Listener on differantiation from Australia and flag change

The Listener editortial this week looks at the contrasting approach to human rights issues between Australia and New Zealand, and and how we have an opportunity to differentiate ourselves from Australia by choosing a new flag.

Poles apart

If ever there was a case to differentiate ourselves from our neighbour, it’s now, as our closest ally shows its true colours on the issue of human rights.

New Zealand’s flag debate has been unexpectedly fractious, and although polling suggests the numbers favouring a new ensign are steadily increasing, there has until now been no urgency about change. However, it is now abundantly clear that we should seize this chance to end the confusion between our two countries’ lamentably similar symbols of identity.

It is abundantly clear to some. Others prefer to keeping waving a flag that looks much like Australia’s. It’s time New Zealand proudly displayed our uniqueness and cut the visual ties to Australia and Britain.

Much has been said about New Zealanders fighting and dying for the current flag. In fact, they fought to protect the democracy that the flag symbolises and the rights of New Zealanders. How bitterly ironic it will be if defenders of the current flag comply with some activists’ exhortation to spoil their ballot papers rather than making a stand as New Zealanders.

Making a stand as New Zealanders identifying as a unique New Zealand.

For now, we have an important and welcome choice to make. It would be a tremendous shame if the frequent nastiness of the flag debate deters voter turnout. Apathy and cynicism are no reason to snub our democratic opportunities.

Some people genuinely just want to keep the current flag. Fair enough, that’s their preference.

But a significant number of people have deliberately tried to disrupt and discredit the flag debate for political reasons. That’s a sad way to act in a democratic society.

In this day and age we should have been able to have an honest debate about flag options,  vote to choose a possible alternative, and then vote on whether we want to keep the current flag or change to the best of the rest.

This should have been a simople thing to debate, but ulterior motives and political bitterness have often dominated proceedings.

And there has been blatant back flipping hypocrisy from some, notably the Labour Party who has tried it’s best to disrupt and spoil a process that has been effectively a campaign against their own policy.

Equally, those who complain the flag change is a feel-good stunt by the Prime Minister and say that we should be having the full Monty constitutional debate, need to reflect on whether their indifference to a democratic opportunity to vote – denied so many around the world – shows the requisite maturity. If we can’t hold an orderly, mannerly referendum on this micro issue, are we ­anywhere near ready as a nation to trust ourselves on macro issues such as republicanism?

A flag change is symbolic but otherwise relatively insubstantial.

A number of people – and some parties – have demonstrated a distinct lack of maturity on the flag process. There’s a high risk that a far more important constitutional debate would be an embarrassing debacle.

However, the fact that a New Zealander attending a recent ­vexillology conference across the Tasman was mistakenly assigned an Australian flag underlines our enduring problem. If even flag experts get confused between the Australian and New Zealand symbols of identity, what hope have we of the rest of the world ever telling the increasingly important difference between our two nations?

Confusion between the New Zealand and Australian flags is a major reason why we should change to something more distinctly New Zealand.

And surely we have matured enough as a nation to cut the visual link with a country on the other side that kicked us for touch four decades ago.

Clifton backs Dunne on party registration fiasco

Jane Clifton shows her lack of bias and goes in to bat for Peter Dunne over United Future’s problems with the Electoral Commission  with party de-registration and re-registration.

Jane Clifton: Why I’m feeling for Peter Dunne

The demands made of the United Future party to re-register are downright inane.

The Opposition, and doubtless members of the public, will see the financial penalties Dunne has incurred as perfectly righteous – but that’s a different argument.

But that Dunne should lose these entitlements because a) his party was the only party foolish enough to be honest with the commission, and b) because the law is an ass and it was unclear how to process such a novel situation through the red tape and c) because in all likelihood officials were spooked by the histrionics of Winston and Labour in Parliament about Dunne’s entitlements, is very unfair.

Dunne is facing a tricky climb-back to redeem his career. But the commission needs to redeem itself too, by instigating equal treatment for all registered parties. Having taken such a flinty line with United Future, it should now actively check the numbers for all the parties, and keep a running monitor. That would, of course, be to look for more trouble, so it will probably handily find it lacks the resources for such rigour.

The moral of this story might be that honesty is not necessarily the best policy. Keep quiet and fix your faux pas before anybody notices.

Fair comments. Winston won’t listen to anyone but Labour should take note of that.

It will be interesting to see if the Electoral Commission will hold any other parties to account on membership to anything like the same degree they have with United Future.


Listener online now by subscription

The Listener has announced on Twitter:

New Zealand Listener ‏@nzlistener

We’ve relaunched our website – now subscription-based. 

I enjoy reading the Listener’s politic columns and blogs so I checked it out. They now show an introduction to articles and links to log in or subscribe.

Subscriptions can be for Print and  Digital, or Digital only. The Digital costs are:

Digital Subscription Options

  • 1 Week (Snack) $5.00 (non-recurring)
  • 3 Months $36.00
  • 6 Months $70.00
  • 12 Months $129.00

I understand the need for online media to try and get sufficient revenue to cover costs and make a reasonable profit, but it will be difficult to convince online users who are used to more free information than they can use to pay any subscriptions.

