to get 5% of the Party vote in the next election.

          Reply
          • I don’t agree with all ACT’s policies but frankly I am sick of Joyce and am growing very tired of Key… so it seems its either a non vote [which is not something I really want to do] or a vote for ACT. If ACT got up to 3 seats they might actually have some leverage to rein in the endless spending National are indulging in and also the hidden little tax increases like departure levies at airports

            Reply
  8. And finally, here is a really interesting ted talk on flags. It’s short and interesting, if you are into the topic.

    None of the choices are as bad as the city flags that are mentioned, but I think it shows that clearly there were better options in the final 40, that would have given us some choice.

    Reply
  9. Funny how something so irrelevant so much of the time for so many, is suddenly so important.

    Reply
  10. Alan Wilkinson

     /  5th September 2015

    Manhire is an idiot that I never waste my time reading. That he supports another idiot Morgan in a ridiculous switch and bait attack on the Government’s referendum process is no surprise. Yawn and a plague on both of them and their fellow travelers. Oh, and their flag is hideous. Only a cretan with no taste or a Lefty ideologue could support it.

    Reply
  11. Zedd

     /  5th September 2015

    I just watched.. ‘The Nation’ on TV3, the panel all said they could care less (I agree) BUT Jamie Whyte (ex-ACT leader) made the best comment.. “we look like we’re having an identity crisis”

    maybe they should just ask Key which flag he wants & then have one referendum… to see if the people agree OR prefer the current one. What a WASTE of time & money !!! 😦

    Reply
    • Penny

       /  5th September 2015

      what i can’t stand is that we are still facing this shit for another how many months? march next year isn’t it. seriously, if there is one good thiung for people that don’t want change is that it may cause everyone to turn off by then. but people whjo wanted change are probably going to be pissed off because everyone got bored to death

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  5th September 2015

        Oh get a life. If you are not interested piss off and do something else.

        Reply
  12. Your are more obsessed with “following the process”, no matter how flawed a result it produced than actually trying to achieve something sensible.

    You have not addressed any of the criticism of the outcome, but only keep repeating the mantra “this is the process, stick to the process” and try to paint the dissent as “a few disgruntled journos”

    The panel have fail to deliver on their brief. To provide four viable alternatives.

    The only choice these final four have provided us with is whether we’d want a black corner or red corner in the alternative design. And to answer that question we are going to have a referendum.

    It’s not that I don’t like the four designs. It’s not that red peak is not in the final four.
    It’s that the panel have fail to provide us with what they were tasked to do, four alternative designs.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  5th September 2015

      You have a sight problem. There are four alternatives and they are the ones the public prefer. The rest is a bag of red herrings dragged across the trail by a bizarre alliance of conservatives and opportunistic political opponents of the Government.

      Reply
      • 4 variations of the same theme are not the same as alternatives

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  5th September 2015

          Evidently like Alice in Wonderland’s Red Queen, words mean whatever you want them to mean. Therefore how about clarifying some meaning for us by showing us four you would approve as alternatives that the panel should have chosen?

          And consider that choosing less popular options to set against the most popular one makes the referendum result a simple fait accompli.

          Reply
    • Mike C

       /  5th September 2015

      @Eszett

      There are now four alternative designs to the current flag.

      You seem to have very intense personal emotional feelings about this flag changing process.

      The flag changing train has already left the station … so you need a reality check 🙂

      Reply

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