Young on the flag process

Audrey Young gets things about right when she looks at the flag process in “5 big moments in the past year” in A big year in the life of John Key.

September 1: Flag referendum

Key has had little thanks for delivering on his promised flag referendum. The Flag Consideration Committee released the four finalists to much debate about two that had missed out: the silver fern on black and Red Peak. Given that Labour and the Greens’ policy is to support a review of the flag, Key could have expected indifference rather than hostility.

Hypocritical hostility from Labour in particular – initially led by Trevor Mallard but now also owned by Andrew Little – was a surprising and disappointing approach.

If he were to do it again – and you can be sure he won’t – he should have a smaller committee including some professional designers, and at least six months for them to whittle down a long list of 40 to four.

In retrospect the selection process could certainly be improved. They seem to have been operating under (term based) time constraints with the final four selection process taking place at the same time as the final flag legislation was being debated and passed in Parliament.

In terms of the two-step referendum, that should remain because, as officials advised, it was the process with the least inherent bias towards either the current flag or an alternative.

That’s something that Labour keeps arguing against, including in Little’s stoush with Key over the inclusion of the red peak design.

Re-litigating that would be far more substantial (and ridiculous) than belatedly adding another design.

I wish the selection process had been better, but that’s done now. We move on to the referendums where we can make our choices.

But I am scathingly bitter about how Labour have not only refused to back their own policy but deliberately tried to sabotage the process as part of some misguided anti-Key strategy. What they have done is unforgivable.

Leave a comment

1 Comment

  1. jamie

     /  22nd September 2015

    As I noted on the other flag thread, it is Cabinet that decides the final four options.

    Labour’s opinion was never relevant, Key and his Cabinet could have swapped any of the four at their leisure.


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