Will we get to vote on the flag this year?

January 30th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Prime Minister John Key’s tentative proposal to change the national flag has wide support within Parliament, although he admits that debate about an alternative design could distract people from more important issues during election year.

Mr Key planned to discuss a new flag with senior ministers and possibly put it to a referendum as part of this year’s election.

He said that finding a consensus on a new flag would be difficult and if ministers backed a change, the Government would decide on a design and ask the public to vote for or against it.

“We have to make it simple,” he said yesterday.

The flag could be changed by legislation, but Mr Key said it was a constitutional issue and required consultation.

He publicly backed replacing the flag with a silver fern in 2010.

Young Kiwis have already adopted the silver fern as the de facto flag. When Kiwis backpack overseas, they often wear the fern. You see it at sporting events. I know several people who have a tattoo of it. I’ve yet to find anyone who has a tattoo of the current !

The proposal was backed by most political parties yesterday.

Labour Party deputy leader David Parker said it was not an important issue, but he supported a change to a red, white and blue design by an unnamed Dunedin designer which incorporated Maori and colonial influences.

United Future leader Peter Dunne said the present flag “smacks of British imperialism” and recommended the Union Jack be removed.

Mana Party leader Hone Harawira, who negotiated with the Government to get a Maori flag flown from the Auckland Harbour Bridge on Waitangi Day, said it was “time for for us to grow up and move on”.

He flew the Tino Rangitiratanga flag on his car but said any flag would be an improvement on the Union Jack and Southern Cross.

On this issue, I agree with Hone. I find the current flag absolutely uninspiring, and at a distance very difficult to differentiate from Australia’s.

I want a flag that will be our equivalent of the Canadian Maple Leaf – instantly recognisable as a NZ symbol.

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190 Responses to “Will we get to vote on the flag this year?”

  1. Jack5 (5,053 comments) says:

    Key shows his contempt for conservative voters. See the discussion in the general debate threads yesterday and today.

    He can shove up his political arse the white-feather-like fern on black, the colour of the Waffen SS, of Pol Pot, of Al Qaeda, of Mosley’s Black Shirts, and of pirates through the ages.

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  2. Rick Rowling (812 comments) says:

    It will be interesting to see how the flag debate affects the debate over each party’s manifesto.

    Will the flag referendum starve policy debate of oxygen?

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  3. Longknives (4,690 comments) says:

    “any flag would be an improvement on the Union Jack and Southern Cross.”

    Why?? I know it’s very uncool to say so but I for one am quite proud of our Colonial History and British Heritage.
    Why is it okay for Maori to be proud of their Culture and History but not NZ Europeans?

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  4. redqueen (555 comments) says:

    @Jack5

    That could be a proposal: we could use the Jolly Roger…

    Given how Labour are behaving, piracy sounds a reasonably accurate description…

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  5. duggledog (1,528 comments) says:

    Not till the last man who fought under the flag in WW2 dies, then we can discuss it

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  6. Reid (16,290 comments) says:

    I find the current flag absolutely uninspiring…

    I’m afraid a black flag with a silver fern on it is about as inspiring as having a fat helpless bird that can’t even fly and needs govt assistance to protect it from predators lest it extinguish itself, as our national symbol. NZ made a big mistake not adopting the Haast Eagle as its national bird in the 1800’s. Let’s not make another one by choosing a flag with a plant on it.

    If we have to have black (and why? – it’s a dumb colour) then let’s have something interesting on the flag, like the Jolly Roger. Now that’s inspiring.

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  7. tvb (4,364 comments) says:

    I do NOT support a change to a silver fern which I see as a sporting symbol. The Union Jack reflects that the Queen is our Head of State we are a member of the Commonwealth and our important institutions are derived from our colonial past. The Southern Cross has deep cultural significance and should be retained in any design and is symbolic of our our 4 main island groups.

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  8. Longknives (4,690 comments) says:

    And you guys are dreaming if you think any new flag isn’t going to have some form of Maori design or logo on it.
    Then we get into how many millions do we have to pay for this ‘honour’? And for how long to we have to keep paying for it?

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  9. redqueen (555 comments) says:

    @Reid

    I agree, if we’re going to insist on black, then Jolly Roger all the way :)

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  10. greybeard (58 comments) says:

    There are still many of us who treasure and respect our British heritage, our flag, our language. Not just many, but probably an overwhelming majority.
    We have an identity already, you don’t have to change our flag to ‘create’ an identity.
    What sort of identity would a black flag represent ?
    And for those who think our flag is too similar to that of Australia, well, ask the Australians to change theirs.

    God Save the Queen.

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  11. Jack5 (5,053 comments) says:

    Who would have a tattoo of a fern on their arms? A botanist?

    The All Blacks-fern link may be transitory. As pointed out yesterday, with our ethnic change, soccer could fairly soon be the national winter sport. What then? Politicians calling for the adoption of a national white flag to honour the All Whites?

    From a white-feather-like fern to a white flag? Is someone putting LSD in the tea and coffee at Parliament?

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  12. muggins (3,348 comments) says:

    We should have had a new flag years ago.
    Quite a few Australians want to change theirs as well.

    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/ausflag-unveils-new-aussie-flag-to-be-used-at-sporting-events/story-fncynkc6-1226561280074

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  13. Paulus (2,607 comments) says:

    I am very happy with what we have as a flag.
    Many died in battle representing New Zealand, and this symbolises their valiant effort, sadly in vain, and we should not forget the flag under which they fought.

    If the Australians wish to change theirs then let them.
    Perhaps Black continues to symbolise death too.
    Personally I dislike the New Zealand colour Black, but I am much older than most on this blog.

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  14. Reid (16,290 comments) says:

    I agree, if we’re going to insist on black, then Jolly Roger all the way

    And just imagine how many people we could sue for copyright violation under the TPP, as a side-benefit.

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  15. tvb (4,364 comments) says:

    The Southern Cross has cultural significance to Maori.

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  16. muggins (3,348 comments) says:

    Paulus
    Here are a few options.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/image.cfm?c_id=1&gal_cid=1&gallery_id=109084#6823387

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  17. jackinabox (776 comments) says:

    A variation on this theme would be my choice.

    https://www.google.co.nz/#q=nz+made+logo

    Maybe more money would then be allocated to save the kiwi from extinction.

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  18. peterwn (3,243 comments) says:

    Jack5 – ‘Key shows his contempt for conservative voters. ‘

    Which do you want – a National Party sticking to ‘conservative’ philosophies in opposition, or a National Party making some concessions to a centre-left viewpoint in power. Take your pick – you cannot have it both ways. This is the practical guts of the matter.

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  19. redqueen (555 comments) says:

    Just of note, the Jolly Roger has cultural significance with our British heritage…so could be a good compromise :)

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  20. Kea (12,409 comments) says:

    Pete George (20,748 comments) says:

    January 29th, 2014 at 6:25 pm
    Not sure why that will make your head spin Steve. I’ve been open in the past about preferring a change of flag to something distinctive. I’ve even had a go at designing alternatives.

    Maybe a beige emblem on a beige background that is careful not to make statement as it could cause offense ? “NZ, we stand for nothing in particular” :)

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  21. Snarkle (118 comments) says:

    Candians love the maple leaf, even though many of them live in cities. Worked for them, can work for us. Silver fern it is.

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  22. Mark (1,480 comments) says:

    I am not sure I want the All Blacks logo as the countries flag.

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  23. Colville (2,261 comments) says:

    Silver Fern all the way, change the fu*king thing. ……

    Jack5, you get your one vote..others get a vote too…

    Longknives, What about Chinese NZers? Saffers? Europeans other than Poms? Dont they get a flag? Not to mention all the Maori who hate the Union Jack.

    duggledog, what is so special about WW2? Its just a war, both my grandfathers fought in it, big fucking deal. Both them wished they didnt have to fight. Why not wait till the last SAS bloke who fought in Afghanistan dies?

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  24. Longknives (4,690 comments) says:

    “I am not sure I want the All Blacks logo as the countries flag”

    Isn’t it a trademark anyway? All sorts of potential problems there…

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  25. RRM (9,834 comments) says:

    Young Kiwis have already adopted the silver fern as the de facto flag.

    Fuck off, I’m a young kiwi (I’m STILL YOUNG, DAMMIT) and I haven’t adopted the All Blacks flag as a de facto national flag.

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  26. Longknives (4,690 comments) says:

    “Longknives, What about Chinese NZers? Saffers? Europeans other than Poms? Dont they get a flag? ”

    And how is a Maori design going to be “their flag”? What significance will this have to their culture??

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  27. JMS (319 comments) says:

    Personally I dislike the New Zealand colour Black, but I am much older than most on this blog.

    I we go back a few years, our national colours were actually black and white in equal proportions, which I like.

