Question for David Seymour and ACT

ACT MP David Seymour has successfully negotiated a few policy compromises, like the World Cup bar opening, and:

Successful talks bring fairer PPL to pre-term babies

Successful talks between ACT Leader David Seymour and Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse have yielded extended paid parental leave for parents of pre-term babies.

In another initiative Seymour is trying to get John Key to replace one of the final four flags with Red Peak. From ACT’s latest Free Press:

The Red Peak Flag
Even people who really want a flag change are underwhelmed by the final four choices.  The Red Peak Flag, however, has generated more positive enthusiasm over one weekend than the whole flag change process to date. The Flag Referendums Act says the people can only vote on four flag designs. But there’s nothing to stop John Key and the Cabinet from making Red Peak one of the four. They needn’t change the law.  Section 13 of the Flag Referendums Act says they could do it any time before September 21 with the stroke of a pen. Free Press suggests that putting Red Flag into the mix at the expense of one of the two nearly identical fern-and-Southern Cross designs might mean we get a bit more value out of the referendum’s $26 million cost.

A question for Seymour and ACT – which of the two “nearly identical fern-and-Southern Cross designs” does he suggest should be replaced with the Red Peak flag?

The two designs he refers to were by far the most popular of the long list forty (UMR poll). He wants to remove one of those and replace it with one of the least popular of the forty.

Adding Red Peak to the four because some people on Twitter and Facebook and Seymour would be questionable enough, there are thirty five other designs that get ignored if that is done. That’s hardly a sound democratic process.

But having one MP decide to pull one of the most popular designs so it can be replaced with one of thirty five others woukld be worse.

Giving him the benefit of doubt I just don’t think Seymour has thought this through very well.

Red Trough

Duncan Garner has pointed out how poorly the ‘Red Peak’ rated before a few journos and people in social media decided to promote it in The unpopular truth about Red Peak

When we put the 40 flag options in front of listeners on a RadioLIVE poll – Red Peak was listed at 37th. That is, it was fourth from the bottom. Very few Kiwis liked it.

And New Zealanders, in another poll, gave ‘Red Peak’ the flick too.

A UMR poll released last week listed Red Peak as follows;

1. Males listed it as their 3rd least preferred flag.
2. Females – 4th least preferred
3. 18-29 age group – 3rd least preferred.
4. 30-44 – 4th least preferred.
5. 45-59 – 2nd least preferred
6. 60+ -3rd least preferred
7. Maori – least preferred flag.
8. National/Labour voters – 4th least preferred
9. Greens voters – least preferred flag.

So, males and females didn’t like it, young people didn’t like it, middle aged people didn’t like it, older people didn’t like it, Maori and Green voters listed it as their bottom flag and National and Labour voters listed 36 other flags above it.

So if red peak replaces one of the four flags chosen by the flag panel iot would be very unfair on thirty other flag designs that haven’t had the benefit of some media and social media promotion.

Commercial reality of flags

The Red Peak flag campaign continues:

Laila Harré ‏@lailaharre
Question to flag panel: Could Kyle Lockwood voluntarily withdraw a flag design to make way for #RedPeak? #nzflag

Grant Robertson ‏@grantrobertson1
@lailaharre order in council specifying the four designs issued out so would be up to Cabinet to change.

And a couple of days ago:

Graeme Edgeler ‏@GraemeEdgeler

Options for getting #RedPeak in the vote: an urgent members bill; a pointless judicial review of the decision; complaint to regs review.

but the option with the best chance of success is: vote to keep the current flag, and give #RedPeak wide use over the next 15-20 years.

My advice to those who want Red Peak as the flag: start using it. Fly it. Take it to sports. Embroider it on backpacks. Make it the default.

Try offering people going to a sports event a choice of Red Peak and Kyle Lockwood’s fern and Southern Cross and see how you get on.

Many of those opposed to a sliver fern flag seem opposed to thje sports connection – but one of the most prominent uses of flags is at internatioal sports events.

Newstalk ZB reports on the commercial reality of flag options – Future flag hopefuls a retail bonanza

The public are getting behind their favourite flag finalists causing merchandise associated with the designs to sell out..

