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.

Clark spraying Key

Yesterday the ODT had an editorial on Red Flag – Faith in process flagging.

Labour MP David Clark posted a link to this on Facebook:

ClarkFlagKey1

That’s typical of how Labour seems to see the flag issue, but they have been major contributors to the farce. They have  tried to portray the process as all about Key (‘vanity project’ etc) and have appeared to be deliberately divisive to try and sabotage the process.

But the Facebook thread takes a darker turn.

ClarkFlagKey2

That’s not an unusual sort of attack on Key on Facebook but is a bit nasty.

But for Clark to endorse it is I think not a good look for an MP.

Peters – late and cranky

Maybe he was suffering from jet lag. Winston Peters arrived late into the Red Peak debate, having just got back from the UK where he had travelled as ‘media liaison’ with the parliamentary rugby team. And he was cranky.

He got into the house during the third reading, and immediately tried to jump the speaking queue, citing his seniority.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I just want to follow the speaking order here, because you have had a couple of backbenchers from the National Party, and I thought in this game, after many, many decades, that a certain seniority—

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): No. Well, that is not right. [Interruption] The member will sit. [Interruption] Order! The National Party’s third call was given to the Greens. That was a swap, and the Green Party, which would have been speaking now in slot six, has had that slot taken by National. New Zealand First gets the next one, which is number seven, and that is the procedure we are following. It has been for the previous readings and is again for the third reading. I am calling Jono Naylor.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Can I just ask you a simple question, which I am sure will interest a lot of people in other Commonwealth parliaments and debating chambers as well. Usually the argument goes for and against, for and against.

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): No, no. [Interruption] The member will sit. Parties have the opportunity to trade their calls. In this case—[Interruption] Order when I am on my feet. In this case the Greens and National have changed their third spot, so the Green Party took the third call, which was a National call, and National is taking the Green call, which is call six. That is why I have given the call to a National member. New Zealand First on the schedule is call seven, and it will get call seven.

So he had to wait until call seven. Which he began by dissing the previous speaker, who has hardly been an MP for five minutes.

It is hard to imagine any justifiable reason for that member, Jono Naylor, getting to his feet.

Next he took a swipe at that terribly inexperienced John Key.

The Prime Minister has been utterly consistent, though—and I will be reasonable to him—in his inconsistency. He has been like the Skycity deal, like the South Canterbury Finance deal, like the Hollywood deal, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, and like the deal or the argument about not making New Zealanders serfs in their own country.

About separatist legislation based purely on race or about the State-asset sales referenda that we have had, he has been utterly consistent. He has done a backflip on the whole lot including this legislation. So why are none of us surprised? You see, he was on a hiding to nothing and we knew from day one that he could not be trusted to give the public a fair choice.

Soon after that he put down an interjector:

Brett Hudson: What about baubles and titles? Ministerial limos?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: No, no—do not come here like a young pup about the baubles of power. He is there because he got offered a list seat, not because he is good, not because he bright. He will be one of the first to go, and he will go on issues like this. We do not care about those whose experience is so little and who are so green in this Parliament.

Yes, Peters is a lot more experienced than Hudson (and just about everyone else). So he should know he got back into Parliament for the last two terms via his own party list – and I think he is on the panel that appoints him top of the list.  Four NZ First MPs became rookies in the 2014 election and an even less experienced MP has been added this year, all via the list that Peters helps compile.

Back to dissing:

Here is the PM, instead of saying “I want to leave the country in greater economic and social wealth and do great things in areas of reform,” no, he wants to have of all things at the end of his time a flag. And when he is asked what flag he says he does not know. He does not know. So he wants a legacy that he does not know about. How pathetic and shallow and egotistical is that.

What would Peters know about pathetic and ego?

So, like the cavalry over the hills, at the last moment comes in the most unlikely form—the most unusual salvation—from of all parties the Greens. This is pixie dust, Mr Hughes. It is naivety in the extreme.

Does naivety mean doing something that actually gets a positive result in Parliament? Peters might forget what it’s like to do that.

The rest of you are gutless.

Yeah, in the face of brave Winston.

Now the Greens are”—and I cannot possibly pronounce this word—“going to help National.” It goes on and on: “I can’t believe how you’ve done this. I voted for you at the last election. Now I’m going to vote New Zealand First next time.”

This move by the Greens is a potential threat to NZ First. If they show more willingness to work with National to advance their policies that’s a potential threat to Winston’s ‘kingmaker’ dream.