    Unfortunately with the rugby influence, a blackening has occurred. The proposed silver fern flag just has too much black.

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  28. Exclamation Mark (85 comments) says:

    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – this is a solution looking for a problem.

    – It looks too much like the Australian Flag – so what? Let the Aussie’s change theirs then. And how is this actually a problem for anyone? Is it causing accidents? Has anyone lost money or been injured due to a mistake made by confusing flags?
    Plenty of countries have much more similar looking flags e.g. Luxembourg & Netherlands, Chad & Romania – I can’t see why some NZers get so bent out of shape about it.

    – Union Jack/Colonialism – You may not like this aspect of our history but you are living in fantasyland if you think a change of flags is going to somehow sweep it under the carpet. Our British roots helped make NZ the great country it is, attempts to deny or smear this part of our history needs to be exposed for what it is: bullshit lefty revisionism.

    – It doesn’t represent who we are as a nation (or similar nonsense) – how many flags do acheive this to everyone’s liking? Very few if any I would suspect.

    Finally – I’m going to bet this will never happen, their is no obvious alternative, there will be al sorts of petty squabling over whose design is better (a Dick Frizzel flag anyone?) and there will never be consensus and ultimately: there is no solid reason to change it.

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  29. dime (9,856 comments) says:

    Too soon.

    As usual, a vocal group will win out. A bored media will embrace it, morons love change so will vote out our flag.

    I bet it wont be a silver fern that replaces it either. t will be some Maori garbage that they just made up but is all of a sudden sacred.

    Flag makers will probably have to pay some iwi a royalty after that.

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  30. freethinker (688 comments) says:

    If Key puts the flag to a referendum I think voters should treat it with the same contempt as politicians have treated taxpayers referendums by ignoring it and not voting. Make referendums binding – now!!

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  31. Kea (12,409 comments) says:

    RRM, I also do not indentify with the Thugby culture. It is not even the national sport in terms of participation and receives the promotion it does largely for commercial reasons. Modern top level rugby is a product.

    Regardless, our identity is not tied to a game involving scantily clad men groping each other in a paddock.

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  32. Jack5 (5,053 comments) says:

    It is interesting that Key proposes a flag referendum, when his second home is Hawaii, which has a Union Jack in the corner of its state flag.

    We want something different? So we go for a fern? According to Wikipedia there are 12,000 species of fern. That’s different and unique?

    As for Muggins’ link to the selection of possible alternative flags in the Hooerald: they look pretty uninspiring. And who would know anything about NZ from them? Most could do for any central African mini-state.

    Folk, don’t overlook the possibility of a blank party vote at this year’s general election.

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  33. thePeoplesFlag (242 comments) says:

    A sports logo for a flag. Why not go the whole hog.

    “Welcome to Adidas New Zealand”.

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  34. Colville (2,261 comments) says:

    Longknives @ 9.24.

    Silver fern is a Maori design? where? wanna show me an example of pre european use of the Silver Fern in Maori culture?

    Betcha cant.

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  35. altiora (261 comments) says:

    I’m conflicted: I do think we need to change the flag, and the Canadians show us it can be done. But I’ve got a problem: many of the pro-change people are afflicted by some unhinged dislike of our UK roots, and the many of the suggestions are exhibit a profound misunderstanding as to what national flags are meant to be.

    If we want to change, the flag needs to be respectful of our British heritage, not just discard it. I’ve always thought Dick Frizzell’s proposed flag is the best: it develops organically from our current flag by preserving the colours from our current flag and, above all, has some class and dignity: http://www.nzflag.com/designs_frizzell_old.cfm Love Frizzell’s criticism of the other flag designs.

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  36. kowtow (8,323 comments) says:

    So that’s the level of inspiration we have? Tats,backpacks and Hone Absent Harawira?

    Hardly inspiring to the conservative,right of centre voter that Notional once sought to represent.

    Sporting and botanic symbols are just that,but they are not and should not necessarily be the duplicated as the national flag.

    The current flag has served us well,leave it alone.

    I hope there’s a few voices in Cabinet who will stand up to Mr Shallow.

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  37. Colville (2,261 comments) says:

    I actually think this is just a very smart distraction by Key and Co.
    Just further stealing the oxygen from Liarbore and the Gweens.
    Every word written or quote taken down about this is just less space for them to put out coherent policy (ha! :-) )
    and Key has positioned himself on the smart, fun, young side of this issue… he will just wait and say ” oh no its all a bit rushed we will do it next time…”

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  38. JMS (319 comments) says:

    Folk, don’t overlook the possibility of a blank party vote at the next election.

    If there is a referendum, anyone can vote no to a new flag.

    Why punish those who proposed the referendum. If the centre-right doesn’t get every vote possible, we may end up punishing ourselves, worse than we can imagine.

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  39. Longknives (4,690 comments) says:

    Colville- I know you fantasise about the All Black logo being our National flag but it ain’t going to happen mate.
    As I posted earlier any new flag will be a Maori design or logo- It won’t be the All Black symbol..

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  40. RRM (9,834 comments) says:

    I’ve looked at the Dick Frizzell flag and given the article a fair reading. All that comes to mind is meh.

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  41. notrotsky (83 comments) says:

    Why the flag distraction ?

    All seems a bit like a ‘look over here’ political ploy to me… perhaps I’m getting paranoid in my old age !

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  42. RRM (9,834 comments) says:

    How about a traditional Maori tiki figure, sitting on top of a hill, with its hand out, receiving payment from grovelling stick figures of every colour, while a mythical taniwha creature twists and turns in the ground beneath their feet?

    That would give anyone who saw it a fairly accurate idea of our current political arrangements…

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  43. Longknives (4,690 comments) says:

    “How about a traditional Maori tiki figure, sitting on top of a hill, with its hand out, receiving payment from grovelling stick figures of every colour?
    That would give anyone who saw it a fairly accurate idea of our current political arrangements…”

    Comment of the week! Nobody is going to top that…

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  44. JMS (319 comments) says:

    I’ve looked at the Dick Frizzell flag and given the article a fair reading. All that comes to mind is meh.

    Yes, a bit like the new Air New Zealand livery; a dog’s breakfast of symbols.

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  45. georgebolwing (795 comments) says:

    Change is good.

    We are an independent, soverign nation and we should be proud to stand in the world with our own, unique, national symbols.

    I think the silver fern on a black backgroud is an inspired choice because it isn’t obviously European or maori or anything else.

    I am pretty sure that John Key has had polling done on this and knows that if there is a referendum, with the simple choice between the current flag and the silver fern, the fern will win handsomely. the las thing he would want to do is have a complex multi-stage process, with seperate questions on (a) should we change, (b) what should be the alternative and (c) the final choice between the current and a candidate.

    I also expect that he is going to use this as a ploy to show that he isn’t beholden to maori and will push an new flag that is racially neutral.

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  46. 3-coil (1,215 comments) says:

    This debate will provide a fantastic platform for the Conservative Party to campaign on – this will raise their profile significantly, and possibly (by association) help garner them enough votes to enter the Parliament.

    Edit: Law of unintended consequences?

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  47. kowtow (8,323 comments) says:

    This reminds me of when Jenny was in power.
    Private dinner with the rich elitists (Saatchi Roberts)who like to prove they can change the world in their own image.Create a “legacy” .They wanted to change the flag too. Then the rich media elites get in on the act (Paul Holmes) …….fuck ‘em,leave it alone.

    On the Canada thing,it was very controversial there too and divisive. But the “progressives” know that they can foist issues on the sheeple the young (and stupid) go along with it.Before long it’s accepted . Game set and match.

    Then they can move on to the next “progressive” policy.

    Happening all the time now.

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  48. dime (9,856 comments) says:

    “RRM, I also do not indentify with the Thugby culture.” – Thats cause youre a godless arab!

    Go the All Blacks!!!!

    The All Blacks have their fern copyrighted. Like, their exact fern. Would be easy to come up with another one. Doesnt mean we should though

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  49. Jack5 (5,053 comments) says:

    Georgebolwing posted at 9.4o:

    …I am pretty sure that John Key has had polling done on this …

    But have the MMP political analysts considered the possibility of a blank-party-vote reaction to their manipulative strategies?

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  50. Rick Rowling (812 comments) says:

    thePeoplesFlagsays:

    A sports logo for a flag. Why not go the whole hog.
    “Welcome to Adidas New Zealand”.

    Awesome!

    So along with the All Black’s logo on our national flag, it can change each year according to sponsorship – for example this year it would have the All Black’s colour, the All Black’s fern and a nice big AIG logo.

    It could be a good little earner for the country (after we’ve paid the licensing fee to Rugby New Zealand for use of their symbols of course).

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  51. Fentex (937 comments) says:

    Our current flag is merely a British Ensign and of little relevance today, it should go.