Chris Mullane, a spokesman for Lockwood, said the buying rush was unexpected.

“There has been a considerable number of requests, on a scale that hadn’t been anticipated, hence the items’ selling out.”

He said demand was highest for items depicting to the black, white and blue flag.

He said now that people have seen the final four designs, they are wanting to get behind their pick of the bunch, and the black, white and blue flag seems to be a firm favourite, according to sales.

Time will tell whether Red Peak becomes anything other than Red Pique from the too late brigade. Commercial reality is likely to override a few disaffected Twitterati.

John Pagani ‏@johnpagani
Omg the #redpeak pseuds are smug and insufferable. The #redpeak has been adopted as the symbol of the dissident urban chatterati.

Toby Manhire ‏@toby_etc
@johnpagani @juhasaarinen John! I thought you’d be more of a play the ball rather than a play the man type.

Claire Trevett ‏@CTrevettNZH
@toby_etc @johnpagani @juhasaarinen might have been more useful if you red peakers had played the ball earlier, rather than the man.

The actual flag choices:

No extra flag choices – tough

Yesterday some journalists belatedly woke up to the fact that they had dicked around with the flag change process and suddenly realised that they didn’t like the final four flag choices.

Quite a bit of media and social media had not taken the flag change process seriously, or they thought that if they criticised and ridiculed enough it woukd all go away.

But many people did take it seriously and submitted proposals. The flag consideration panel took their responsibilities seriously and consulted and listened to feedback and polled and came up with a short list of four.

The knockers suddenly realised that the flag choice was happening without them.

Yesterday Toby Manhire wrote Let’s run up the red flag.

Until very recently, my response to the flag ballyhoo swithered between indifference and annoyance. Mostly annoyance. It might have something to do with the fact I fractured my fibula and no one offered to fly me to Fiji to smear leaves on it. But mainly it’s because the debate has been so annoying.

The current flag is definitely annoying. It is annoying that it is almost indistinguishable from Australia’s. It’s annoying and outdated that a Union Jack sits there, haughtily, taking up a whole quarter. Why not stick another flag in the corner of the British flag and then another in the corner of that, and so on and so on? That would be annoying but at least interesting.

But the case for change has been annoying, too. It’s been annoying to feel infantilised, herded into a nationwide social studies project. Actual grown-ups holding aloft “I stand for …” sheets of paper and smiling mawkishly, annoyingly.

The Prime Minister’s call for more “overt signs of patriotism” has been annoying.

Toby was annoyed so he didn’t taske part in the process. Until now.

In a heartfelt and constructive blog post, Wellington startup guy Rowan Simpson makes a cogent argument for the missing Red Peak ( He notes that it looks like a flag, not a logo, and illustrates the point by placing it, and the officially shortlisted options, alongside some other great flags. It is simple enough to be drawn by a child – one of the criteria emphasised by the panel – yet there is genuine substance; the historic, cultural, mythological and even topographic references are there if you want them.

And it just looks right. In one photograph at, Dustin shows it floating in the breeze at sunset. Spectacular.

On, Aaron Dustin shows the Red Peak flag floating in the breeze at sunset.

Red Peak has won me over. I love it. And I’m not alone – a Red Peak groundswell is building. Team Red Peak. Unfurl the fifth flag.

Red Peak should be added to the shortlist.

No it shouldn’t be added to the shortlist. I would have been happy if a flag like Red Peak was in the short list bit it wasn’t chosen.

If Red Peak was able to be added because a few journalists try to use the power of their keyboards and claim a groundswell of support there would be likely be a clamour of claims for groundswells for different flags.

But it would be ridiculous for the flag change process to be re-written because a few flag dissers suddenly realised that their dissing and dismissing had been ignored and the process had continued without them.

And it’s not as if Red Peak is a compelling choice. It would not be readily recognisable as a flag of New Zealand within New Zealand let alone around the world. It could mean anything and could represent anyone.

Those like Manhire who have suddenly realised that they had sidelined themselves in the flag change process will just have to accept that they have left their input too late.


They can join in the process and choose one of these designs:

The four flag alternatives that will be considered in the first referendum.

Or they can keep sulking on the sidelines, waving alternate flags in futility.