A two stage flag referendum?

January 31st, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post editorial:

What is needed is a two-stage referendum, like the two-stage referendum on MMP. The first, held at the general election, should ask if people want a change. If a majority does, a year later another vote could choose the design.

There should be a nationwide design competition, with an independent body choosing a shortlist of three designs. Voters could then choose by a process of preferential voting. That way, the new flag would have majority support.

I like the idea of a two stage referendum, but the order the Dom Post proposes is flawed in my view. People won’t vote for a change without knowing what the alternative is.

I’d do an initial vote at the election to choose an alternative from say four designs.

Then once an alternative design has been chosen, have a stand alone referendum where you choose between the current and the design which won the earlier vote.

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53 Responses to “A two stage flag referendum?”

  1. Paulus (2,632 comments) says:

    I believe it would be a waste of taxpayer’s money as currently opinions in the Herald and Dom are firmly against a change.

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  2. DonC (9 comments) says:

    What a waste. There is clear demand for a change. You test how many want that change by holding a referendum which includes the current flag. From a design point of view however a popular vote could land us with a dreadful flag. Immagining putting the engineering of a major bridge to popular vote.

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  3. dime (9,980 comments) says:

    Agree!

    Only way we dont end up with some maori garbage that looks like a gang flag

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  4. redqueen (567 comments) says:

    Jolly Roger all the way 8-)

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  5. big bruv (13,934 comments) says:

    “There is clear demand for a change.”

    Really!….got any evidence of that?

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  6. BananaLama (5 comments) says:

    “with an independent body choosing a shortlist of three designs”

    Nope.

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  7. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    Yes yes … top issue for NZ is the flag … FFS !!!!!

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  8. big bruv (13,934 comments) says:

    “There should be a nationwide design competition, with an independent body choosing a shortlist of three designs”

    Let’s just translate that statement.

    “There should be a nationwide design competition, with a panel of Maori activists and selected guilty whites choosing a shortlist of one Maori flag”

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  9. Manolo (13,839 comments) says:

    Yawn, yawn. Another topic manufactured, read invented, by the “impartial” NZ MSM.
    The surprise is National’s JK falling for it. Wake up Prime Minister, there are no votes for you in it.

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  10. MH (762 comments) says:

    run it up a” poll” and see how it “flies”?

    very few genuine kiwis know our current flags design,the mathematical layout of the stars-not all equal etc let alone the flags of the british isles,and because of that lack of history and emphasis on local and asian,pacific story telling we get this demand for change. Much to my regret but it is understandable.

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  11. RRM (9,933 comments) says:

    The media’s anointed Labour party are making themselves look like tools this week –

    QUICK – we need a story about changing the flag, and a story about someone called Charlotte Dawson telling Lorde to leave New Zealand, between them those will get 95% of the public chattering about something other than what tools Labour are.

    And we can manufacture both stories from mostly stock material, sweet!

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  12. redqueen (567 comments) says:

    It’s a ‘Key’ issue for NZ, Burt…

    But seriously, I’d be fascinated to know what is actually behind this. There is no real urgency, issue, or demand for a flag change (that doesn’t mean some people don’t support it, but it’s not our highest priority at the moment). So why bring this up now? Maybe trying to stir up patriotic feeling before the election / at the election? Or maybe, just maybe, this is smirking in the face of the opposition along the lines of, ‘Given the kind of crap you chaps are throwing, and how irrelevant and poorly designed it is, I might as well do something silly to put it into perspective’.

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  13. redqueen (567 comments) says:

    @RRM

    That’s it, Lorde might leave because of some unpatriotic nonsense (although I do agree, our media are scum or lazy…scum) and suddenly we need something to encourage a patriotic debate! All makes sense now…

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  14. rouppe (971 comments) says:

    That process was how MMP was chosen over arguably better electoral systems like STV.

    You will get huge exposure from the loudmouths over their preferred design, the indigenous card will be played, and the result will be something quite awful.

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  15. Nukuleka (334 comments) says:

    It is wrong to say that there is a clear desire for changing the NZ flag. The chattering media classes may indicate that they want a change but they encourage anything that is controversial. As for John Key and the GG, both should have more sense.

    Whatever designs are proposed for a replacement flag there will result strong views against it, and no-one will be a winner out of this. The unity of NZ will suffer. Ultimately there will be many NZers who will dislike the design of any new flag and will simply have no respect for it. People do have respect for the current flag, even those who are unhappy about its inclusion of the union jack.