    I personally do not like the Silver Fern as a national flag though, I think it’s too finicky and a black background is inappropriate as flags should be easy to resolve at distance and in low light to serve their purpose as identifiers. I think stars of the Southern Cross and/or a koru might be better.

    There’s also the issue that the Silver Fern in several representations is a trademarked symbol. If adopted as a flag trademarks using it will have to be invalidated.

    New Zealanders use it generally in association with sports and our national identity is not solely about our sports – associating ourselves with pride in our sports teams is a different thing than a more inclusive symbol for the nation.

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  52. duggledog (1,528 comments) says:

    Colville how can you ask ‘what was so special about WW2’?

    It was the war where we sided with the UK as they risked everything to combat the Nazis, and lost their empire in the process to the US.

    You know the Japs had NZ all marked out for invasion right?!

    Any war after that as far as NZ was concerned was a skirmish. So out of respect for the WW2 soldiers, either wait for the last one to die or run it past them first

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  53. altiora (261 comments) says:

    RRM, flags need to be chosen on bases other than superficial emotional reactions like that.

    We are designing a flag not just for ourselves, but also for our ancestors and for our children.

    This is the problem: every one looks at the flag, then based on their subjective preferences (like, “I like lots of green colour” and “I want koru”), comes up with their own ghastly garish pastiche that would befit a hippy commune or a third world dictatorship. Most of the proposed flags fail on account of their lack of symmetry alone. And I fear the Greens will want the flag designed by a committee of school children.

    If we’re going to do properly then give it to a panel of experts, and make sure that the terms of reference specify that the new flag must be respectful of the British and Maori heritage, and not involve historical revisionism.

    If you look at what the Canadians did it was quite remarkable: French tricolour, British red and indigenous Maple. A far more sophisticated approach to “yeah let’s stick a silver fern on black”.

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  54. jp_1983 (207 comments) says:

    Lets just get the Tino flag and be done with it,
    because that is the only flag ‘some’ will only want.

    Welcome to the Democratic Peoples Republic of Aotearoa with

    his Excellency President for Life, Field Marshal Alhaji Dr. Hone John Hatfield Harawira, VC, DSO, MC, CBE as our leader

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  55. iMP (2,364 comments) says:

    Yeah, lets cede history, heritage and sovereignty to glib All Blacks marketing campaigns and logo groupiness. The Silver fern is fine, as embroidery on a shirt, but not our National Flag. If it ain’t broke…

    Quite why people are ‘embarrassed’ about the union jack (Aussies and several other countries cope) is beyond me.

    Rugby
    English
    Our coinage and notes
    Cricket
    Beer
    Sheep
    the Beatles
    Queen and the Queen
    The Conquest of Everest (British expedition)
    Tolkien and Middle-Earth

    ..all Union Jack thingamies.

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  56. Rick Rowling (812 comments) says:

    Following the “everyone internationally identifies the colour / logo with the country” argument, I’m looking forward to the Netherlands adopting an orange flag, Ireland a green shamrock flag, and England a white flag with a rose (or perhaps a British Racing Green flag).

    Or maybe most countries are sophisticated enough to separate nationhood from their popular sports teams.

    /This is not an argument in support of the current flag, but is against the use of the All Blacks’ (TM) logo and colour as our national symbol.

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  57. Manolo (13,580 comments) says:

    The new flag should sport some (charred) skulls and (broken) bones to honour the peaceful natives.

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  58. Pete George (23,476 comments) says:

    Funny Kea, particularly because I’ve been clear what change I prefer and have been actively involved in looking at options, while you seem to be avoiding getting off the fence. You’re a beige hypocrite.

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  59. Fentex (937 comments) says:

    If we want to change, the flag needs to be respectful of our British heritage, not just discard it. I’ve always thought Dick Frizzell’s proposed flag is the best:http://www.nzflag.com/designs_frizzell_old.cfm

    That is a very dull design and not likely to garner support for the idea on the merits of it’s design.

    A flags purpose does not include, at all, a recounting of history – a flags purpose is solely to identify it’s bearers.

    The very successful Canadian maple leaf is an excellent example of design that stands out, achieves it’s purpose, and has no legacy encumbering it. We should be so lucky as to have such a design to choose. I suspect the similarity in concept of the Silver Fern on a solid background is the appeal it has to many.

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  60. Manolo (13,580 comments) says:

    You’re a beige hypocrite.

    The rabid feminist was talking to a mirror.

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  61. Pete George (23,476 comments) says:

    I think the choices should be between:
    – a black, white and red flag depicting a long white cloud with the word ‘Aotearoa’ on it
    – a silver fern on a black background.

    Regardless of which one became the official flag the latter would remain the de facto flag of choice anyway.

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  62. Kea (12,409 comments) says:

    “How about a traditional Maori tiki figure, sitting on top of a hill, with its hand out, receiving payment from grovelling stick figures of every colour, while a mythical taniwha creature twists and turns in the ground beneath their feet?

    LOL :)

    Hay Pete, how about showing us some of those designs you came up with ?

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  63. Fentex (937 comments) says:

    Looking at that http://www.nzflag.com/ site the design I prefer most among it’s offers is (actually the only one I like):

    http://www.nzflag.com/designs_haythornwaite_one.cfm

    A flag should be simple, easy to approximate with limited resources, brightly coloured for easy resolution at distance and in low light, hopefully inspirational enough to lend itself to many variations in design and have preferably a character that speaks to something widely known and/or geographically distinctive about it’s topic.

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  64. JMS (319 comments) says:

    Following the “everyone internationally identifies the colour / logo with the country” argument, I’m looking forward to the Netherlands adopting an orange flag

    Just like ourselves and Australia, the Netherlands have national colours which if used on a flag would help escape the
    dime-a-dozen Red, White and Blue trio. Unfortunately, for obvious reasons, they can’t change the red on their flag to orange.
    But it would look much better.

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  65. Pete George (23,476 comments) says:

    You haven’t said what your preference is yet Kea. Be brave, get off your beige fence and wave your preferred flag.

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  66. Peter (1,699 comments) says:

    How about a flag with the words “Down With Twee Nationalism” on it?

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  67. Jack5 (5,053 comments) says:

    Re Pete George’s 9:53 post ….

    Pete, have you and Big Possum Pete Dunne abandoned the possibility of a possum as the central symbol of a new flag? (I know you would have ruled out Dunne’s suggestion of being the first country in the world with a cellphone on its flag.)

    And, for fuck’s sake Pete, words on a flag? “Aotearoa”? English is the current lingua franca of the world and you would choose the version in a language understood by 0.0001 per cent of overseas people?

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  68. Kea (12,409 comments) says:

    Pete, I want to see some of your designs before deciding.

    I assume they depict the “culture” you frequently claim we have ?

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  69. EAD (1,001 comments) says:

    Hi DPF, I think it would be more constructive if you were to spend more than a few lines writing about why you would be prepared to fight and die for the society and culture that exists in New Zealand today. What would you be fighting for? Atheism? Agnosticism? Nihilism? Apathy? Shopping? Wind Turbines? gay marriage? lowest common denominator education? liberalism? cultural marxism? socialism? housing benefits? urbanisation? political correctness? Government spying? CCTV? more taxes? the moral high ground? Multiculturalism? I would really like to know.

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  70. Pete George (23,476 comments) says:

    Kea, fence, sitting, still.

    Jack5, gets, it, not.

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  71. James Stephenson (2,153 comments) says:

    - a black, white and red flag depicting a long white cloud with the word ‘Aotearoa’ on it

    Words on flags? You surely cannot be serious?

    Still, it’s your flag, you lot can make yourself look like muppets if you want. My flag is white with a big red cross on it.

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  72. kowtow (8,323 comments) says:

    altiora

    The Canadian flag had nothing to do with a disgusting French republican tri colour.

    It was based on a Canadian military college flag.

    Have a look at wiki.

    Even the separatist,divisive trouble making Frogs there seem happy with their old French royalist fleurs de lise and a good old Christian cross through the centre of it ,Allah bless ‘em.

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  73. slightlyrighty (2,471 comments) says:

    I actually quite like the term ‘Aotearoan”

    It’d be handy for picking up hot chicks in backpacking hostels.

    Go on, say it in a deep, smouldering voice….”Hi, My names Kev. I’m Aotearoan”

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  74. James Stephenson (2,153 comments) says:

    Pete, have you and Big Possum Pete Dunne abandoned the possibility of a possum as the central symbol of a new flag?

    A trim red fence diving the flag into white and black halves, with a fat beige possum sitting on it?

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  75. Manolo (13,580 comments) says:

    - a black, white and red flag depicting a long white cloud with the word ‘Aotearoa’ on it

    Fuck no. We don’t need the “mythical” name on our national flag.
    Silly, almost stupid, idea.

