Flags, tea towels and plates

Rather than just state a flag preference some people go further, trying to discredit and ridicule the option the don’t favour.

References are often made to a tea towel flag or a plate flag. While most of this dissing is targeting the alternate Lockwood flag, because the current one has been around for over a century it is the flag featuring most on kitchen things.

This is the plate connection to the Lockwood designs:

This is like the red version of the Lockwood that narrowly missed selection. Lockwood designs have been around for years and it would have been easy to have pinched his design.

But the current flag also features on plates.



You can now get the Lockwood flag plated as well but there’s less choice:



The current flag features on many tea towel designs as well, but you can now get the Lockwood as well.



There’s likely to be a lot of other paraphernalia that features flags as well.  Even on underwear:

Save a Horse Ride a Kiwi Women's Boy Brief

Breakfast flag poll

Seven days until voting in the flag referendum.

Breakfast has been running an online poll since yesterday morning.



Self selecting online polls are non-scientific and should be looked on with a fair degree of scepticism as they are easily manipulated and easily affected by special interests.

But with the number of votes now over 30,000 it gets harder to manipulate significantly, unless you can organise a huge number of helpers. So this poll may be a reasonable albeit rough indicator of current preferences.

I think it’s surprising how close this is, based on past polls. Newshub/Reid Research polling from about a month ago had a different of 61 to 30.

The Breakfast poll was closer early last night with about 20,000 votes but has widened a little.

And 55 to 45 is still a big gap to close up if there is to be any flag change.

But it’s not over until the referendum is counted. There may be late swings (either way), and a lot may depend on voter turnout and who is most motivated to vote.

I still think it’s unlikely the flag will change – this year or probably in my lifetime – but it could get close and interesting.

If the first referendum was ‘Do you want to change the New Zealand flag?’ would the outcome have been any different?

It’s possible more people would have voted for change without knowing what the alternative would have been.

If that had happened it’s probably the fight over the alternative design would have been even more fraught and bitter as the end result would be the new flag, as change would have already been decided.

The only certainty is that there would have been wide and often strong disagreement on what the new design should be.

There will never be a Goldilocks flag that everyone thinks is just right.

And I think those who prefer to keep the current flag even though they want change, hoping that they will get to choose again soon, are fooling themselves.

If the flag doesn’t change this time then I think National are very unlikely to offer us the choice again.

Labour and Greens are unlikely to try flag change soon after strongly fighting against this process, as that would highlight their political hypocrisy.

And I think flag change needs some hefty weight of opinion from the centre right on it’s side to succeed. We have that this time, but Labour in particular has done it’s best to dirty the left wing vote for change.

I’ll still be voting for change, because i think the Lockwood design is good enough and far better than the present flag.

Because it’s something I strongly believe in I’ll be promoting flag change over the next few weeks.

If anyone wants to do a guest post on their preference or on any aspect of the flag referendum then I’ll be happy to put it up here too (as long as it’s reasonable).

The Lockwood flag in Paris recently:


If you post links to your favourite flag images (New Zealand and Lockwood) in comments I’ll collate into posts.

Colour to be changed on flag

It has been confirmed that the Lockwood flag flying on Auckland Harbour bridge has the wrong colour blue due to printing problems and , as I suspected, weight of fabric. The flag will be replaced as soon as possible.

NZ Herald: Confirmed: Wrong colour on potential new flag flying on Auckland Harbour Bridge

Officials have confirmed the potential new flag waving atop the Auckland Harbour Bridge is the wrong colour and will be replaced.

“The fabric weight and printing technique used to produce the alternative flag flying on the Auckland Harbour Bridge has resulted in a lighter blue than the silver fern flag eligible voters will consider in the final referendum,” a NZ flag consideration project spokeswoman said this evening.

“The NZ Transport Agency is currently producing one in a different fabric to resolve this. It is being produced as quickly as possible and will be installed next week.”

She said the panel and the agency were “committed to ensuring best colour representation, as well as meeting the exacting conditions for flying on the bridge to ensure traffic safety at all times.”

It will be good to have the correct blue hue flying.



How it should look:

CBB 1904 govt.nz 750x202 Ref Two

Flag ‘wrong colour’ complaint

The alternative (Lockwood) flag has been flying alongside the current flag on Auckland Harbour Bridge for a week or so. I’d noticed that colour of it was lighter than I thought it should be.

Someone has complained about this via the Herald – ‘Wrong colour’ on potential new flag flying on Auckland Harbour Bridge.

An Auckland resident is enraged a potential new flag flying alongside the current New Zealand one is the wrong shade of blue.

