Flag change debate demonstrates partisan support shifts

The flag change debate and referendum became dominated by partisan shifts in support – one of the more significant being Labour’s shift from supporting flag change to opposing it, which appeared to be more an anti-John Key position shift.

Analysis shows that many voters shifted their preference for change based on their party support – the result was swayed by partisanship.

So it is imperative that future referendums, like the upcoming (some time) cannabis referendum, does not become a political shit fight. To avoid it being a partisan pissy contest the party leaders should make it clear it is a conscience type vote.

NZH: Follow the leader: What the flag debate revealed about our personal politics

When it comes to issues as seemingly apolitical as changing the flag, the party leaders we back can still change the way we sway.

That’s according to a study published this month by Kiwi researchers, who used the much-debated flag referendum to investigate how partisanship can shape our own attitudes and preferences.

“Our research shows that the positions taken by political leaders and political parties can have an important impact on peoples’ preferences, even on issues that are supposed to reflect personal preferences,” said study leader Nicole Satherley, of the University of Auckland.

The longitudinal New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study (NZAVS) happened to include questions measuring voters’ attitudes about changing the flag in 2013, before the referendum was introduced, and again in 2016, after it had been introduced.

Satherley and colleagues capitalised on these data, examining participants’ support for changing the flag (“yes,” “no,” or “unsure”) and the degree to which participants in the study also supported or opposed the National and Labour parties.

As the researchers hypothesised, the data showed that participants tended to shift their opinions to align with those of their preferred political party.

Overall, 30.5 per cent of National voters and 27.5 per cent of Labour voters moved away from the position they originally reported in 2013 to become closer to, or consistent with, the position endorsed by their party leader.

In other words, the researchers found that support for either National or Labour predicted whether individual voters remained stable in their views or changed over time.

Relative to remaining opposed to changing the existing flag design, strong National supporters were more than three times as likely to shift their opinion in favour of a flag change compared with those who expressed low support for National.

At the same time, staunch Labour supporters who originally backed the change were more likely to shift toward opposing the change, compared with participants who expressed low support for Labour.

And strong party supporters whose opinions were already in line with the party position were less likely to shift their attitudes over time compared with participants who expressed low levels of party support.

Can the party leaders promote a true non-partisan choice-of-the-people referendum on recreational use of cannabis when that eventually happens (it must be before or with the next general election in 2020)?

If we have a referendum on euthanasia can that be non-partisan?

The researchers said the findings raised some important questions for future research, such as what motivated party supporters to switch their votes, and whether they did so to align themselves with their party leaders, or just to combat the opposing party.

These are important tests, because when we get around to deciding things like constitutions and becoming a republic it will be critical that the debates and referendums are no hijacked by political parties for their own benefit.

Much will depend on how the party leaders deal with any referendum.

Leave a comment

50 Comments

  1. artcroft

     /  November 19, 2018

    Yes, well done to Labour for campaigning against their own policy. A bunch of tossers without intellect or principles.

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  November 19, 2018

      The type of hombres that would lead a man midway through putting on his long johns, Arty.
      A coalition of unprincipled scoundrels .

      Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  November 19, 2018

      Totally agree. Vile lot of spineless Lefty frauds.

      Reply
    • Gezza

       /  November 19, 2018

      It was an All Blacks Brand tablecloth. Too embarrassing for a National flag. That selection panel chose was it 3 or 4 other designs that looked almost exactly the bloody same. At least one of them should have been taken out the back and shot as a warning to the others.

      Reply
      • robertguyton

         /  November 19, 2018

        It was dire but exactly what you’d expect from NZ Inc. Are all the creative artists Lefties? Business can’t capture the heart of a nation and render it on a cloth.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  November 19, 2018

          Yes, but the other point is that it wouldn’t have mattered if it was a really great design, Labour and Little would have still opposed it on principle because that seems to be what Oppositions do in this in this country. Little made himself right bloody miseryguts whining about everything the government did as a matter of course. Now Simon Bridges is doing exactly the same thing.

          Reply
          • robertguyton

             /  November 19, 2018

            And yet, now that Little’s proposing and actioning an inspirational, healing act at Pike River, the keyboard knee-cappers have got their little hammers out and are tap-tap-tapping away, drooling as they go, seeking to undermine, pun intended, what could be a unifying action that all New Zealanders could heart-swell over.
            As has been pointed out on another thread today, tribalism is strong and overwhelmed the ability to think independently.

            Reply
            • robertguyton

               /  November 19, 2018

              Actually, this thread, see below.

            • Gezza

               /  November 19, 2018

              As has been pointed out on another thread today, tribalism is strong and overwhelmed the ability to think independently.

              Oh, look I agree entirely. I see that all the time with posters like you and PDB.

            • robertguyton

               /  November 19, 2018

              True, but I’m only pretending. Perhaps PDB is too.