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  76. Fentex (937 comments) says:

    Personally I don’t think this is going to get much momentum because just changing a flag in the absence of some driving constitutional reorganization mandating re-identification is hardly a big thing and we don’t have an obvious alternative that would garner easy wide acceptance.

    Meaning I don’t think this is really going to be a thing until NZ gets serious about becoming a Republic, which we just aren’t at the moment in the absence of any crisis.

    I suspect we either have to wait another generation or two until the old fogies are past or there’s a constitutional crisis caused by something like the governor general attempting to dismiss a popular government before our hackles will rise enough to actively pursue these things.

    Which begs the question of what Mr Key is trying to distract people from by floating a silly idea that will only spur a lot of fumious raging?

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  77. Pete George (23,476 comments) says:

    EAD – a sure way to foment happy mischief here is to mention an out of date, bland, indistinguishable flag, a dirge of an anthem that sounds better in it’s non-original language, and an aging and irrelevant monarchy on the other side of the world.

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  78. Manolo (13,580 comments) says:

    United Future leader Peter Dunne said the present flag “smacks of British imperialism” and recommended the Union Jack be removed.

    The leaky fantasist from Karori would prefer Vance’s picture on the flag. :-)

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  79. Roflcopter (456 comments) says:

    Might want to rethink the “black” as the predominant colour. In India, and like countries, it signifies death.

    Go talk to Education NZ about why all their people who travel overseas have to have a white version of the business card, as opposed to the black version as described in the NZ Inc design standards.

    Funny how people say everyone recognises the silver fern at sporting events…. piss off, it’s not the silver fern they recognise, it’s the words “NEW ZEALAND” underneath that gives it away.

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  80. jawnbc (82 comments) says:

    Canada’s maple leaf was not embraced when it was first chosen. Today only the most vile Québec separatists seem to dislike it (many separatists quite like the flag, even if they don’t like being part of Canada). The design was chosen to purposefuilly move beyond the notion of Canada as a British realm. In hindsight it was a brilliant choice.

    South Africa seems to have got it right too.

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  81. JMS (319 comments) says:

    Meaning I don’t think this is really going to be a thing until NZ gets serious about becoming a Republic, which we just aren’t at the moment in the absence of any crisis.

    I agree with a republic. But Canada changed its flag at a time with even less constitutional debate than what we have now.

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  82. Longknives (4,690 comments) says:

    “I think the choices should be between:
    – a black, white and red flag depicting a long white cloud with the word ‘Aotearoa’ on it”

    Sweet Jesus Pete! Have you been into the cooking sherry again this morning??

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  83. Rick Rowling (812 comments) says:

    Slightlyrighty – we need to work on our accents first. Maybe we should have more Spanish or Italian shows on TV.

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  84. Fentex (937 comments) says:

    I think it would be more constructive if you were to spend more than a few lines writing about why you would be prepared to fight and die for the society and culture that exists in New Zealand today. What would you be fighting for? Atheism? Agnosticism? Nihilism? Apathy? Shopping? Wind Turbines? gay marriage? lowest common denominator education? liberalism? cultural marxism? socialism? housing benefits? urbanisation? political correctness? Government spying? CCTV? more taxes? the moral high ground? Multiculturalism? I would really like to know.

    I’ll answer that for myself – I’d be quite happy to fight for my nation that provides the freedoms and liberties for many different ideas and choices to coexist, though I might vote for government that would change some of those things listed it’s responsible for I consider it’s guarantees of individual freedoms and conscience of more import.

    I suspect this topic comes up in a discussion about NZ’s flag because some people recognise our current flag is a symbol of something now past (a loyal subject of a Britain that itself no longer exists in the same form as it did) that they wish they could return to.

    They will have to adjust, the clock is not turning back for them.

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  85. Jack5 (5,053 comments) says:

    Slightlyrighty posted at 10.05:

    I actually quite like the term ‘Aotearoan”

    Many foreigners might take that as an English term for diabetic or bisexual or some such.

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  86. greenjacket (459 comments) says:

    Duggledog wrote: “Not till the last man who fought under the flag in WW2 dies, then we can discuss it”

    Umm, factually NZ troops fought under the British Union flag (or union jack), as NZ was just a Dominion. The flag featuring the southern cross became the national flag when NZ attained independent status after WW2.
    .
    Are you aware that the symbol of the famous NZ Division in WW1 and WW2 was a white fern on a black background? The symbol on every NZ army vehicle and on every sign to indicate the location of a NZ unit was black square with a white silver ferm emblem. In at least two operations, NZ troops were ordered to conceal their identities by concealing their white fern on a black background symbol, and NZ troops were loathe to do so as they were so proud of it, so the Germans were able to quickly identify where the crack NZ Division was moving. When NZ soldiers identified themselves, they did so with the silver fern on a black background. The NZ Army of today proudly carries on this tradition.

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  87. altiora (261 comments) says:

    The fern is NOT the same as the Maple or Japan’s Red Sun. Those two symbols are powerful and simple. The fern by comparison is flat, limp and overly complicated — the worst renditions always seems to resemble blanched spinach.

    And yes flags do represent the past and the future. They are not simply the product of the current generation and its latest aesthetic fads and obsessions. I know that is very hard for some to comprehend in this day of egotism and consumerism. A flag is inspiring because it means as much to our ancestors as it means to us now. That is why many object to changing the current flag — it has been hallowed by time and events.

    I suppose the “the flag represents those who bear it” means we should redesign the flag every 20 years or so.

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  88. Jack5 (5,053 comments) says:

    Fentex posted at 10.20:

    I’d be quite happy to fight for my nation that provides the freedoms and liberties for many different ideas and choices to coexist, though I might vote for government that would change some of those things listed it’s responsible for I consider it’s guarantees of individual freedoms and conscience of more import.

    Whatever army Fentex was in, it would be safer to be on the other side.

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  89. slightlyrighty (2,471 comments) says:

    Rick Rowling.

    I reckon Kevin Smith (RIP) could have made it work.

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  90. Tauhei Notts (1,692 comments) says:

    The only people who confuse the Aussie flag with New Zealand are those who think Russel Norman talks sense.
    I find the Italian and Irish flags a little confusing, but my my colour blindness is very insignificant. Modern day colour printers make them more easily seen, but some old printers had a faded red that looked a bit orange; or an orange that was too much towards red.
    And as regards the union jack in the corner; I note that Helen Clark cannot be leader of the U.N. because she comes from a western European nation. How fuckin far from western Europe can we get, unless we go into outer space?

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  91. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    Rules for a new flag

    1) children have to be able to draw it.

    2) it can’t look like a corporate logo.

    The silver fern is nearly as good as Canada’s maple leaf.

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  92. greenjacket (459 comments) says:

    Paulus: “I am very happy with what we have as a flag.
    Many died in battle representing New Zealand, and this symbolises their valiant effort, sadly in vain, and we should not forget the flag under which they fought.”

    No. The symbol of the NZ Division in WW1 and WW2 was a white silver fern on a black background – that is the symbol they fought with. The flag they fought under as soldiers would have been the King’s Colour of their regiment, which is a Union flag with regimental distinctions. Those soldiers most certainly did NOT fight under the southern cross flag!

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  93. dime (9,856 comments) says:

    “a black, white and red flag depicting a long white cloud with the word ‘Aotearoa’ on it”

    WHAT

    THE

    FUCK

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  94. JMS (319 comments) says:

    The only people who confuse the Aussie flag with New Zealand are those who think Russel Norman talks sense.

    The (our flag is not confusing) Australian Monarchist League couldn’t tell the difference:

    http://www.ausflag.com.au/monarchists_cant_tell.asp

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  95. Jack5 (5,053 comments) says:

    Greenjacket at 10.26 says the silver fern is the symbol of the NZ Army.

    Bullshit. The kiwi is the symbol used by it and by the RNZAF.

    The Crown symbol has always featured strongly in our military heritage. OUr soldiers in World War 1 and World War 2 both called themselves British as well as New Zealanders. We have as our highest military award the Victoria Cross, which is British in origin and was British in fact until abolished by Labour and then reinstated as an NZ version of the Victoria Cross.

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  96. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    EAD – a sure way to foment happy mischief here is to mention an out of date, bland, indistinguishable flag, a dirge of an anthem that sounds better in it’s non-original language, and an aging and irrelevant monarchy on the other side of the world.

    The new anthem should be the “Country Calendar” theme.

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  97. James Stephenson (2,153 comments) says:

    The new anthem should be the “Country Calendar” theme.

    Now we’re getting somewhere. No.8 wire stars on a swandri-checked background.