    This is a fraught debate and there will be no winners. Leave the flag as it is!

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  16. Scott (1,805 comments) says:

    I almost forgot – as well as having a black pirate feather flag being hoisted by Helen Clark President in perpetuity of the socialist republic of Aotearoa, which many think is a splendid idea, we also need to make sure that the flag is made of renewable materials – hemp would be a good choice. And the flag like that would be incredibly popular no doubt, so we would need a new government department to make and market the flag.

    This department would be the Department of Vexillology (look it up).This department would have to be working in accordance with the treaty of Waitangi and also be gay lesbian and bisexual and transgender friendly. And of course everyone would at least have to be paid the “living wage”!

    And what Minister should oversee such a department? I can think of no better, more qualified person than Peter Dunne. He shall rule the Department aided and abetted by his undersecretary (first henchman) Pete George.Pete’s duties shall be many and varied including liaising with all lesbian gay bisexual and transgender persons to make sure no discrimination occurs. He shall also liaise with the Maori tribes to ensure that when the said flags are put up that no taniwha are disturbed. His duties may have an impact on his blogging time but then at times like this some sacrifices have to be made.

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  17. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    I’d do an initial vote at the election to choose an alternative from say four designs

    I’d drop the idea as it’s a waste of money.

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  18. SPC (5,643 comments) says:

    Those who want an issue to go away say there is some media conspiracy … . Key is the one who could have said not an issue for the government and will not happen.

    I have no problem with a change and I think asking people if they want one is the right way to start.

    DPF seems to suspect this will not advantage the proponents of change. So what.

    One can pass the first hurdle simply by a guarantee that any proposed alternative would require majority support – thus the current flag remains until this is realised.

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  19. SPC (5,643 comments) says:

    It’s interesting how some connect a change of flag with change to the country that they do not want to happen – like their political opponents being in power or society being less Christian or even less mono-cultural than it once was.

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  20. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    Interesting to see commenters here suggesting “the media” have invented this story to draw attention away from Labour’s policy announcement and save Labour from the embarrassment of having released such terrible, unpopular policy.

    Except, the media is just reporting the Prime Minister’s raising of the issue and his recommendation that a referendum be held. So, yes it’s a diversionary tactic to draw attention away from a Labour policy announcement, but you might want to have a wee think about why the Prime Minister would do that if he thought the policy was an embarrassment to Labour. Hint: saving from embarrassment is the motive, it’s just not Labour’s embarrassment.

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  21. Manolo (13,839 comments) says:

    @Psycho Milt, you really need to see a psycho therapist, mate.

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  22. Nigel Kearney (1,019 comments) says:

    Floating the ‘black pirate feather’ design will get people to vote for change, then the real desired alternative of the ‘independent body’ can be forced through later after we’ve already voted to ditch the current flag. Quite a cunning plan though it was used for MMP and should not succeed a second time.

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  23. OTGO (557 comments) says:

    Don’t mess with the fucking flag. And don’t mess with the national anthem either. And give me a fucking tax cut. That’s all I want in 2014.

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  24. KiwiGreg (3,255 comments) says:

    “I’d do an initial vote at the election to choose an alternative from say four designs.

    Then once an alternative design has been chosen, have a stand alone referendum where you choose between the current NZ flag and the design which won the earlier vote.”

    Of course YOU would; you want it to change.

    Bread and circuses people, what is it that Key and co DON’T want you looking at????

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  25. KiwiGreg (3,255 comments) says:

    “And don’t mess with the national anthem either. ”

    Too late OTGO, half of it is apparently in a foreign language now.

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  26. Tautaioleua (309 comments) says:

    I wonder if John Key and I are the right people for this debate? we’re both first generation New Zealander’s whose parents settled here in their thirties and forties.

    :-)

    This is why the PM should tread cautiously and avoid declaring his favourite alternative flag. Especially with the royals visiting in April, and the Queen still very much alive.

    Disrespectful isn’t strong enough a word. The PM is being insensitive to those with five or more generations.

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  27. Pete George (23,602 comments) says:

    It’s interesting how some connect a change of flag with change to the country that they do not want to happen – like their political opponents being in power or society being less Christian or even less mono-cultural than it once was.

    It’s a common approach here. Gay marriage will cause the breakdown of all families etc. Decent euthanasia will lead to compulsory killing of everyone over fifty etc.

    But the scaremongering becomes so outlandish it defeats it’s purpose by making the arguments preposterous.