The price will be critically important, as always. That’s far too much for me for something that’s far from essential.

They seem to be targeting an elite rather than a mass market.

The Standard versus Pagani and Pagani

Labour’s social media war continues. Last night posted another round at The Standard in the battle – Two little Pagis squeal and squeak. Ironies abound.

The Paganis are just the latest target for Standard frustration. I think I used to soak up a lot of that anger. Attacking the messenger, often viciously, was normal there, and was actively promoted and supported by blog moderators.

Josie Pagani raised the wrath of The Standard because she criticised them on her Facebook page, this seems to have disappeared from there but it has been covered elsehere, most repeated here – Josie Pagani on Labour’s welfare issues – but here Standard comments are at Keeping Stock: Josie Pagani responds…

There’s been a bit of comment about me on the Standard blog. I’m not going to reply there because the people who make the most defamatory comments do it anonymously, like the KKK putting on their white hoods. At least on Facebook, they have to identify themselves.

And I don’t like the way the Standard deals out lifetime bans to anyone who disagrees with them.

I’m also astonished at the sexism. Commenters repeatedly conflate my views with my husband’s, which will come as a surprise to anyone who has ever met us. One sexist thug reads chicken entrails from my husband’s tweets to get an insight into my views, another calls me a silly bitch, and despite calling themselves a progressive blog, no one objects.

I’m not complaining about it – merely pointing out the hypocrisy and compromised morality of my critics.

I was permanently banned from The Standard this week not for disagreeing with them – they disagreed with me when I pointing out the hypocrisy and compromised morality there.

And John Pagani was quoted in a Listener article on David Farrar complimenting the rival Kiwiblog.

Then again, as left-leaning political-consultant-turned-commentator John Pagani notes, Farrar’s apparently easygoing tone might be among his greatest advantages. “He has a more reasonable tone than, say, the left blog the Standard, whose idea of political is embittered and angry and it’s therefore hard to read,” says Pagani.

The Sprout commented on this:

Now that’s tragic and moronic, but hardly surprising.

I don’t know if The Sprout meant it this way but no, it’s not a surprising comparison of the two blogs. The Sprout continues:

It also helps shed light on the inspiration for the otherwise unfathomable, bizzarely kamikaze PR ‘strategy’ of Labour under Shearer. In one of the best blog posts I’ve read for some time, Tumeke gives a superb account of just why Pagani really needs to go if Labour doesn’t want to lose the few remaining activists it has left.

Bradbury on Tumeke is more supportive of The Standard:

I have a love-hate relationship with The Standard (but then again, who don’t I have a love-hate relationship with?), while their pro-Labour cheerleading is sometimes tiresome, they are still without a doubt one of the largest and most influential left wing blogs in NZ, which begs the question – what the fuck does John and Josie Pagani think they’re doing publicly burning The Standard?

Bradbury is right, The Standard is one of the largest left wing blogs, but I don’t know how influential, it would not be surprising if many don’t take them very seriously.

Why would John and Josie Pagani publicly burn The Standard? Possibly that The Standard keeps publicly shunning and burning Labour and it’s leader, David Shearer, has something to do with it. And that The Standard attacks anyone who dares criticise them.

And in a huge irony – The Standard burns Farrar and Kiwiblog is often referred to as “the sewer” and they continually tried to burn me until they gave in and banned me – David Farrar and I (and now Pagani and Pagani) have been made enemies but have been significantly more supportive and complimentary of some mainstream Labour and of David Shearer than by a supposedly pro-Labour Standard.

I’ve seen a smouldering at The Standard over the last couple of years grow angrier, especially since last year’s election. The burning has become inflamed. And they keep blaming everyone but themselves.

Keeping Stock sums up:

So we commend Josie Pagani for telling it like it is with regard to The Standard. We don’t agree with her politics, but she doesn’t deserve the treatment she has been on the receiving end of. And one day, lprent and his mates at The Standard will realise the harm that they are doing to the cause of the Left, and to that of the Labour Party in particular; preferably not before the 2017 election though!

This is the comment I made on The Standard that got me permanently banned:

If you want to be narrow minded and nasty don’t try and pretend to yourselves you ‘re a flagship for the broad left.

Much of the active comment here would not appeal to most potential Labour or Green voters. Nor would the behaviour.

Negative attack politics seems to be the core activity, in posts and comments. I just happen to attract some of it, but it’s far more pervasive than that. If that’s how you want to be then fair enough, but it doesn’t seem to satisfy many of you, this place oozes discontent and bitterness.

You’ll attract better if you act better. If that’s what you want.

That suggests that they want to remain a bitter, angry bunch who attack anyone they choose to label as different. I doesn’t bother me, but the Paganis are supposed to be supporting the same party.

Things don’t look good in Labour. I’ve said this before – the different camps seem to have only one tent, and they are ripping it to shreds.

Note: “The Standard” keeps making it clear they are not a single entity, they are several authors and many commenters. But The Standard culture is often seen as a common pox on the left, and the festering seems to be getting worse. But don’t tell them or you’ll be next on their worst enemies list.