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  98. ChardonnayGuy (1,199 comments) says:

    Either the silver fern or the koru flag, I think. I’ve never liked the fact that we’re identified as a nation by a small brown flightless bird that’s nearly extinct, and I’d leave the country if that creature was on our flag. But yes, change it. The silver fern is iconic, anyway. It causes fear and trembling amongst rival rugby teams, especially Australians. And our current ensign looks far too much like theirs.

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  99. JMS (319 comments) says:

    @ChardonnayGuy

    I think the Kiwi is great.
    It should be in a prominent position on our Coat of Arms.
    Agree it would be no good on a flag though.

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  100. EAD (1,001 comments) says:

    Why would a government want to re-write history, sever our roots as a country, define a new “identity” for us and slowly erase the collective memory of our European Heritage, the same heritage that gave us all of the freedoms we enjoy (well those at least that haven’t been taken from us by an over-reaching government). The ever prescient George Orwell wrote the following in the Road to Wigan Pier back in 1937:

    “The fact is that Socialism, in the form in which it is now presented, appeals chiefly to unsatisfactory or even inhuman types. On the one hand you have the warm-hearted un-thinking Socialist, the typical working-class Socialist, who only wants to abolish poverty and does not always grasp what this implies. On the other hand, you have the intellectual, book-trained Socialist, who understands that it is NECESSARY TO THROW OUR PRESENT CIVILIZATION DOWN THE SINK and is quite willing to do so. And this type is drawn, to begin with, entirely from the middle class, and from a ROOTLESS town-bred section of the middle class at that”

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions

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  101. big bruv (13,725 comments) says:

    I do find it hilarious that anybody would want to discuss changing the flag. It is not as if we will have any say in it. The flag will be chosen (forced upon us) by Maori.

    For me, I am happy to keep what we have thanks. I do not want a white feather representing our nation nor a commercial logo.

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  102. unitedtribes (30 comments) says:

    Maybe they could deal with the national anthem at the same time

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  103. Steve Wrathall (283 comments) says:

    So all flags must be lowered on Fri night. No campaigning on election day, eh?

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  104. Akaroa (552 comments) says:

    Seen the roundel on RNZAF aircraft?.

    It features a kiwi bird against a red white and blue roundel.

    Sounds like a no-brainer basis for a national flag to me.

    (And, no, before you ask – obviously not a roundel! A red white and blue background to a black kiwi)

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  105. SJM (77 comments) says:

    Bloody typical of NZ politicians, treating national symbols like its their own personal property. Such matters must be a bottom up processes, not driven by the whims of self interested people in positions of power and influence.
    We have a means of expressing our opinion on the matter via referendum, and that is how this matter should be sorted one way or another.

    Our glorious leaders should shut up on this, its a matter for the public to initiate and decide upon, not those who stand to gain from it personally.

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  106. radvad (755 comments) says:

    Just change it already. And all you nay sayers please note, Key is proposing a referendum, not a law change.

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  107. Jack5 (5,053 comments) says:

    Chardonnay Guy posted at 10.43 about the silver fern:

    It causes fear and trembling amongst rival rugby teams…

    What rubbish. Do you even follow rugby, Chardonnay Guy? The Springboks, the Welsh, the French, the Samoans trembling in the face of the All Blacks? Even the Aussies have been known to beat us in rugby union.

    You think other nations would be “in fear and trembling” about NZ if it had a white-feather-like silver fern on pirate-and-Pol-Pot black as its national flag?

    C’mon!

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  108. SJM (77 comments) says:

    unitedtribes (17 comments) says:
    January 30th, 2014 at 10:51 am
    Maybe they could deal with the national anthem at the same time

    ***********************************

    “They” What about you? or the rest of the country?

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  109. wreck1080 (3,884 comments) says:

    For some reason, I wouldn’t like the silver fern for a flag design. Perhaps because of it’s commercial usage??

    I also dislike the maori flag that seems to be in most use – it looks too angry.

    And, I don’t like the current flag either .But, in saying that, it doesn’t bother me much to keep it .

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  110. kowtow (8,323 comments) says:

    slightlyrightly

    That approach will make you Kev from Aotearoa with a nasty dose of gonorrhea.No smouldering voice,just a smouldering dick.

    Aotearoa written on the flag.Imagine the scene at some future Camp Bastion…..

    “…..and here, marching sheepishly in are the less than proud contingent from Gonorreah,oh sorry that’s Aotearoa,should have been emblazoned in larger letters so as not to confuse them with those cunts who spend all their money at the camp brothel.”

    And to go with it new anthem to the tune of the Split Enz song “Six Months with a Dripping Cock” That would be trendy eh?

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  111. stephieboy (2,794 comments) says:

    The dullards on the far right including the CONservative Party and Monarchists will bite.scratch.kick and gnash for the status quo.

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  112. Pete George (23,476 comments) says:

    Are people here arguing against a referendum on the flag?

    The key question at the moment should not be which flag we use, but rather whether we should let the people of New Zealand decide whether we keep our current flag or replace it.

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  113. dime (9,856 comments) says:

    i heard some soundbite on zb. one of their loser hosts (im thinking 12 – 6am).

    “soldiers fought for our country, not some piece of cloth”

    what a dick.

    and if its just a piece of cloth, why the need to change it?

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  114. KevinH (1,219 comments) says:

    The flag debate is a distraction as alluded to by John Key and is best left to discuss post election and be part and parcel of the review of our constitution. Further to that I believe some people are overly fixated on the silver fern and black background in the proposed new flag when alternatives such as a maori spiral or koru set against a green/white background would be distinctive and representative of New Zealand/ Aotearoa. Whatever is chosen will signal a change in mindset to how New Zealanders perceive their national identity and will be exciting as the country evolves in the next generation or two.

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  115. SJM (77 comments) says:

    radvad (575 comments) says:
    January 30th, 2014 at 10:55 am
    Just change it already. And all you nay sayers please note, Key is proposing a referendum, not a law change.

    ****************************************************

    Yeah, Key is proposing, thats the problem, the public are not.

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  116. Dave_1924 (114 comments) says:

    As 1st generation Kiwi of British and Dutch heritage I am frankly very happy with the Union Jack on the flag.

    The UJ recognises this countries foundation via the Treaty where the Maori signatories acknowledged the British crown as sovereign… [yip that will start a fight].

    But more importantly it symbolises the British parliamentary tradition, the Magna Carta, the rejection of slavery [and it was rife in NZ before the British took charge - have a read of any history book on the Musket wars if you don't believe that] and freedom of speech.

    It also recognises the cultural and ethnic linkage a large amount of modern NZers share whether they are of Irish, Scots, Welsh or English or Maori extraction – i.e. a common ancestry traced back to large migrant flows from the UK and the intermarriage of said migrants with Tangata Whenua over a long period of this cvountries history.

    Removing the UJ from the flag is a slap in the face of many who are rightly proud of the linkages with the UK.

    If we want to change the flag, my preference is to add a specifically NZ symbol to the existing flag to highlight NZ’s unique foundation: say a tukutuku pattern symbolising Ranginui and Papatuanuku.

    None of the above denigrates other ethnic strands in the NZ cultural landscape – it just acknowledges historical fact NZ was founded as modern country by Britain and the local Maori.

    If the flag has to change I hope the liberal/leftie, I hate the west and I am ashamed of who I am brigade don’t get to lead the debate as always on this types of matters.

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  117. SJM (77 comments) says:

    Pete George (20,759 comments) says:
    January 30th, 2014 at 11:05 am
    Are people here arguing against a referendum on the flag?

    The key question at the moment should not be which flag we use, but rather whether we should let the people of New Zealand decide whether we keep our current flag or replace it.

    *****************************

    “Let the people of New Zealand Decide”

    Christ have mercy

    Would you like Uncles Key and Cunliffe to let you decide when to have dinner and go to bed as well? Or do you have a mind of your own?

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  118. Nukuleka (307 comments) says:

    If a referendum on the flag were held in conjunction with the general election National would lose traditional National votes to the Conservative or the NZ First parties as John Key would be tarred with the ‘republican’ brush. It would be a foolish move on his part.

    Why on earth should a national flag be seen as some sort of branding exercise? Is Canada any better off for having a leaf on its flag? I identify very strongly with our current flag and believe it should be left as is.

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  119. greenjacket (459 comments) says:

    Jack5 wrote: “Greenjacket at 10.26 says the silver fern is the symbol of the NZ Army.
    Bullshit. The kiwi is the symbol used by it and by the RNZAF.”
    .
    Not quite Jack5. The symbol of the NZ Division in WW1 and WW2 is the silver fern on a black background. You can check it in any book on military insignia or many photos of NZ troops in WW2. It was a symbol that NZ troops in WW1 and WW2 took considerable pride in. It wasn’t only just the official symbol of the NZ Division. Where the NZ Div went, soldiers would paint the famous white fernleaf on black symbol, and clubs/bars at which NZ troops congregated displayed the fernleaf and were nicknamed “fernleaf clubs”.
    That said, the symbol of the NZ troops in the Pacific was a white kiwi on a black background!
    The symbol of the RNZAF is a kiwi in a RAF roundel. Interestingly, when it was first introduced it was hated because it is a flightless bird!
    .
    But my main point is that some people have been claiming that NZ troops in WW1 and WW2 fought under the southern cross flag. That is untrue.

