ODT on flag: “New Zealanders should choose wisely and well”

Today’s Otago Daily Times editorial is on what is the first chance ever New Zealanders have had a chance to choose our flag.

And for people of my vintage it is probably a chance in a lifetime.

Something old or something new?

And then there were two.

This is the first time in history all New Zealanders get their say on our national flag.

Whether it’s a vote about the process or the cost, a vote for or against change, a vote about history or the future, a vote about symbolism, or a vote purely about flag design, it is now encumbent on all New Zealanders to have their say.

The flag New Zealanders choose will fly for many years to come.

No government is likely to go near this process again for a long time – whatever the result.

Some of those who don’t want flag change now for whatever reason seem to fail to see that this opportunity to choose our flag is unlikely to happen again in the foreseeable future.

So will it be something old or something new?

New Zealanders should choose wisely and well; choose what best represents them individually and the country, both at home and abroad.

And, when so much in life seems out of our hands, we should perhaps remember to be grateful we even have a say.

Whether you want change or you want the current flag to remain the upcoming referendum is an important democratic choice.

It’s good that we the get to make that choice by majority vote.

The referendum should be taken seriously and the occasion should be savoured as a strength of New Zealand democracy, whatever the outcome.


Leave a comment


  1. Brown

     /  17th December 2015

    “Whether you want change or you want the current flag to remain the upcoming referendum is an important democratic choice.”

    In absolute terms this may be true but in reality we get to decide only what the political elites will allow us – the fluff that matters not. Issues where people have spoken pretty clearly against proposed changes through referenda just get ignored and in respect of same sex marriage the politicians were too scared to even allow a referendum. You tending to be liberal and thereby generally getting what you want as we rush to tow the progressive line doesn’t make for democracy.

    This flag charade, upon which nothing depends, has cost tens of millions despite it being clear there was no real urge for a change yet the TPPA, where much stands to be won or lost, is done in secret. Of course govts have to run stuff but pretending we get a say about important issues is just ignorant.

  2. Zedd

     /  17th December 2015

    I’ve said it before.. I’ll say it again; less than 50% voted in the first referendum. What does that say ? The MAJORITY either do not want a change OR just don’t bloody care !

    Get over it ‘Team Key’ & Co. Its not a priority for most kiwis.. even if you guys are yelling it from the roof tops 😦

    • kittycatkin

       /  17th December 2015

      Change the record, the needle’s stuck on that one.

    • Robby

       /  17th December 2015

      Don’t forget the spoiled ballots Zedd, which brings the DILLIGAF total to over 60%. That’s a clear majority IMHO

  3. MarcW

     /  17th December 2015

    If you have children (or teenagers under 18), it is important that you discuss the flag choice you make with them before coming to your final decision. It is their generation that will live with our choice. Please, let everyone think and vote rationally, because it is an important nation image we are making for our future. And to the losers who want to corrupt the voting process – please, get a life.

  4. Patzcuaro

     /  17th December 2015

    The money spent on this referendum is just a cost of living in a democracy, the cost of being an independent nation.

    I’m sure we could find a lot of government expenditure that might be regarded as non essential.

    I thought that the editorial was a very good summation of the options facing us.

  5. The flag referendum is a farce. A sham. A smoke screen. To claim that it is NZ democracy in action is probably quite accurate. Since NZ isn’t a democracy at all. How about some accuracy? How about not just throwing words around? Is it so easy writing to the converted?
    NZ is an Oligarchy. Our relative freedoms are concessions tolerated as long as NZ Inc. can afford them.
    Theatrical stagings like this are funnily enough just flag waving – to see who is suckered in enough to wave back. Testing the water.
    Behind closed doors Key and ilk are laughing till they can’t breath.
    I’ll live out my days in this sleepy backwater and I doubt politics here will amount to much more than this. Comfortably numb NZ.

  6. kittycatkin

     /  17th December 2015

    ‘Something old or something new’….what about ‘something borrowed, something blue’ ?

    • @ KCK – indeed! Something “Black’n’Blue”? I hate to say this again, but, you know, “freedom of speech” eh?

      @ MarcW and Patzcuaro – I’m very glad I don’t have teenagers to consider.

      Sound of needle touching down on vinyl … background noise …. song begins ….

      An image of what?

      Our multi-cultural society? Our nation’s bi-cultural foundation. Our diversity? Our independent place in the world? (We’re independent, really!?) Our constitution?
      What we’ve agreed we stand for? How many people read through the little epithet page we were given to say, “what we stand for”? How was it treated, analysed, considered?

      At levels both pragmatic and of deep deep significance, it would be difficult for the process to be more corrupted than it already is.

      That song comes to mind, Gilbert O’Sullivan, “Nothing old, nothing new, nothing ventured, nothing gained, nothing stillborn or lost …. nothing I couldn’t say, nothing why (cross?) today, nothing rhymed” Nothing rhymes about all this, I reckon.

      Like choosing the (rigged) preferred alternative option, it is my honest, considered opinion we are now faced with a choice between “the inadequate devil we know or a new inadequate devil”?

      Meet the new boss … da dum dum de dum … same as the old boss!
      Wish I could say, “We don’t get fooled again!” but damn, we have been.

      An image of nothing very meaningful at all.

      • kittycatkin

         /  17th December 2015

        Do you pick up your guitar and play-just like yesterday-get down on your knees and pray-we don’t get fooled again ?

        • Yeah yeah!!! And I play –

          “We’ve seen the last, of Good King Richard,
          Ring out the past, his name lives on and on,
          Roll out your bones, and raise up your pitchers,
          Raise up your glass, for Good King John”

          – Steely Dan ‘What were once Vices are now Habits’

          • Might have been ‘Can’t Buy a Thrill’?

            • kittycatkin

               /  17th December 2015

              Well, I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution, take a bow to the new revolution.

              That’s after I’ve been fighting in the street, with (my) children at (my) feet,

            • Indeed, in deed.

              “Where are all the mercenaries,
              paid for by the King?
              Have they joined the mob you say,
              doesn’t money mean anything?”

              – ‘Flowers of the Night’ – Baron Von Tollbooth and the Chrome Nun. Grace Slick, Paul Kantner & co, in between Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship.

              This is a very enjoyable way to communicate KCK
              Lyrical, one might say?

  7. kiwi guy

     /  17th December 2015

    “Some of those who don’t want flag change now for whatever reason seem to fail to see that this opportunity to choose our flag is unlikely to happen again in the foreseeable future.”

    I don’t see any opportunity in the sub par designs on offer.

    • Kevin

       /  17th December 2015

      Reminds me of an old bit of consumer advice – if something is on sale for half price it doesn’t mean you should buy it, especially if you don’t really need the thing that’s on offer.


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