And so will the Labour Party members, who need to wake up on this issue. They cannot be trusted on our left for 5 minutes when you have got somebody who thinks that their political genius understanding of our country people measures up to a change like this.

After a closing rant and a National MP speech (that ignored Winston) Kennedy Graham of the Greens stood up.

Dr KENNEDY GRAHAM (Green): I just begin by acknowledging once more my colleague Jonathan Young for his contribution to this whole process, including chairing the cross-party working group. He did a very good job. Just to agree with the Rt Hon Winston Peters in his contribution, politics is all about leadership. That is true. I am a little less inclined to agree with his characterisation that the Greens are naïve or, for that matter, that Labour cannot be trusted. In our view, Labour can indeed be trusted.

Yes, Labour needs to be trusted by the Greens – and by NZ First – if they want to work together to form the next government.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I didn’t say that. No I didn’t. You’ve got it wrong.

Dr KENNEDY GRAHAM: I think, Mr Peters, you did. The transcript will clarify that one way or the other.

The transcript quotes Peters describing the Gareth Hughes and Green move to introduce the bill – “It is naivety in the extreme.”

The transcript quotes Peters: “And so will the Labour Party members, who need to wake up on this issue. They cannot be trusted on our left for 5 minutes…”

I think that clarifies things – Mr Graham is right and Mr Peters is wrong.

But Peters wasn’t finished. When it came time for the final vote on the bill:

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): The question is that the motion be agreed to. Those of that opinion will say Aye, to the contrary, No.

Clauses 1 and 2

Speech – JOANNE HAYES (National)

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First): I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): Is it a point of order?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: It is a point of order, that is why I put “point of order” in front of my request. I called for a personal vote at the beginning of my speech because, as I say—

Clauses 1 and 2

Speech – JOANNE HAYES (National)

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): No, no. This is the process. Let me explain the process. I told your whip this. The member will sit. [Interruption] The member will sit. [Interruption] The member will sit. The whip came and asked me the process. I told the whip what the process was, and the process is that if a party wishes to call for a personal vote, I put the vote, as I am doing now, and when I get to the stage of asking for those contrary to the vote, a party has the right to say they call for a personal vote. At that stage, the party calls for a personal vote and I will adjudicate on it at that stage. That is the process. I will start the vote again. The question is that the motion be agreed to. Those of that opinion will say Aye, to the contrary, No. The Ayes have it.

Tracey Martin: No. Noes have it.

An odd claim. Martin will have been aware that all the prior votes only had 12 Noes – the NZ First MPs are the only ones who voted against in the first and second readings.

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): Noes? All right—a personal vote has been called for by the New Zealand First Party. This bill has not been subject to personal votes during the course of the first or second reading or the Committee stages. I see no need to have a personal vote on this matter. The votes have been quite conclusive over the period of this urgency debate and, on that basis—and I refer the party to the Standing Order 144. That is the Standing Order that is the relevant one in this case. I am not prepared to accept a personal vote.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First): I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I am well aware of the Standing Orders and past procedures, but there has rarely been, in my experience in debate on this matter, when so many members have openly and on the Hansard record stated their personal—hang on, can I just finish it off?

He should be as aware of Standing Orders and past procedures as any MP – and as familiar with futile grandstanding.

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): No, no—I have already ruled. The member will sit. [Interruption] The member will sit. [Interruption] The member will sit. It is the Speaker who decides whether there will be a personal vote, and let me read it out. I quoted the number, Standing Order 144: “A personal vote may be held following a party vote”—and that is the process we are at now—“if the Speaker considers that the decision on the party vote is so close that a personal vote may make a material difference to the result.” As I mentioned earlier—and I have presided over much of this debate in the readings and the Committee stages—there has not been close votes. It has been very, very clear. On that basis, I am not prepared to accept a personal vote. That is the end of the matter, and I am now proceeding with the vote.

[PV on third reading—Ayes 109, Noes 12]

So that was Winston’s contribution to the red Peak debate. Late and cranky. It may have been jet lag but it wasn’t much different to usual behaviour for him. Cranky has been normal for a long time.

What seems to be newer is his attempts to pull rank in Parliament and his open disdain of what he sees as inexperienced MPs (except NZ First rookies).

How Peters will manage to negotiate with wet behind the ears party leaders like Andrew Little and James Shaw will be interesting, if it ever comes to that. He may not get the opportunity.

Greens might decide it’s easier to deal with National than be looked down on and marginalised by Peters – and by Labour, who have always treated Greens as second rate.

