The flag conspiracy theories

Henry Cooke at Stuff reports:

THEORY ONE: THE FLAG HAS ALREADY BEEN DECIDED, JUST LOOK AT THIS TV SCREEN

This theory is probably the most fun. A Facebook photo – incontrovertibly from September of 2013 – shows Kyle Lockwood’s red and blue silver fern design on a TV at a Vietnamese hotel, set up for a photo with two New Zealand guests. There’s a clearer version here.

Even if it was Photoshopped, which it doesn’t at all look like it was, how on Earth did they upload it back in time? Seems like the decision was already been made back then, huh.

Does this prove that the whole democratic process is an illusion? Not quite.

A campaign for the silver fern flag has existed for many years, as has this specific design. Kyle Lockwood’s Facebook page for a redesign goes back to 2009.

It seems likely that the picture is not in fact Photoshopped or faked, but that instead, the hotel staff searched “New Zealand flag” in Google Images and found one they liked.

Heh, just like the time that an athelete from Kazakhstan won a medal at a sporting competition, and the national anthem they played was not the official one, but one they found on the Internet. It was from the movie Borat, and highly offensive!

THEORY TWO: REMOVING THE UNION JACK GIVES JOHN KEY UNPARALLELED POWER

This theory is a touch more hardcore than the photo one, as it requires a fair bit of reading to really understand.

It posits that removing the Union Jack from the flag removes the “due authority” of the Crown in government matters, as the Union Jack represents the monarchy.

Of course, theorist Ben Vidgen knows that most of us aren’t exactly royalists, and that royal assent is more a rubber stamp than a check on the executive, so he links the change to the power of the courts in ruling against the Government. Smart.

“A change of flag means not only that we have taken a major step to removing the DUE AUTHORITY of the crown. It also means we take away the very power which enforces both the 1990 Bill of Rights Act (the closest thing NZ has to an entrenched Constitution) and the founding plank upon which the Treaty of Waitangi has meaning.”

This one falls into the lunatic conspiracy theory space.

THEORY THREE: THIS IS ALL A SMOKESCREEN FOR THE TPPA

You’ll see this one in pretty much any comment section open on a Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPPA) story.

While all this flag talk is going on, a trade deal which could drastically change New Zealand is being negotiated.

The details are secret yet we’re all sitting around discussing a symbol, laughing at laser kiwis and complaining about the $27m price tag. Seems a little convenient, hmm?

There is no doubt that the Government is happy to talk about almost anything that isn’t the TPPA.

No politician likes talking about secret international negotiations all that much.

But do you really think our politicians are competent enough to pull a proper smokescreen off? Did they intentionally stall TPPA talks, which were supposed to wrap up in 2012, then again in July this year, just to line up the timelines perfectly?

The TPP negotiations have been underway since Phil Goff started them in 2008. One could claim anything in the last seven years is a distraction from the TPP.

Also Bryce Edwards has had his own fun little conspiracy theory:

Bryce was just having fun, but it has led some to saying it must be some sort of conspiracy that I knew what the panel would decide.

I’ve been supporting a new flag since before John Key was even an MP. And over the years I’ve blogged quite a few alternative designs people have sent me.

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