    And they want to have more democratic say – as long as it says what they want and excludes anything they don’t want from being considered.

    Just another day on Kiwiblog.

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  28. tvb (4,431 comments) says:

    I would be loathe to lose the Southern Cross which is not only symbolic of our 4 main Island groups but can be seen regularly in our night sky. It has deep cultural significance as well. The Union Jack can be dropped though there are Sound reasons to retain that as well.

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  29. Ashley Schaeffer (488 comments) says:

    I’d prefer the flag to be left as is, but if it had to change (and it doesn’t) I could be happy flying the Kyle Lockwood flag ( http://www.silverfernflag.org/ ) which I think is a good compromise/evolution.

    But you just know that we’re going to end up with some fugly Maori-centric design that only fuels further division amongst New Zealanders and to be honest, I’m kind of resigned to that. A national flag should inspire patriotism and nationalism, but these values are rapidly diminishing in our increasingly multi-cultural western world. The fact that we would struggle to select a flag to represent us all kind of illustrates just how divided we are as a nation now. And in light of that, I increasingly care less about the flag issue each time it is raised.

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  30. Manolo (13,839 comments) says:

    And they want to have more democratic say – as long as it says what they want and excludes anything they don’t want from being considered.

    Just another day on Kiwiblog.

    Another lecture, another sermon from KB’s delusional and self-appointed high priest.

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  31. Pete George (23,602 comments) says:

    When you lecture you should say what it’s actually about rather than just announcing you’re doing it.

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  32. freedom101 (505 comments) says:

    We can learn from Canada, which had a similar UK-derived flag to our own, and ended up with one of the great flags of the world – instantly recognisable, and it has united a nation behind it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Canada

    Canada had the Quebecois and the English, and we have Pakeha and Maori.

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  33. Tom Barker (143 comments) says:

    “The PM is being insensitive to those with five or more generations.”

    I’m a sixth-generation New Zealander – my kids are seventh-generation.

    We all think this is one of the best initiatives the PM has taken to date.

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  34. greenjacket (466 comments) says:

    Nigel Kearney wrote on the “black pirate feather’ design”.

    By which I assume you mean the white fernleaf on a black background symbol of the New Zealand Division that fought in WW1 and WW2, and is the symbol on the graves of New Zealand soldiers?

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  35. Pete George (23,602 comments) says:

    And used as far back as the Boer War –
    http://yournz.org/2014/01/30/silver-fern-emblem-used-in-boer-war/

    And yes, used on soldiers’ graves both in New Zealand and overseas –
    http://yournz.org/2014/01/31/silver-fern-is-nz-history/

    So the white feather diss is disrespectful of many who have fought for New Zealand.

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  36. BananaLama (5 comments) says:

    I’m Glad both Greenjacket and Pete George can identify a divisional insignia. Now i wonder if you know the difference between that and a Nations Flag.

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  37. Pete George (23,602 comments) says:

    It seems to be used far more widely than as a divisional insignia.

    Do you know the difference between a fern and a feather?

    With NZ serving alongside Australia so much our current flags would be far too easily confused, hence the need for an alternative identifier.

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  38. BananaLama (5 comments) says:

    “With NZ serving alongside Australia so much our current flags would be far too easily confused, hence the need for an alternative identifier”

    You just answered my question while trying not to, fucking hilarious.

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  39. Pete George (23,602 comments) says:

    So it makes sense to have an alternative identifier with our flag. Similar to twenty nine other flags is ludicrous.

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BfRRnIkCAAA1tVa.jpg

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  40. Wayne Mapp (67 comments) says:

    To those opposed to a change it is pretty hard to object to a referendum. If you are right you will win.

    A two stage referendum as proposed by DPF can be done within a single referendum by having two questions. But DPF is making things more complicated than they need be. The issue is not so great or momentous that it requires the expense of two separate referendums held at different times

    So in a single referendum the questions would be as follows:

    First question; Do you want to change the flag, yes or no.

    Second question; Which of these two options do you prefer.

    This approach actually would give three choices. The first would be effectively the referendum on the current flag. The second question will give a choice between two options for a new flag. It means the winner has to get 50%.

    Everyone could answer both questions, so that those opposed to change still get a say in which of the two options for the new flag.

    Obviously the result of the first question determines whether the second question is actually relevant.

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  41. tvb (4,431 comments) says:

    If you look at the Canadian flag you can see two people arguing with each other which is strangely prophetic. I do not think that was intended when they designed that flag.