Peters’ third reading flag speech:

NZ First Nastyism

NZ First have opposed everything about the flag change consideration process. They oppose flag change so they oppose the flag referendums – despite this being contrary to their policy on democratic process.

In the Red Peak debate yesterday NZ First MP Denis O’Rourke took opposition to flag consideration to a new low – a very low low.

O’Rourke likened the Red Peak flag to Nazism. This is gross Nastyism.

First he showed various photos of German sentry boxes from World War 2:

ORourkePillbox

It’s a major stretch claiming that looks like Red Peak.

But it got worse. O’Rourke then showed a concocted symbol from multiple Red Peak flags arranged at various angles. He took this off Twitter where it had been circulated.

ORourkeNastyismThis is disgraceful from a Member of Parliament. O’Rourke is a disgrace displaying current New Zealand flags prominently alongside this sort of despicable contrived symbolism.

Draft transcript of O’Rourke’s speech:

So let us look at this peculiar alternative called the Red Peak. It is angular, gaudy, and in no way representative of New Zealand or our culture. It is suitable as a road danger sign, and it looks very much like a commercial logo. It is virtually the same as that of a commercial Canadian log-hauling company.

More worrying is the similarity with the design of Nazi sentry boxes during World War II . Look at this photograph: this is actually a photograph taken from the Atlantic Wall Open Air Museum in Oostende, Belgium, and in it, that is a Nazi sentry box.

Look at it. Look at the design on the side of it. Look at the fact that it begins with a red peak, with a white peak on top of that which is also identical to the Red Peak flag. Then there is a black peak on top of that, also identical to the Red Peak flag. Only that little bit of blue, in one corner, is missing.

There is an uncanny resemblance, and the sad fact is that the Nazi colours were red, white, and black, as the Red Peak flag is, and those are the colours that dominate the Red Peak flag. Those who doubt, have a look at this photograph, because there is that same sentry box in full colour.

The similarity is absolutely stunning—absolutely stunning. Let us look at that design that I have just shown you, and the Red Peak, side by side. Look at the similarity. Could it be much closer? It could not—it could not be much closer. That is how close the Red Peak design is to a Nazi sentry box design from World War II.

I would like Gareth Hughes to have a good look at it, but he does not want to because he does not want to know the truth.

But people will make mischief of it. This design was obtained tonight from the internet. It was not by New Zealand First—not encouraged by New Zealand First—but by somebody already going on to the internet to say that.

O’Rourke and by association NZ First has not just encouraged this, he has promoted and displayed the nonsense in Parliament.

With simple shapes like red peak it’s possible to juggle bits around and make up all sorts of unrelated images.

That is what people will do with that design because it is absolutely nothing to do with New Zealand’s culture or New Zealand’s people.

We will be ridiculed overseas in exactly this sort of way if New Zealand was to adopt that kind of awful monstrosity of a design for the New Zealand flag. Imagine what the Aussies will say, not to mention the Yanks. What about the British tabloids—they will have absolute field day if we were to adopt a flag like that. I would not blame them.

The national flag of New Zealand must engender respect for our country, not provide a means of ridicule.

Such a nasty Godwin attack on an alternative design while flying the current flag does the opposite of engender respect for O’Rourke and NZ First.

Denis O’Rourke and New Zealand First – this is shameful disgraceful nasty politics.

Full video of his speech:

Red Peak addition negotiated by Greens?

It’s being reported that Greens have negotiated with National to enable Red Peak to be added to the flag choices, and that Labour may back it leaving only NZ First opposing.

This would be the sort of Parliamentary mandate that would give reasonable justification to adding Read Peak.

Greens seem to have learnt from the David Seymour approach to getting cross party agreement but have outdone him on this if they are successful.

Andrea Vance reports at stuff: Red Peak may be included on ballot

The Red Peak flag may be put to the public vote – after the Green Party waved a white flag.

It’s understood an MP will ask Parliament to include the popular design as a fifth option on Wednesday afternoon.

But the MP won’t demand any other changes to November’s vote, it is understood.

This opens the door to the Government agreeing to the motion. It’s likely only NZ First will oppose, but the Government could agree to pick it up as their own bill.

The Greens have stepped in to resolve an impasse between Labour and National. They refused to comment. But another source confirmed talks have been held with other Opposition parties.

Good on the Greens if they succeed. Good on them anyway.

It’s a clever move for the Greens who were on the wrong side of public opinion over opening bars for early morning Rugby World Cup games.

Good politics. Has a more co-operative cross-party environment been established in Parliament? There’s been some good promising precedents, kicked off by ACT’s Seymour.