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  120. JMS (319 comments) says:

    @Dave_1924

    Britain didn’t abolish slavery until 1838, a mere two years before the Treaty of Waitangi was signed.

    Tough it is true that the slavery Maori subjected each other to at that time was even more brutal.

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  121. Colville (2,261 comments) says:

    Yeah, Key is proposing, thats the problem, the public are not.

    John Key knows that you never ask a question unless you already know the answer.

    Our beloved PM knows that the Silver Fern Flag would bolt in if a referendum were held and he has made sure that he and the Nats are on the right side of the idea. Its all just positive reinforcement in an election year.

    If ACT or CCCP come out against this idea then all the better, win win win for the Nats as some anti Silver Fern Flag people will come out of the Liarbore camp to vote CCCP or ACT. Sweet.

    Liarbore are not dumb enough to come out against this idea and certianly not the Gweens.

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  122. JMS (319 comments) says:

    @greenjacket

    but the Kiwi painted on the side of some F-16s would have been a great understatement.

    Instead we have the Haka, a grotesque overstatement.

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  123. SJM (77 comments) says:

    greenjacket (295 comments) says:

    .
    But my main point is that some people have been claiming that NZ troops in WW1 and WW2 fought under the southern cross flag. That is untrue.

    **********************************

    That makes about as much sense as saying that because British forces fought under their regimental standards at Waterloo, so that’s what the UK flag should be, on a rotational basis; This year being the turn of the Coldstream Guards.

    The armed forces have a number of different symbols, it does not mean they are suitable as a flag for the entire country.

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  124. wf (428 comments) says:

    I quite liked the Hundertwasser design. Green, white and blue pastels. Land of the Long White Cloud and all that.

    This poem, from a roadside notice board in the Northern Territory. Aussies aren’t afraid to wear their hearts on their sleeves

    Our flag bears the stars that blaze at night
    In our southern sky of blue,
    And a little old flag in the corner
    That’s part of our heritage too;
    It’s for the English the Scots and the Irish,
    Who sailed to the ends of the earth:
    The rogues and the schemers,
    The doers and dreamers,
    Who gave modern Australia birth.
    And you who are shouting to change it
    Who don’t seem to understand
    It’s the flag of our law and our language
    Not the flag of a faraway land,
    Though plenty of people will tell you
    That when Europe was plunged into night
    That little old flag in the corner
    Was their symbol of freedom and llight.
    It does not mean we own allegiance
    To a forgotten Imperial dream.
    We’ve got the stars to show where we’re going,
    And the old flag to show where we’ve been

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  125. SJM (77 comments) says:

    Colville (1,528 comments) says:
    January 30th, 2014 at 11:24 am

    John Key knows that you never ask a question unless you already know the answer.

    ******************************************

    Yeah, and that’s the problem, we let politicians do our thinking for us.

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  126. Alan (1,087 comments) says:

    We don’t presently have a union jack on our flag.

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  127. Colville (2,261 comments) says:

    I wonder if DPF did the polling on this question for the Nats? :-)

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  128. Pete George (23,476 comments) says:

    The use of the silver fern dates back to the Boer War (1899-1902) and as greenjacket says was commonly used as a distinctive symbol of New Zealand in WW1.

    http://www.diggerhistory.info/pages-badges/new_zealand.htm

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  129. Fentex (937 comments) says:

    we let politicians do our thinking for us

    I find this an odd thing to write. Presumably authors of such don’t think what politicians tell them to, otherwise how could they complain?

    I think it’s a complaint that the authors wishes don’t always win through the hurly burly of political intrigue, obfuscation and wheeling and dealing that mashing the desires and competition of many together involves.

    The society and government we have is itself a compromising compromise evolved to protect us from incessant warring over our differences, it isn’t a flaw that we don’t always get what we each want.

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  130. backster (2,152 comments) says:

    It hardly seems appropriate to change the flag in the year of the centennial of Gallipoli. Would our guard of honour over there be expected to pay homage to a symbol other than that they fought under.

    To satisfy cultural needs a new flag could have a design of a tattooed maori face with tongue poking out….I am sure Tama Iti would model for a Koha.

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  131. ChardonnayGuy (1,199 comments) says:

    Jack5:
    Au contraire. You should have seen one quite amusing graphic when New Zealand passed marriage equality while France was still being terrorised by neofascists, conservative Catholics and their ilk over marriage equality last year. It had a weak-kneed antigay protestor suddenly scared by an image of large, hulking All Blacks when it was announced that we’d beaten them to it over marriage equality. And I’m a Cantabrian. Of course I follow rugby! Do ursines defecate in the forest??

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  132. OneTrack (3,023 comments) says:

    “If the flag has to change I hope the liberal/leftie, I hate the west and I am ashamed of who I am brigade don’t get to lead the debate as always on this types of matters.”

    But they will.

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  133. wreck1080 (3,884 comments) says:

    I reckon we should change the flag annually. We could celebrate national events such as RWC/Americas cup or our flora/fauna each year. The maoris could get a turn too.

    We’d be the first country to do so, and we’d become rather well noted for such innovative thinking.

    I guess the cost is a bit high though, but would be cool.

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  134. SPC (5,595 comments) says:

    Some on the right love the symbols of traditional power and authority more than some of their fellow Kiwis.

    What George Orwell had to say about the rootless middle class had pertinence, but so would some comment about the rooted middle class that was conditioned to service to the majesty of their superiors and bowed to their betters with all the toadying grace of the clingy stuff that their betters used capes to avoid stepping on.

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  135. Albert_Ross (274 comments) says:

    Still don’t understand why John Key is raising this at all. What is he trying to distract the media from reporting and people from thinking about? The state of the economy? Labour and Green Party policy pronouncements? I should have thought that the more people focus on either, the more likely they are to vote National.

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  136. Bad__Cat (140 comments) says:

    Let’s future proof it – black for the AB’s with a star & crescent for when the Muslims take over

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  137. Viking2 (11,413 comments) says:

    why would we want a depressing black flag with a piece of weed(fern) on it.

    We can and should do better.

    after all how many of you are bits of bush?

    NZ is a nation of 200 ethnicities. Surely we can think of something that represents that and that we are known all round the world as Kiwi’s
    You know that Iconic symbol of NZ that has served us for about 4 generations and is our very own native unlike all the ethnicites!

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  138. Jack5 (5,053 comments) says:

    Pete George at 11.45 goes back to the Boer War to authenticate use of the silver (not white) fern as an NZ symbol, but rejects historical arguments in support of the present flag.

    But which flag were on coffins at formal military funerals in the Boer War, and the two world wars, Pete? Obviously it was the Union Jack.

    And Pete George is a late convert to referenda/referendums.

    Pete George on his own blog 12 March 2013 on the asset sales referendum,:

    …The petition is a paper tiger, a powerless pile of paper. ..

    Pete must believe it is okay for politicians to pick and choose among which referenda/referendums they will accept. That is that they are a politician’s con.

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  139. Harriet (4,857 comments) says:

    LOL

    Flags are an outdated Egyptian designed form of communication. They have nothing to do with NZ.

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  140. SJM (77 comments) says:

    Fentex (485 comments) says:

    I find this an odd thing to write. Presumably authors of such don’t think what politicians tell them to, otherwise how could they complain?

    I think it’s a complaint that the authors wishes don’t always win through the hurly burly of political intrigue, obfuscation and wheeling and dealing that mashing the desires and competition of many together involves.

    The society and government we have is itself a compromising compromise evolved to protect us from incessant warring over our differences, it isn’t a flaw that we don’t always get what we each want.

    ****************************************

    Of course society is a compromise, and no, you cannot always get what you want and you can even complain, but so what, its not like it matters.

    I stand by my comments about politicians doing our thinking for us.
    Because Parliament is sovereign and has near absolute power over our lives, its legitimacy based on the size of a bribe of our own money every three years. Except this year, when the government plans to bribe us with the possibility of the colour of a piece of fabric, that they will choose for us. People mistake bribery for democracy, its not, it is impotence

    So you go ahead and complain, if you bitch loudly enough maybe you too can get a nice big bribe of your own money to keep you quiet, while government gets on with running your life without so much as a ‘by your leave’.

    This flag business? Nothing but a cunning plan amounting to bread and circuses.