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  42. Viking2 (11,491 comments) says:

    with an independent body choosing a shortlist of three designs.

    Another fucking committee, as always, full of grey bearded school teachers, arty farty fuckwits and on the public tit.

    Do we really NEED THAT???????

    We have the inter webby thing and we can communicate with many thousands of voters very cheaply. REgister and vote.
    Put up the options and lets decide without all the bullshit.

    Don’t want to vote. then fuck off and stop complaining.

    P.S. Good way to start election voting and referendum voting. Govt. has been rabbiting on about ramping up the use of the digital age. Here is a good way to start.

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  43. kowtow (8,524 comments) says:

    freedom101

    There’s nothing “united” behind the flag about Canada at all. They’ve come periously close to separation a few times with the frogs demanding and getting all sorts of concessions and big tax transfers from the rest of Canada .And Anglo Canada don’t like it.

    Add to that the constant demands from the “first nations”….like our Murris…..

    not much real unity behind that flag at all. And the change was very controversial in its day too.

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  44. Longknives (4,767 comments) says:

    You guys are absolutely fucking dreaming if you think our shiny new flag will be anything but a Maori design…

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  45. wiseowl (899 comments) says:

    Leave the bloody flag alone.

    Makes me laugh Key talking of a referendum after ignoring past efforts.
    He will only agree if the answer suits him.
    No thanks.

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  46. Johnboy (16,683 comments) says:

    I used to quite like Key but bringing up the old flag debate just makes him look like a dickhead.

    Put’s him on the same level as Spud, Dame Cath, and that silly old Keith Quinn wanker.

    Leave it alone bro there is no percentage in it yet! :)

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  47. georgebolwing (870 comments) says:

    Keep it simple. One question: “Do you want to keep the current flag or replace it with one showing the silver fern”, followed by a picture of both.

    If a majority of those voting say keep, we keep. If a majority say change, we change.

    If we keep the current flag in preference to the fern, then the question of whether we change to another design is still open and can be addressed later.

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  48. georgebolwing (870 comments) says:

    Here’s a question: if Scotland votes for independence (yes, that is a big if, but let’s go with it), the “United” Kingdom of Southern Great Britain and Northern Ireland will presumably change its flag to remove the Cross of St Andrew. Will New Zealand change its flag to accommodate this?

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  49. SJM (77 comments) says:

    John Key wants a referendum on the flag: no popular movement for change, no one canvassing for signatures to change the flag, but we are still to have a referendum on the matter just because John Key thinks that would be a neat thing to do.
    Modern democracy in action.

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  50. Ben Dover (526 comments) says:

    Kumbaya

    Centre Right Dribble
    WIPE YOU CENTRE RIGHT FLABBY A
    on everything the country used to stand for

    Let’s pretend they are going to change anything other than to MAKE LIFE WORSE

    Clueless Bloated Middle NZ
    Who are you going to Call in the Next Pacific War?

    Suckers Chairman Key and his Mates will be outta there to Hawaii or anywhere
    and you will be
    sitting there waving your new Flags as the Hordes turn to the South Pacific

    Now time for A Quote from out biggest Communist trading partner ChairMan Mao

    Every Communist must grasp the truth, “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”
    see you 2030

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  51. Kea (12,841 comments) says:

    Who are you going to Call in the Next Pacific War?

    That war started because you lot could not get on with the neighbours. We had to stop everything and sail up there from the ends of the earth to save your ungrateful arses and not for the first time either.

    Then to demonstrate to the world what a nation of potato eating larger sipping retards you are you signed up to the EU and delivered Europe right back into the hands of German socialists. But not before packing it full of Muslims and Eastern European gangs.

    Even your dirt piling, rock arranging, lice infested ancestors would be appalled at how stupid you all are.

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  52. Ben Dover (526 comments) says:

    GO TO HELL

    Aussies have a good T SHIRT

    http://militaryinc.com.au/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=91

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  53. Ben Dover (526 comments) says:

    http://militaryinc.com.au/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=91

    The REDESIGNED ‘TRY BURNING THIS ONE MOTHERFUCKER’ Tee is a great patriotic design that could be worn proudly at your next left wing gathering or anti – Australian flag meeting and be the talk of the crowd. Screen printed on the finest Cotton GILDAN Pre – shrunk 100% Cotton tees you are sure to be the life of the party…COMES IN TAN WITH BLACK PRINT – BLACK WITH GREY PRINT.

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