          • robertguyton

             /  November 19, 2018

            I believe that a “really great design” would have carried the flag to success. There was support of sorts floating around at the time. Key stuffed any goodwill by his naked bias and promotion of his favourite. It was good to see him fail because of that.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  November 19, 2018

              I believe that a “really great design” would have carried the flag to success.

              Yes, it just possibly might have – but if it did it would have been in spite of campaigning against it by Little & Labour because that joker whined about anything and everything National did. You don’t have a telly. So you would have missed that. Everything the PM or a National Minister was featured on tv saying, there was an obligatory 2 second sound-byte from Andy with his serious frowning face (the one Simon wears nowadays) criticising for some obviously concocted reason. It was what slaughtered him in the polls.

            • robertguyton

               /  November 19, 2018

              Sounds like Bridges and co now, by all accounts. Sad state of affairs. “But National’s role is to oppose wheedle her flunkies. Sure. But not like that and we all know there’s doing what the country needs in holding any Government to account, and there’s the other way, the way that’s too often chosen and is in evidence now. Aye.

            • Gezza

               /  November 19, 2018

              😳

              Wot?

              Look – thanks for that, whatever it was; but I gotta go, my front lawn’s in dire need of a scarifying, and I have to have a biopsy at 1.20 pm and have to get on with doing the lawn and getting ready for that.

              I’ve used up 5 minutes of my alloted time for you, already but might be able to give you the other 5 minutes later this arvo. Ciao for now, robert.

            • robertguyton

               /  November 19, 2018

              Nah, it’s all good, Gazza – use that 5 mins for somebody else’s edification, what you’ve given me already today is more than any reasonable person could hope for and the benefit of that will enfold me like a warm hug for hours and hours. Good luck with the biopsy – they’re not usually celebrated as joyous pastimes.

  2. robertguyton

     /  November 19, 2018

    “As the researchers hypothesised, the data showed that participants tended to shift their opinions to align with those of their preferred political party.”
    QFT

    Reply
  3. robertguyton

     /  November 19, 2018

    Scuppering the Key’s flag proposal was a joyous thing and well deserved. When governors oppress, the oppressed will strike back – in this case, those who didn’t swallow Key’s schlick sent him a message and a timely slap-down. It took the puff out of him and signalled the end of his time in politics. From the moment his flag was binned, Key was gone. So, all in all, a good move and a good investment by the Left.

    Reply
    • Ray

       /  November 19, 2018

      And next time when Labour or some other ramshackle mob try to legitimately change the flag how do you think it will pan out, no design with suit all and Labour having thrown out any legitimacy on the subject just are not going to get any traction.

      Reply
      • robertguyton

         /  November 19, 2018

        Them’s the breaks, Ray. It’s foolish to behave that way, for sure, and as will be pointed out quickly here, almost everyone does it, political parties in particular; National and Labour being the worst offenders. There are plenty of examples at the moment where National are behaving this way, because they are stuck on the Opposition benches. Labour behaved similarly. The Greens, of course, are the exception to the rule and don’t play that game 🙂
        A flag change would be an exciting change and I’d welcome a genuine process toward achieving nation-wide support for a great new flag, bearing in mind there are many who don’t want to change what we have now.

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  November 19, 2018

          Fatuous. You’ll never get nationwide support. There’ll always be idiots trying to demonstrate how smart they are by opposing it. That chance to have a half-decent flag is gone in our lifetime. The trouble with design is that every idiot can have an opinion and does. That was why I never let committees design my screen layouts.

          Reply
          • robertguyton

             /  November 19, 2018

            “You’ll never get nation-wide support”
            Then it was foolish of Key to try.

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  November 19, 2018

              Absolutely. He foolishly thought Labour would support it’s own policy and not turn out to be a bunch of lying hypocrites. So he won’t make that mistake again and no doubt left politics to return to business very happy that he now only has to deal with honest people.

            • robertguyton

               /  November 19, 2018

              Alan! I was feeling a little low, it’s grey and raining here, but then read your comment about Key, business and honesty! Now, I’ve enjoyed a deep and satisfying belly-laugh and the world looks bright again! Thanks, Alan!

            • Gezza

               /  November 19, 2018

              👍

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  November 19, 2018

              Yes, Robert, business people know that trust is the most valuable component of any relationship and transaction and without it the costs are too high.

              People who haven’t run a business don’t understand that, especially if they have only worked for the government.

            • robertguyton

               /  November 19, 2018

              People like…Bill English? Had Key run a business? Just askin’

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  November 19, 2018

              Head of global foreign exchange at Meryl Lynch for six years probably qualifies, Robert.

            • PartisanZ

               /  November 19, 2018

              Come in Blazer …

              Qualifies for what!?

              The biggest ponzi scheme scam ever foisted on the population of the world …

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  November 19, 2018

          The Greens were equally as hypocritical and culpable as Labour when they opposed their own policy. And now you try to deny it. Pathetic.