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  141. Dave_1924 (114 comments) says:

    @JMS:
    “Britain didn’t abolish slavery until 1838, a mere two years before the Treaty of Waitangi was signed.
    Tough it is true that the slavery Maori subjected each other to at that time was even more brutal”

    I understand it was a late breaker in the UK relative to NZ being founded – but Wilberforce had been campaigning to get rid of it for quite awhile – and the idea of abolition had struck home deeply with a number of Brits and influenced their attitudes to colonisation.

    I suppose the point I am making is Britain has been central to this countries emergence, it delivered a huge amount of good to NZ and throwing out the Union Jack which succinctly symbolises the linkage because some people are ashamed of their heritage doesn’t sit well with me.

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  142. Pete George (23,476 comments) says:

    Jack – this explains the difference between Government initiated referenda and Citizen initiated referenda – http://www.elections.org.nz/voting-system/referenda

    The more CIR we have the more flawed they get.

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  143. lolitasbrother (669 comments) says:

    the flag stays as is

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  144. Jack5 (5,053 comments) says:

    Alan posted a 11.33:

    We don’t presently have a union jack on our flag.

    Can you clarify what you mean in that statement, please Alan. I’m puzzled when I compare it with the following:

    From the Ministry for Culture and Heritage web site: The New Zealand Flag has a royal blue background with a Union Jack in the first quarter

    From NZ History Online : The Union Jack in the first quarter.

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  145. JMS (319 comments) says:

    @Dave_1924

    Yes I agree colonisation was on balance a clear benefit to most Maori.
    It’s disgraceful how our education system condemns colonisation, conceals the truly brutal nature of pre-colonial NZ and dismisses the European contribution to our culture.

    That said, I would rather we remained true to history than to any particular symbols.

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  146. slightlyrighty (2,471 comments) says:

    http://sphotos-c.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/t1/1619348_10202746075034166_1460059453_n.jpg

    Just found this doing the rounds and I like it. Just make the stars red.

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  147. David Garrett (7,110 comments) says:

    144 comments on this bullshit non issue….If nothing else, it illustrates that if there is nothing else more substantive to discuss, whether we should get a new flag, and if so what kind, will capture the public’s attention…
    I recall clark used to do this, when she wanted to distract attention from something more important…

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  148. Jack5 (5,053 comments) says:

    Pete George posted of citizens initiated referenda at 12.55:

    the more CIR [citizens initiated referenda] we have the more flawed they get.

    And the link PG provided IMHO suggests the State discourages citizens initiated referenda compared with those set up by the politicians.

    Via Wikipedia we read this statement on referenda by British Conservative politician Chris Patten, now Lord Patten:

    They undermine Westminster. What they ensure, as we saw in the last election, is if you have a referendum on an issue politicians during an election campaign say oh we’re not going to talk about that, we don’t need to talk about that, that’s all for the referendum.

    Under the Patten view, John Key with his referendum talk, possibly is merely trying to sideline the issue in election year. I have my doubts, though.

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  149. SJM (77 comments) says:

    David Garrett (4,581 comments) says:
    January 30th, 2014 at 1:09 pm
    144 comments on this bullshit non issue….If nothing else, it illustrates that if there is nothing else more substantive to discuss, whether we should get a new flag, and if so what kind, will capture the public’s attention…

    *********************************

    Hear hear!
    Bread and circuses for everyone in election year!

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  150. James Stephenson (2,153 comments) says:

    From NZ History Online : The Union Jack in the first quarter.

    It’s the Union Flag and only a “Jack” when flown from the Jack Staff of a ship (the pole at the top of the bow).

    HTH and all that.

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  151. David Garrett (7,110 comments) says:

    Let’s really get down to the nitty gritty and discuss the proper TERM for the existing flag…that’s pretty important…

    Did you know Rutherford didn’t actually split the atom, he only knocked a bit off it…and opined that anyone who said you could get energy from such fission was talking “moonshine”…. Does anyone care about that bit of the story??

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  152. Pete George (23,476 comments) says:

    Jack5 – I suspect that CIR were set up by politicians so they wouldn’t be effective. And they aren’t. Far too slow, far too limited in scope, a single question for both a petition and a referendum results in something both meaningless and meaning anything to anyone, as as we have seen with the last one they are able to be hijacked by the politicians themselves.

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  153. grumpyoldhori (2,362 comments) says:

    Dear god just how thick are some of you, suggesting that pakeha in the 2 Div used the NZ flag on trucks etc.
    ALL THE Div used the fern on their vehicles .

    Go with the fern and a small union jack in the corner.

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  154. Jack5 (5,053 comments) says:

    Grumpy (2.01 post), I think you’ll find the NZ troops in Afghanistan had NZ flag patches plus separate round kiwi symbols on the upper arms of their combat uniforms.

    In the Second World War Eighth Army, of Commonwealth forces, they would know what the fern stood for. On multination duty such as in Afghanistan, alongside Americans, Poles, and what have you, a fern would probably have been puzzling.

    The union jack in the corner of the flag symbol, and the kiwi, far better known internationally, would be safer identification for friendly troops.

    If you wanted to puzzle other countries troops you might have a white fern on a black patch with “Aotearoa” written underneath.

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  155. Pete George (23,476 comments) says:

    New Zealand war graves have a silver fern on them: http://www.teara.govt.nz/files/p-10912-enz.jpg

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  156. Jack5 (5,053 comments) says:

    Re Pete at 2.33

    The symbol on the war graves looks like a grey embossed fern on grey to me.

    However, the gravestones have a far bigger cross. On your argument we should have a big cross on the flag.

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  157. Pete George (23,476 comments) says:

    The cross is universal – not unique to us. The fern is distinctly New Zealand to New Zealanders and to many others.

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  158. Jack5 (5,053 comments) says:

    Pete George says the Cross is universal (2.37 post). Try saying that loudly in Riyadh or Mecca or Bagdad.

    But Pete also says “the fern is distinctly New Zealand.”

    There are 12,000 species of fern in the world. Everyone’s got a bloody fern. How can it be distinctly New Zealand?

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  159. Pete George (23,476 comments) says:

    You’re right Jack, the cross as depicted isn’t universal, but it is very widely used.

    I don’t think there’s any other country that uses a fern for a country emblem.

    There’s an abundance of maple leaves on trees but only one country uses it as a flag symbol, and it is widely perceived to be unique to Canada when used in that way.

    If you start to claim common symbolic use as a negative for a flag then our current flag has is very common.

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  160. gump (1,634 comments) says:

    @Jack5

    How many other countries have a fern leaf on their flag?

    It would be a unique choice.

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  161. Than (463 comments) says:

    I would support changing the flag, but I strongly dislike the suggested process. The government picking the design of the new flag and our only choices being that or the status quo? No thanks.

    It should be done similarly to how the change of voting system to MMP was handled. During an election add a multi-choice question, “Which of these designs would you most like to see as the NZ flag” to the voting papers. Whatever design gets the most votes would then go head to head with the current flag at the next election.

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  162. Jack5 (5,053 comments) says:

    Pete (3.05) says the maple isn’t solely a Canadian tree. That’s true, but where does maple syrup come from – overwhelmingly Canada. In the international mind the maple’s as much Canadian as cedars are Lebanon (and a cedar is on the Lebanese flag, too).

    Ferns are nowhere near as primarily associated with NZ as the maple is with Canada or the cedar with Lebanon.

    If you wanted a tree with big international associations with NZ (at least commercially) you would go for Pinus radiata, originally the Monterey pine, but re-engineered NZ and now being raised in several countries including Australia and Chile. Crap wood compared with the solid English oak, but it’s Kiwi.

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  163. dime (9,856 comments) says:

    I turned on radio live about an hour ago as i popped up the road for some scooby snacks..

    What do i hear?

    Some maori reading out the meaning of every element in the maori flag.

    Dime doesnt want to hear any bitching from people who vote for a new flag and end up with some maori abomination that has all the finesse of a gang patch

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  164. Pete George (23,476 comments) says:

    If you turn your head sideways you can always imagine the fern is a pine tree.

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  165. grumpyoldhori (2,362 comments) says:

    Jack5, you are arguing that Australians in Afghanistan would not know what the fern stood for ?
    Even the ninth armoured brigade a British outfit used the fern when they came under Freyberg’s command at El Elamain.

    And the 28th Batt when attached to the Aussies during the second attack at El Elamain used the fern on their trucks.

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  166. Jack5 (5,053 comments) says:

    re Pete George at 3.32:

    Pete, being from the Possum Party, you’ll know all about radiata pine and ferns. I bow to your opinion there.

    Re Grumpy at 3.39: You are right about World War 2, Grumpy, but our guys (and gals), no longer chiefly fight alongside other Commonwealth units. You are right the British are knowledgeable about the fern symbol, and about many other aspects of NZ and of the culture of Maori, whom they seem typically to regard as family.