Gareth Hughes will seek leave introduce a bill adding #redpeak to the flag referendum at the start of Question Time.

But Patrick Gower warns:

Greens will introduce Bill on #RedPeak flag – I understand National won’t oppose. It’s down to NZ First, if it opposes Bill will be blocked

Will NZ First play ball while Peters is away? It’s the middle of the night in the UK. Could be a big call for the remaining NZ First MPs.

Adding news as it comes to hand.

NZ First deputy Ron Mark has confirmed that NZ First will deny leave to introduce the bill.

Ron Mark confirms NZ First will deny leave

Greens media release:

Greens to seek red peak option in flag referendum

The Green Party will today ask Parliament to allow it to introduce a Bill offering New Zealanders the choice of the popular Red Peak flag as a fifth option in the upcoming flag referendum.

Green Party MP Gareth Hughes will seek the leave of Parliament to introduce the New Zealand Flag Referendum Amendment Bill 2015 and put it at the top of the order paper. This requires the support of every MP in Parliament if it is to be successful.

“My Bill is about giving New Zealanders a choice following the groundswell of support for the Red Peak flag to be included as an option in the upcoming flag referendum,” said Mr Hughes.

“Regardless of whether MPs want to change the flag or not, the referendum is going to go ahead anyway so it may as well include an option that a large number of Kiwis want.

“While there are clearly problems with the way the referendum has been handled, we also don’t think politics should get in the way of what people really want, which is more of a choice.

“We know Kiwis care about their flag, and they want a real choice when it comes to picking a new one.

“This Bill provides a constructive solution that gives people the choice of a flag that’s managed to engage more people in the flag debate than any other part of the process.

“We won’t be supporting any changes other parties may put up to this Bill. We want to keep it simple and allow the opportunity for Red Peak to be included without re-litigating the whole referendum process.

“If the Bill is blocked today, we would call on the Government to adopt it as its own, to put politics aside and provide the choice that New Zealanders clearly want,” Mr Hughes said.

So if the Government takes the bill as it’s own it may still proceed.

In Red Peak Or Bust move the Greens have committed in advance NOT to support any amendment Labour puts up to change referendum questions.

Greens getting one over Labour on this. It’s deserved, Labour have played Red peak very poorly.

Spokeswoman for PM says they won’t block the bill – not yet saying if they will pick it up as Govt bill

It doesn’t sound promising from Grant Robertson:

@mizjwilliams but why is it reliant on what we say? Govt has majority/power to do what it wants.

I guess my question was more a plea that you don’t let Key away with a position that is clearly bogus

He sounds desperate not to allow National to gain anything from this move, which is a natural inclination towards petty still. But Robertson isn’t Labour leader.

Talked to a source about chances of Govt picking up the bill: “I have a good feeling.”

Not such a good feeling in the Labour camp. And at The Standard – Flagging a dead horse.

Labour is about to be out-manoeuvred on Red Peak. They don’t actually want it on the referendum despite what they’re saying publicly.

NZ First opposed the bill in Parliament this afternoon so we have to now wait and see if National will take on the bill.

Which National have done. It will be debated under normal urgency starting today but may not pass all stages today.

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.

Too late to swap Red Peak

Yesterday the ACT Party said that 21 September was the latest that Red Peak could be swapped with another of the final four flag designs. From their Free Press weekly newsletter:

Last Day for Red Peak
Free Press has campaigned for Red Peak to be included in the ballot.  With 69 per cent of New Zealanders opposed to change upon seeing the options, the Prime Minister’s project needs a circuit breaker.  The legislation says the final four flags must be identified 60 days before the referendum period begins, and it’s supposed to start on November 20.  The PM should sub one of the options that’s created zero enthusiasm off, and sub Red Peak on.

It wasn’t done yesterday so that option has now run out of time.

Stuff has more details in Red Peak stalemate continues as deadline looms over its inclusion in flag referendum.

The only way the design could be added as a fifth option is by a legislative change, but that would not be required if the Government decided it wanted to swap it out for one of the current finalists.

A spokesman from Deputy Prime Minister Bill English’s office said that appeared to be in line with the August 31 “order in council” establishing the referendum on the four finalists.

It’s understood that applied to any move to swap one of the four flags out for a different option. But it was still unclear whether or not there was time for new legislation to add a fifth design.

But it seems clear that neither John Key nor Andrew Little are going to reach an agreement to put through legislation that would allow Red Peak to be added.

Key has said he would consider it if Labour backed a law change to allow it, without using the opportunity to attempt to change the referendum process.