The flag is flying on the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

It is a lighter blue than the correct darker blue.

North Shore resident Rob Harpur said it was “totally unacceptable”.

“It’s not the flag they voted for in the referendum.

“If people are going to make a decision on the flag, they should be shown the correct one.”

He predicted the supplier of the flag got the shade wrong but the New Zealand Transport Agency should have “picked up on it”. He admitted the flag “bugged” him every time he looked at it.


(Photo from Herald, flipped)

If you compare the colour to what’s on the flags on the Your NZ header the Lockwood blue certainly looks lighter, and the black looks lighter too so it could be very light material.  And the current flag looks darker.

New Zealand flag consideration project communications manager Suzanne Stephenson said the alternative flag flying on the Auckland Harbour Bridge was made to the specifications developed with the designer, Kyle Lockwood.

Ms Stephenson said large flags, such as this one could give the illusion of “varying colours in different light levels”.

She said it was typical for flags to appear to be slightly different colours because of the range of fabrics and printing techniques used.

Not just on real flags. I have two monitors and the colours look slightly different on each.

At least someone has noticed the flag flying on the harbour bridge.


Both flags to fly on Harbour Bridge

Transport Minister Simon Bridges has approved the Flag Consideration Panel’s request to fly the Lockwood fern/Southern Cross flag alongside the current flag on the Auckland Harbour Bridge from Friday 22 January to March 24 when the referendum voting closes.

I think this is a good decision, we should get as much opportunity as possible to compare the two flags to be voted on.

The Lockwood flag will be replaced on Waitangi Day by the Tino Rangatiratanga flag as it has done in past years.

Some people have grizzled about the pair of flags flying but they don’t want change and apparently don’t want a fair contest.

CBB 1904 govt.nz 750x202 Ref Two

I hope they get flown together in many other locations.


Flag polls versus referendum

The second flag referendum will be held in March this year. Some people are guessing the outcome but there’s been no polls since the alternative flag option was chosen by last December’s referendum so it’s difficult to judge what the outcome could be.

And polls may not give us an accurate idea of what the end result will be.

In October UMR polled on the first referendum and varied from the actual vote.

UMR Poll Referendum Difference
Silver Fern (Black, White and Blue) 32.90% 40.15% 7.25%
Silver Fern (Red, White and Blue) 36.40% 41.64% 5.24%
Red Peak 18.10% 8.77% -9.33%
Silver Fern (Black and White) 6.60% 5.66% -0.94%
Koru 6.00% 3.78% -2.22%

There are significant differences. And the final result was wrong:

UMR Poll Referendum Difference
Silver Fern (Black, White and Blue) 48.20% 50.58% 2.38%
Silver Fern (Red, White and Blue) 51.80% 49.42% -2.38%

UMR also polled on comparing alternative designs to the current flag:

  • Current flag 64%/65%
  • Lockwood designs 35%/36%

Research New Zealand also polled in October:

Do you agree or disagree that New Zealand should adopt a new flag?

  • Agree 28%
  • Disagree 61%
  • Don’t know 11%

Taking out the don’t knows:

  • Agree 31.5%
  • Disagree 68.5%

Quite different ways of asking and different results. But on the alternative choices Research New Zealand were way off the mark and quite different to UMR.

  • Silver Fern (Black, White and Blue) 31%
  • Silver Fern (Red, White and Blue) 23%
  • Red Peak 22%
  • Koru 5%
  • Silver Fern (black and white) 1%
  • None of these 10%
  • Don’t know 9%

I think the only thing we can take out of the poll indications versus the referendum result is that at best they only give us a rough idea.

Now that there is just one alternative option to the current flag that will mean people think differently about their choices. It’s possible that preferences will consolidate to the current flag, or they could swing to the alternative fern version.

A lot could depend on how motivated to vote either camp is. There’s obviously some who strongly want no change, and there are some who strongly want a new flag.

The big question mark will be on those who don’t feel strongly about it, and whether they will bother to vote or not. Polls aren’t good at predicting whether people will vote.

My prediction is that the vote will close up but I have no idea by how much.

It will come down to momentum. If a swing to change gets traction then it could get quite close. Otherwise tradition and apathy could win easily.

CBB 1904 govt.nz 750x202 Ref Two



Blue black Lockwood confirmed

The final result of the first flag referendum has just been released, which confirms the blue black Lockwood fern/southertn cross flag as the winner.

Silver Fern (Black, White and Blue)

There weere not many more votes counted and the difference between the two Lockwood designs remained about the same.