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  167. rouppe (967 comments) says:

    Personally I would recoil from a black flag. Black is the colour of darkness. I don’t think any other flag has a predominately black background or feature. Yes I know the black jersey/skirt/sticks/caps and whatever have largely black uniforms but I don’t think its appropriate for the flag.

    I quite like the silver fern, but I think it would look just as good on a blue flag, the same colour as our current one. I also think the southern cross should be retained within it somehow.

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  168. Pete George (23,476 comments) says:

    rouppe – you might like something like this then:
    http://sphotos-c.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/t1/1619348_10202746075034166_1460059453_n.jpg

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  169. rouppe (967 comments) says:

    Yes, Pete. Something like that would be suitable. I think a bigger prominence of the southern cross so that it is more part of it rather than a minor adjunct, but generally speaking that’d be fine.

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  170. Reid (16,290 comments) says:

    Why have this when you could have this or this or this because quite frankly, the silver fern on black will tell the rest of the world that actually, we’re all like this, and who the heck wants that?

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  171. itstricky (1,800 comments) says:

    JK: sh*t bro. This Labour baby bribe has been on the front page for a week now. Wadda we do?
    SJ: Let’s pull a number one out of the storage cupboard
    JK: You mean the flag one?
    SJ: Yeah bro yeah
    JK: It’s the only one we’ve got left though. What happens when we need another distraction in August?
    SJ: Gotta play them trumps when you can bro I mean Labour probably don’t have any other policies.

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  172. RightNow (6,986 comments) says:

    @ itstricky – do you think they’re having this little chat while passing around a bong too?

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  173. RightNow (6,986 comments) says:

    dime “…all the finesse of a gang patch”

    SJ: Shit bro, why not have a bulldog or a clenched fist for our flag? Let the world know we’re hard as bro.
    JK: Mangu Kaha muthafuckaz!

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  174. Than (463 comments) says:

    JK: sh*t bro. This Labour baby bribe has been on the front page for a week now. Wadda we do?

    SJ: Sit back with a beer, and hope that trainwreck of a policy announcement stays in on the front page for another week.

    Seriously, why on earth would John Key want to distract the media while the main political story is Cunliffe being caught out trying to mislead people?

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  175. BlairM (2,321 comments) says:

    Copying anything Canada does is invariably a bad idea.

    Can we at least agree to NO KORUS?! NO KORUS!! NO KORUS!!!! Korus are ludicrous left wing hippie affectations that make me want to puke my God-fearing, meat-eating, martini-slurping right wing guts out. Every government department logo has one – is that not enough?!!!

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  176. V (701 comments) says:

    A flag change should only be considered if we do something like get a constitution together, and as there is no chance in hell of that happening anytime soon, leave the damn flag as it is!

    A pathetic issue to be concearning the PM and I seriously wonder if he should resign seeing as if raising this issue he is hoisting the flag to signal that he is all out of ideas.

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  177. Scott (1,780 comments) says:

    I look forward to a new flag, black, the colour of piracy, a white feather, a symbol of cowardice. I look forward to the new flag of the socialist Republic of Aotearoa being hoisted high by Helen Clark, president for life.

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  178. Scott1 (528 comments) says:

    We don’t need this debate and it is a waste of money and time – even worse if we actually change the flag. the fact that John Key indicated he favored the black one goes to show how little though he had actually put into the idea.

    The government should not raise such issues for referendum unless there is a big move towards it that is centered around one particular option.

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  179. itstricky (1,800 comments) says:

    @ itstricky – do you think they’re having this little chat while passing around a bong too?

    Spot on. “Pull a number one out of the cupboard” was a euphemism for something else.

    Big fat one for you (up tick that is)

    EDIT : Actually two big fat ones – that JK: Maunga kaha muthafucka line is absolutely priceless! I’m still chuckling

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  180. itstricky (1,800 comments) says:

    Seriously, why on earth would John Key want to distract the media while the main political story is Cunliffe

    All publicity is good publicity my friend, as they say, or someone says at least. And they say a whooole bunch of other things that probably aren’t true but sound really good.

    Coincidence? I think not. Just trolley out the flag debate every time you want to take a breather. In fact, now that I look up through these posts, everybody’s favourite poster Mr David Garrett says the same thing – everytime Helen got in to a spot of bother she’d wheel out the flag debate or some equally dividing, yet pleasant, topic that involved everybody so that we could all “have our say” and convieniently just forget about what else was happening at the time. Politicians – they must think we were born yesterday! Hold on, there’s now 180 comments here… …maybe we were born yesterday…

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  181. itstricky (1,800 comments) says:

    the fact that John Key indicated he favored the black one goes to show how little though he had actually put into the idea.

    My thoughts exactly. Really, you want THAT? Or are you just trying to be “cool” and appeal to all those hip youngsters who’d like a flag with abstract art on it?

    JK: Dude, wadda ya think of this gnarly black and silver one?
    SJ: Yeah, it’s a little you know, like, colourless, like, for me. And it looks kinda like the thing that dude McCaw wears, a?
    JC: Boys, don’t you know Black is just sooooooo yesterday? Aubergine is the new black. How about Aubergine with a green tiki in front?
    SJ: Wicked Jude! Wicked!
    JK: Sweet dudes and dudettes, I’ll get the Parlimentary Art “supplies” out of “the cupboard” and we can start designing it now.
    JC: Boys, where did I put my lighter?

    Seriously, are they really advocating flags that have the sort of lack of distinction that we’d need to change them every couple of years to keep “up with the trends”?

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  182. ciaron (1,423 comments) says:

    This?!, some of you actually want this as our flag?!!

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  183. Than (463 comments) says:

    All publicity is good publicity my friend, as they say, or someone says at least.

    And that somebody is completely wrong. Is the publicity Len Brown or John Banks got good publicity? How about the publicity Shearer got from holding up those snapper in parliament?

    And National has particular reason to want Cunliffe to get this publicity, because it’s starting to form a pattern. He has already been caught out manipulating his CV, and a couple of times saying something to one audience then something else to the next one. Now we have him trying to mislead people over the baby bonus policy. He clearly has no qualms about deliberately deceiving people when it suits him, and as the public starts to realise that his personal popularity (and probably by extension Labour’s polling) will take a hit.

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  184. Scott (1,780 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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  185. Ben Dover (526 comments) says:

    Hey if you don’t want it you don’t deserve it

    Do whatever your socialist communist zionist

    “centre right” task masters tell you all to do
    while they pull the wool over your eyes and sell you down the dunnie
    to communist china

    and while you are at it consider legalising marrying sheep

    and sell another bunch of farms to the commies while you are at it

    What a crock was there a discussion about the
    Tino_rangatiratanga flag

    Hey they changed the meaning of that now from
    ‘maori sovereignty’

    to ‘absolute sovereignty’

    Are you still worshipping the Cloak given to the
    Mass Murderer Chairman Mao

    You get the government you deserve and you can wave what ever
    flag you like

    Yeah we all know the course the traitors have plotted for the Pacific come 2030

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  186. Fentex (937 comments) says:

    Speaking of options for a new flag, it occurs to me the wonderful logo from the 1974 Commonwealth games should be a contender.

    Nice drop in replacement for the Union flag.

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  187. RRM (9,834 comments) says:

    January called, they said “Can they have their thread back please?”

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  188. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    I do not know what Mr Key’s motivation is for changing that flag, but I can’t help but feel the timing for this discussion, like that of becoming a republic is entirely wrong.

    I totally agree with other commentators, I am very proud of our roots. I think the current flag demonstrates that connection and provides the geographical aspect as well.

    Key’s black and white suggestion is totally uninspiring – I am not sure what kind of distraction this is meant to be, or whether Key has just been mislead by some uninformed advisers, but making this an issue for the election at this time is a really bad idea.

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  189. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    ciaron (1,141 comments) says:
    January 31st, 2014 at 7:15 am
    This?!, some of you actually want this as our flag?!!

    Yes, apparently so. IMO that suggestion is too bland, too simplistic, and doesn’t represent NZ as innovative, colourful, scenic, or any of the other wonderful things we are. And it could be mistaken for a badly drawn feather.

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  190. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    David Garrett (4,879 comments) says:
    January 30th, 2014 at 1:09 pm
    144 comments on this bullshit non issue….

    I have to agree, but it did occur to me that maybe it is an attempt to find something that our very torn nation can agree on – which appears to be ‘don’t change the blardy flag’.

    IF we are going to have a referendum on this, perhaps we could include

    1. Which side of the road should we drive on? Left or Right
    2. Should Parliament be moved to Auckland?
    3. The South Island is starting to cost us a bit of money – should we keep it or set it free?
    4. Whatever else?

    and other similar bar room quandaries. If we are going to have a trivial referendum, lets clean it all up in one go.

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