Labour leader Andrew Little has said his caucus would support Red Peak being included, either as a replacement or an extra option, as long as there was a yes/no vote in the first referendum.

On Monday, Key told media he did not buy Little’s later assertions that he would be willing to discuss the design “in good faith and without pre-conditions”.

Despite Little previously supporting flag change and despite flag change being Labour Party policy Little and Labour have opposed and tried to sabotage this flag change process, citing amongst other things that it is a Key ‘vanity project’.

Labour reacted quickly and poorly to Key’s offer to possibly consider legislation, demanding much more extensive change to the referendum process as well. In response Key said he would only consider adding Red Peak without any other changes, resulting in a stalemate.

“But if you take a step back … I actually think the process has been a good one. We’ve done it on a very cross-party basis, we’ve sought the very best advice we can, and it’s been an extremely thorough process.

“We’ve accepted that advice and it’s really not negotiable,” Key said.

If the Opposition introduced a proposed amendment to a new bill, Key said he was confident the Government would not lose a vote on it (the bill).

But he was still not prepared to run a new bill through the house.

This bill was opposed so did not proceed. It was noted that the flag bill was not included in the Members’ ballot later in the week.

“The question isn’t about winning it, the question is [that] we have had a process and that process is to accept what the flag committee recommended to Cabinet.”We’re quite comfortable with that process. If other political parties felt really strongly about change – i.e. adding another flag, or proposing to drop one of the other flags to stop the need for legislation, as I said last week, we were genuinely open to that.

“But it required them to actually play ball and be reasonable and supportive of the process. I think that’s where that’s falling down.”

So it looks like we have passed Red Peak. Even the twitterrati seems to have moved on to other things, #RedPeak appeared to fizzle out about a week ago.

Key versus Little – letters and crap

The flag debacle got worse today with John Key and Andrew Little squabbling over bottom lines or not, and letters and basically making arses of themselves over the Red Peak issue.

Key hasn’t managed this well but I’m particularly pissed off with Labour and Andrew Little who, despite having flag change as their party policy, have \ignored that and hypocritically played spoilers as much as the can throughout the process.

Scrapping the whole thing is a tempting feeling but that’s giving Labour a dirty victory.

Stuff reported: Andrew Little, John Key squabble over Red Peak flag meeting

NZ Herald: John Key and Andrew Little’s back and forth on Red Peak

This is crap. It’s supposed to be the people’s choice on whether we change our flag or not, a chance in a lifetime probably. But leaders of our major parties shit on the process to try and score cheap political points. Shame on them.

Little’s letter:

Key’s Letter:

Apparently Little has sent another letter. Whoopdy do. He should be showing he’s capable of actual leadership. If anything will put me off going back to voting for Labour it is this.

Salmond/Labour view on adding Red Peak

In his weekly media conference yesterday John Key intimated he might consider adding the red Peak flag to the final four designs, providing he gets cross party support (excluding anti-flag change NZ First).

He said it would require Labour to back adding red Peak and to also back the flag consideration process – while flag change has been Labour policy they have been opposing flag change under key.

Labour insider Rob Salmond was quick to reveal his (at least) views on this development on Twitter. It’s reasonable to presume he might have had some communication in Andrew Little’s office.

So every other party – excluding NZ First – need to commit to supporting Red Peak & flag process of law is to be changed.

Bullshit. Key’s got a majority. He can change the law to put in Red Peak all by himself. The buck stops with him.

When was 59 seats out of 121 a majority?

 You’ve got poodles.

Both of them have been pretty yappy and bitey this year 🙂

Clearly Salmond had no interest on compromising to allow Red Peak to be added. To him it was very political.

Waiting on an official Red Peak line from Labour. Andrew Little’s previously said he’s a fan and would vote if it were an option in 1st ref

National can engineer the law change without Labour. They’re the government and all. This is buck-passing, plain and simple.

BUT you guys might accuse him of wasting parliament’s time, is his point. I think.

Well our accusations have never stopped Key wasting Parliament’s time before…

No interest in cross party support.

So if Labour and Greens agree to a law change, Red Peak will be a 5th option in the 1st referendum.

What kind a majority are you looking for here? Nat + ACT + Dunne can do this all by yourselves. So clean up your own mess!

Labour have been active contributors to messing up the flag process so it’s not surprising to see an unwillingness to help tidy it up.

Labour blocks Red Peak inclusion.

Also, I understand Labour’s made a counter-offer – give voters the same options they had in MMP referendum, and is in.