          Reply
          • robertguyton

             /  November 19, 2018

            If The Greens are anything like, they’d have taken sly pleasure in seeing the vanity project collapse under the weight of it’s own hubris. They’re not, but if they were…:-)

            Reply
            • robertguyton

               /  November 19, 2018

              …anything like me

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  November 19, 2018

              They didn’t use to be but they are just like you now, Robert. And that is not an improvement.

  4. robertguyton

     /  November 19, 2018

    Qualifies for what? Preferential entry into Hades? A place for your portrait next to Richard Nixon’s in the Liars’ Hall of Fame?

    Reply
    • robertguyton

       /  November 19, 2018

      In any case, what of Bill, Sir William English?

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  November 19, 2018

        Relevance to the flag debate: nil.

        Reply
        • And who brought up the issue of business and the supposed honesty of those involved in it, Alan?
          Why, you, that’s who.

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  November 19, 2018

            Key was relevant, English isn’t. Do you know what trivial means, Robert?

            Reply
            • robertguyton

               /  November 19, 2018

              One of those two is trivial, Alan? Key? Was it? Amirite?

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  November 19, 2018

              No, you are always trivial, Robert, except when you are talking about your garden.

            • robertguyton

               /  November 19, 2018

              Can a person be trivial, Alan? Do you know what “trivial” means?

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  November 19, 2018

              You’ve proved it, Robert. Look it up.

    • Ray

       /  November 19, 2018

      And there I was thinking how far you have come on your journey recovering from JohnKey Syndrome.
      Breathe deeply, a quick run through of the Greens manifesto and a rousing hymn of “two legs good, four legs better” should see you right!

      Reply
      • robertguyton

         /  November 19, 2018

        Thanks for pulling me back from the brink, Ray; I was about to copy/paste BlIps list of Key lies when your comment appeared, saving me from myself and Alan from spontaneous combustion! You’re something of a hero, tonight, Ray!

        Reply
      • Gezza

         /  November 19, 2018

        Reply
  5. PartisanZ

     /  November 19, 2018

    This looks to me a bit like an example of correlation and indeed coincidence that does not necessarily imply causation …

    People changed their opinions throughout a lengthy and complicated public process, almost certainly impossible not to become politicized to some degree or other …

    Political parties and leaders took positions, some of which may have been contrary to their manifestos … as if this is a particularly new and unusual thing … GST got raised anyhow, didn’t it?

    So now, backtracking in hindsight, the people must have “shifted their positions” BECAUSE of their political party affiliations … They followed THEIR leaders … We are Sheeple?

    The other one’s got bells on!

    How many people on here are directly and irrevocably affiliated to one political party?

    No, I think what happened was the process was flawed from the start and people shifted their positions as public debate occurred, as political agendas were revealed and as more and more flaws emerged in the process … ‘Appointed Panels’ … 40,000 entries distilled down to 5 and two of them almost identical by the same artist … along with the realization by many that ‘changing the flag’ is not a thing any nation does lightly …

    It will eventually go hand-in-hand with a new Constitution and Republic or some other independent nation status …

    National thought it was a simple marketing exercise – easily influenced – like having a referendum to choose a new Steinlager label … They certainly treated us like Sheeple.

    To believe that ‘Cannabis’ or ‘End of Life Choice’ referendums will NOT become politicized is to renounce thought and forego experience … They already are … We have one brilliant Amendment Bill voted down and two Select Committees to prove it …

    Reply
    • PartisanZ

       /  November 19, 2018

      There’s warped and somewhat disturbing irony here too; that it was the Right – traditionally conservative – who wanted a NZ Inc light-and-breezy ‘rebranding’ without any gravitas. primarily, it seems, to shift New Zealand’s global marketing image … but which would also have more-or-less coincided with the adoption of TPPA and might have done considerable damage to Maori-Crown relations …

      It was a bit like the National Party saying to Te Maori Party, “We gave you Whanau Ora and a toothless ‘Appointed Panel’ on Constitutionality … now … TAKE THIS!!!

      I believe Maori opposition to Key’s antics was fairly unified, though I stand to be corrected on that …

      You don’t drop the Queen until you’ve got your relationship with the Crown sorted out.

      Reply
    • Fight4NZ

       /  November 19, 2018

      “National thought it was a simple marketing exercise – easily influenced – like having a referendum to choose a new Steinlager label “.
      And pushed relentlessly on the new Steinie designs too. That’s what stuffed it.
      The right wing cabal so strongly represented here want to make some sort of lefty plot of it predictably. But actually the majority, ie the no vote, were just too embarrassed to be represented by such a shit design, and weren’t blue blinnded enough to swallow it anyway.

      Reply
  1. Flag change debate demonstrates partisan support shifts — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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