Final count 4:

  • Option A: Silver Fern (Black, White and Blue) 670,790
  • Option E: Silver Fern (Red, White and Blue) 655,466

The turnout was 48.78% (1,546,734 votes) which I think is quite reasonable for a postal referendum without a lot riding on the result.

Total votes in the 2013 asset sale referendum were 1,367,340 and that had Greens, Labour and some unions working hard to get people to vote. There was more tensdency to discourage people to vote this time.

Results by Count Report

Turnout by Electorate Report

“Don’t be childish, let’s get in behind the new flag”

In a Sunday Start Times editorial Tony Wall says Don’t be childish, let’s get in behind the new flag

OPINION: It’s time to stop the bickering about flag designs. Instead, let our kids cast our votes on their future.

So fern and stars it is. OK, so the winning flag isn’t that great. In pure design terms, Kyle Lockwood’s two creations were the worst on the ballot. The best? Probably Red Peak.

But this was never about the best design – it was always going to be about who could tap into the national psyche and capture what best represents our proud nation. That’s a silver fern and southern cross, no doubt.

It's time to get behind the winning design.

For those wanting an alternative design there’s no doubt a silver fern and southern cross combination was by far the most popular.

Time will tell whether that is judged by the majority of voters to be preferred to the current flag.

Getting rid of the Union Jack is the most important thing, and we could argue until the cows come home about what should replace it. Now the people have spoken, change supporters need to get behind the winner.

Change supporters without overriding political agendas that is.

It would be tragedy if Red Peakers – very vocal on social media but in reality a tiny minority – had a fit of pique (ba boom!) and refused to vote in the second referendum in March. They should swallow their pride, accept their choice just wasn’t that popular, and vote fern and stars.

It would be good if the supported the democratic process. Red Peakers were given an extraordinary chance with a special change to legislation adding their design favourite to the first referendum choices.

It turned out that Red Peak failed to inspire anywhere near enough people. About ten times as many preferred a sliver fern/southern cross design.

Red Peak promoters and supporters obviously don’t have to like and vote for the winning Lockwood design (probably but not yet confirmed as being the Black/Blue version).

They may prefer the old flag to a Lockwood. Fair enough.

But I hope they can at least support the democratic process and not play childish interference.

I’m not looking forward to the next three months as the opposing sides do battle; the RSA no doubt wheeling out the tired old argument about fighting under our current flag; politicians turning the whole thing into a three-ring circus. (No doubt we’ll be hearing a lot more from Winston Peters in the next wee while).

And can we move on from the waste of $26 million argument?

That might be too much to ask of left wingers including the Labour Party who want a flag change but don’t want a change while John Key is Prime Minister. That’s petty and sad.

But there’s some journalists who have been prominent in the Red Peak campaign. And there’s journalists who have trivialised and criticised the flag change process.

Can the media please stop being childish. Can they now promote and support a fair vote in the second referendum?

Then we New Zealanders, all of us, not just those with the power of the pen and the keyboard and the microphone, can decide on whether our future flag changes or not.

Five choices then two choices

We have now got five choices for a possible alternate flag.

I’ve got mixed feelings about the addition of Red Peak. Overall I think it’s a positive change.

There’s a few negatives, a major one being the precedent set of a journalist/social media campaign overriding the specified process. And it shits on people who might have wanted a different fifth flag but didn’t have the benefit of the media weight that got in behind Red Peak.

But if parliament overwhelmingly votes to add an option then it has legitimacy regardless of how it got into the frame.

And now it removes some of the many grizzles about the flag change process (although it added more, some opposers will never be happy).

The key thing is that Red Peak will only get chosen if it really does have (or gets) enough popular support and gets more votes than any of the other options.

However Red Peak hasn’t won me over. I’d vote for it over our current flag if that becomes the choice but I think that as far as a New Zealand Flag goes it’s bland and anonymous. It doesn’t look ‘New Zealand’ no matter how many ways you try and attach stories to a few coloured shapes.

I still think the silver fern is the most identifiable symbol of our country and should be on our flag. I’d hoped that a Wow! version had emerged from the process as an obvious choice and think we could move on from having the Southern Cross.

But we have the choices we have been given, all five of them.

My preference remains the Lockwood fern with black and blue segments – black is a widely recognised colour in association with New Zealand so I think that should at least be a component of our flag along with the fern.

The red/blue/fern is too similar to the old flag and isn’t a colour combination associated with new Zealand at all.

Of the six options we will have in two referendums the black/blue/silver fern is probably the only one I would buy and fly proudly – possible I would do similar with the black and white fern flag but it doesn’t look like that has a chance.