Patrick Gower and Newshub seem to have concocted a flag crisis, claiming that the National Party is divided over it. It’s been obvious since the beginning and publicly known for months that National MPs have a variety of views on whether to change the flag or not.
Newshub ‘broke’ the news in dribs and drabs on Twitter.
Newshub Politics @NewshubPolitics
BREAKING – National MPs hold crisis meeting over flag change
Newshub Politics @NewshubPolitics
BREAKING – National Party leak about crisis meeting shows internal division over flag change
Newshub Politics @NewshubPolitics 3m3 minutes ago
BREAKING – National Party leak shows numbers of MPs in support of flag change – and it is not good for John Key. More soon at Newshub
Newshub Breaking @NewshubBreaking
#LEAKED: @maggiebarrynz’s emailed @NZNationalParty MPs urging them to join her for a meeting about a campaign to support changing the flag
.@patrickgowernz: Are @NZNationalParty MPs divided over @johnkeypm’s NZ flag change? http://bit.ly/249bIcI
That got a response:
Audrey Young @audreyNZH
@NewshubNZ @patrickgowernz Yes, they are. See Isaac Davison’s poll on it. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11581277 …
That links to a January Herald article that details flag preferences of a number of MPs, including various preferences by National MPs.
After about twenty minutes Newshub linked to a news item:
Newshub Politics @NewshubPolitics 24s24 seconds ago
National Party flag crisis meeting leak http://www.newshub.co.nz/politics/leaked-nationals-flag-change-crisis-meeting-2016021714 …
This was initially very brief and was gradually added to.
Leaked: National’s flag change crisis meeting
Leaked National Party emails show its MPs are divided over John Key’s flag change and that a crisis meeting of MPs has been held to give the campaign a boost.
Of course key, Barry and other National MPs have denied there is any crisis, and it’s hard to see how it could be seen as a crisis.
An email obtained by Newshub shows that only 32 out of 59 National MPs were invited to a meeting about changing the flag today — meaning about 54 percent of Mr Key’s Caucus is in support.
It seems that most MPs were initially emailed and this email was to those who expressed an interest. Wow.
The email follows a Caucus meeting yesterday where the flag was discussed.
The meeting was later moved to Ms Barry’s office at the last minute.
(A 9.00 pm email for a 7.30 am meeting is hardly last minute).
Is it of public interest that some National MPs are having meetings about the flag? Slightly perhaps?
Is it a crisis? It’s very hard to see that. Ok, as Gower said on the 6 pm Newshub news it’s a bit newsy to political wonks that someone within the National caucus seems to have leaked him a couple of emails but he’s overdoing things somewhat.
The National caucus doesn’t even make any decision over the flag, MPs have no more voting power in the referendum than any of the rest of us.
Sure Key has a bit or a problem getting his flag change over the line with any sort of credibility. It was at best going to be close, neither he nor the flag panel have done great jobs, and opponents chose to make it a political shit fight rather than a genuine contest over flag change.
How can the National caucus be divided when there was never any claim or requirement for them to be united on the flag anyway?
Without a major shift in sentiment I think we will be stuck with drab old rag for another few decades at least, giving an important decision to people to decide has been hobbled by self interested parties and trashed by political activists. So those interested in a genuine democratic flag retention/selection opportunity have been shat on by those with political interests.
My take on this is that more direct democracy and power for the people is doomed due to the lack of responsibility and maturity of politicians and social media warriors.
People don’t deserve more power if they choose to trash opportunities to decide like adults like this.
The Herald have followed up Gower’s story with I don’t know what all this nonsense is about’ – John Key shoots down claims flag referendum is dividing caucus