Andrea Vance retweeted Brook Sabin

Right. Labour says no. Now, can we just move the f*** on?

Labour hasn’t said no. I understand Little made a counter-offer.

A counter offer that is effectively a refusal. Labour insisted on not just adding Red Peak but also changing the whole structure of the referendum process despite official recommendations for the existing process that were voted on and accepted by Parliament.

Y’all just missed a golden opportunity to not be dicks

No, they didn’t. They’re trying to give voters the option to say “stop wasting our money” if that’s their wish.

o, the PM just opened up a great big political trap and Labour fell into it. this is so pointless!

PM doesn’t need Labour to do it … which is what Labour shoulda said. instead of this stupidity.

That’s not going to happen tho, all you’ve done is piss off Red Peak people & given Key something else to slap you with.

Yesterday we heard “wasn’t going to happen.” Let’s see how strong Key’s resolve is to deny NZers choice.

Or how determined Labour are to deny New Zealanders choice. It appears that Salmond and Labour rushed their reaction without thinking things through.

But it’s not his resolve. He’s said ok. It’s Labour’s resolve to deny people the choice being tested now

DUDE. It’s you guys that are the road block now. You said NO right off the bat. He will laugh at you.

No. Labour wants NZers to also have a choice, like they had in ’92, to call it off at stage 1 if they want.

And then change the thing to add in red peak and slap you with that too. How many times do you wanna lose?

Labour die NOT say no. Labour said “Yes, if…”

our “Yes, if…” is everyone else’s “No, but…”.

Labour is effectively saying no, and Salmond knows that.

In contrast James Shaw said he liked the idea of adding Red Peak but would need to consult with the Green caucus.

So everyone is now just playing politics with the flag. For a referendum no one cared about, it’s now getting a lot of heat.

Labour isn’t playing politics. It’s just trying to get voters the choice to call the whole thing off if they want.

That appears to be Labour’s aim, to call the whole thing off. While they have supported flag change in their policy they don’t want it happening under Key’s watch.

There’s a lot of Red Peak supporters. Salmond (and Labour) seems to have misjudged how they will view Labours continued spoiling tactics.

Andrew Little has just spoken about this on TVNZ Breakfast and reiterated Labour’s stance, they will only agree to add Red Peak if the whole referendum structure is changed (which will reduce the chances of flag change).

If Labour successfully sabotage this flag consideration process there is no way we will get another chance to consider flag change at least while Little is leader. It will likely be decades before it will be offered as a choice again.

This has wider implications.

If our politicians and parties can’t work together on something as straight forward as considering flag change without making it a political shit fight (and John Key must take some responsibility for that too) then the chances of looking at flag change again in the foreseeable future looks bleak.

And the chances of doing things far more contentions and complex, like considering ditching the Monarchy or working on a Constitution, would be a waste of time.

Peak ‘Red Peak’ absurdity

Journalists thought they may have nudged John Key towards a Red Peak concession in Key’s Monday media conference. Key said he would consider allowing the Red Peak flag to be added to the current four choices providing there was cross party support. He excluded NZ First (who oppose anything to do with possible flag change) but insisted on Labour joining the flag process.

Tracey Watkins at Stuff – Red Peak given a sniff by PM John Key:

A petition in favour of the so-called Red Peak flag has gathered around 50,000 signatures but Key has previously rejected calls to include it among the flag options put to voters in a referendum in November.

But he appeared to soften that stance on Monday saying he would reconsider the position if Labour backed a law change allowing a fifth flag to go on the referendum ballot paper.

“If Labour want to publicly come out and support the process and the change…argue that it’s the appropriate thing to do [and] argue their policy then we might [allow that] but that hasn’t been what they’ve done so far.”

Green leader James Shaw said that sounded ok but would need to have a caucus discussion before committing.

Labour seemed to rush into a decision that seems quite unwise. Or part of Labour, they didn’t have time to consult widely.

Labour leader Andrew Little said on Monday the caucus would support Red Peak being included, either as a replacement or an extra option, as long as there was a yes/no vote in the first referendum.

But he said Key was just playing politics with the suggestion that Red Peak could be included, only if Labour played ball.

“The Prime Minister can change this now if he likes, he doesn’t need Labour. He’s just playing politics to distract from the utter shambles the flag referendum has become.”

So Little will only agree if the whole structure of the referendums as advised by officials and voted on by Parliament is changed to what Labour want.

Key could have handled today and the whole flag change quite a bit better.

Labour could hardly have handled it worse.