It isn’t just because the proposed new flag is ugly. Although it is, in my view, ugly. It looks like a company logo designed at a brain storming session in the tearoom and then mocked up on someone’s computer. It doesn’t inspire me, or speak to me. I think it looks like something you’d see at a display stand for a company that doesn’t understand what good design means.
If we wanted something awesome, we should have got a team of designers to come up with something that speaks to who we are. At the very least there should have been a designer on the panel appointed to select the flags we got to choose from.
There wasn’t. Not one.
It isn’t just because the RSA don’t want it, but that’s a pretty good reason all by itself. These are the men and women who went off to foreign fields and fought to protect the freedoms we all enjoy (including the freedom to change our flag) and I think their view holds special weight.
It isn’t because I’m opposed to change. I’m not. I love change. I love the practice of periodically rethinking what we’re doing, how we’re doing it, and whether there might be a better way. I’ve tried to live my life doing just that.
It isn’t about the politics of whether I do or don’t like John Key. That would be a silly basis on which to make a decision like this.
The real reason I voted to keep the flag is that it is, I believe, a shameful waste of money. Absolutely shameful.
If we were a rich country, and we could afford everything we really need, then that would be one thing, but we’re not. We can’t afford life-saving melanoma drugs. We can’t afford better buildings for schools which have been waiting years to have damp and crappy classrooms replaced. We can’t afford all the hip replacements, knee replacements, ear operations and a gazillion other medical procedures people need that they can’t get. We can’t afford to fund the kind of science and research that we desperately need to be doing if we’re ever going to lift our economy to where it could be. We can’t afford to properly fund social service agencies doing incredibly important work in our communities all over the country every single day.
I could go on for days and days and days about all the important things we should have but we can’t afford.
And it isn’t just the cost of the referendum, it’s the cost of replacing all the flags on all the buildings, and uniforms, and letterheads, and a hundred other places the NZ flag appears. No one has said how much that cost will be.
Still, even if it was just the cost of the referendum itself, I would still be voting no.
It is, I believe, shameful, so I voted to keep the flag.
AN UPDATE FOR THE PEOPLE WHO DIDN'T READ THE POST PROPERLY:
Just for all the people who keep saying the money is already spent... it isn't. If you'd read the above post you would have seen my argument that we've spent $26m on the referendum but there is still many millions more we will have to spend actually changing the flag. So the money isn't already spent. Some of it is, but there are millions more to come if we did actually change it.
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New Zealand has voted to retain our current flag and I’m proud that more than 2 million New Zealanders participated in this important discussion and referendum on our national identity. Now a flag has been decided I encourage all New Zealanders to use it, embrace it and, more importantly, be proud of it.
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We spent $26m on the referendum, and I'm sure some people will say that's just the price of democracy. I think it was the price of something... I'm just not sure it was democracy.
I think it would have been the price of democracy if there had been a significant pre-existing public mood to change the flag. There wasn't. So, in my view, whatever kicked all this off... it wasn't democracy.
In any case that's all moot now.
On the bright side, we may have spent $26m on the referendum, but at least we won't have to spend all those many more millions of dollars actually changing the flag.
Speaking of which... I wonder who I can email now with ideas for spending all that money we won't need to spend on changing the flag? I've got lots of ideas...
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