Saturday, 4 July 2015


The anti-flag-change brigade are in desperation mode

CAUTION: Parental supervision is recommended for young readers

In a previous blog post the case for changing the New Zealand flag was outlined. Now the case against change is put to readers.
The New Zealand flag since 1902

Facebook has emerged as the leading forum for anti-flag change debates with several groups listed including ‘Keep the NZ Flag the way it is’ with 14 year-old Jordan John Cleaver from Dunedin leading the group, which he calls a political party. Whatever side of the debate one may be on, Jordan deserves credit for making a stand.

Another Facebook community is called, ‘Don’t Change NZ’s Flag! No . . .’ This group claims 2,600 members and the administrators are Leah Mexted, Catt Claw and Louise Heremia, all of whom appear to be Google non-entities. Other groups include ‘Leave the NZ flag alone’ and ‘Hands Off The NZ Flag.’ No doubt there are many other groups too but, like the pro-change lobby, they are not unified under a national organisation.
The Australian flag since 1901

A study of Facebook flag groups reveals certain trends in the comments posted. The pro-change people tend to put forward reasoned and mostly factual arguments in a respectful manner, but they are often countered by irrational, false assumptions expressed with foul and venomous insults, and charges of disloyalty. It is often almost a case of, ‘How dare you accuse God of wearing the latest fashions.’

A famous New Zealand Prime Minister, Richard Seddon, once described New Zealand as ‘God’s own country’ and many New Zealanders now seem to regard the current New Zealand flag as ‘God’s own flag’ and therefore any suggestion that the flag should change is an insult to God, even though the current flag is the third official flag of New Zealand, and not all New Zealanders believe in God.
One of thousands of proposed flag designs

Some of the anti-flag-change comments appear to reflect an attitude that insists that the commentator was born on the only day when the world was perfect in every respect, and therefore nothing should ever be allowed to change from that day forward. For some people the fact that the world is continually changing, and mostly for the better, is just too much for them to stomach. They would rather be living in caves with empty stomachs and a life expectancy of twenty years.

But enough of that. Here are some of the comments that I have received from the anti-flag-change brigade. I put their case:

Steve: “In my view there is NO NEED TO CHANGE the flag!”

Steve: “We have a flag that represents all citizens and permanent residents.”
Peter Blakeborough

(But, Steve, there is nothing on the current New Zealand flag that represents Maori (the indigenous race of New Zealand) or descendants of immigrants from Africa, Asia, mainland Europe, the Pacific or the Americas)

Craig: “Strangely, you don’t seem to want anything that has our history about it. I think you actually need another country maybe, Peter. And when you arrive there, wherever it is, you can get a new flag because you arrived.”

Max:  I agree with Craig.... Peter has got it "IN FOR" New Zealand in big way and I am thinking the same... Why the Hell stay here?

Max: “A loyal Kiwi would not belittle and denigrate our national flag and ridicule the people who stand up for what their forebears fought and died for. You do not show yourself as being a very loyal Kiwi in this matter at all.”

(Perhaps those soldiers served so that we may have the freedom to debate, and change through the democratic process, the things that we think could be done better)

Max: “You haven’t seen any abusive trash from me.”

Max: “If you want abusive trash, play with your own balls. Play with whatever you like, but leave our flag alone!”

Steve: “I have never seen a silver fern draped over a soldier’s coffin. I can’t believe people can be so disrespectful to those that have served.”

(But you will see the silver fern one the gravestones of fallen soldiers, and on the uniforms of living soldiers)

Trent: “Yeah, sorry, mate. Changing the flag should be on the bottom of the list of priorities for NZ. $26 million should be spent on more important things like Christchurch, doctors and nurses, decent roading and better road rules”

(Out of an annual government expenditure of $76 billion, $26 million is a drop in the ocean and not even anywhere near one percent. Government spends large and small amounts in many areas because government can never be a single issue business, even though some government critics have one-track minds)

Les: “Would Americans change their flag? No way in hell! So why should we?”

(Les is factually wrong. Americans did change their flag, after they defeated the British and became an independent nation in 1776)
Continued below . . . 

Kevin: “Anyone with brains can recognise the NZ flag.”

(Overseas surveys have found that most people do not recognise the New Zealand flag. Most think it is the Australian flag or the British flag. Even some Kiwis interviewed didn’t know the difference)

Max: “Bullshit! My family fought for the flag and it is insulting to put it down. You are like a cracked record, Peter.”

Noel: “Well simple answer, Peter. Move to a non-Commonwealth country and you will possibly be better off, or come running back.”

(Peter will expect to see a lot of these anti-flag-change stirrers leaving New Zealand after the flag changes)

Pat: “John Key is way out of touch with mainstream New Zealanders with this one.”

(John Key, as Prime Minister, has more than three times the popular support of his nearest rivals for the post, and he is now well into his third term as PM)

Mark: “Stick to our Old Glory. Done the job for over 100 years now.”

(But that’s the problem, Mark. Our watered-down British flag has failed in its job. It is almost never seen flying from a house anywhere in New Zealand. For a hundred years New Zealanders have tolerated it without really supporting it, because it is not distinctly New Zealand)

And here’s a classic from Geoff: “A flag should be a sign of National pried. If you don’t like ours and have no pried in it go live some where else!”

Steve: “If a country has got to rely on a flag for tourism, the country is stuffed!”

(Steve’s argument is stuffed)

Max: “Peter, the fern leaf says nothing about New Zealand history, any more than a stupid maple leaf does for Canada.”

(Max, I’d be careful telling that to Canadians)

Connect with Peter on Facebook or Twitter
Steve: “I reckon you’ve got more shit in you than the sewage station. How old does a flag have to be to be outdated?”

Craig: “We do not need a flag change because of immigration. We need immigrants who want to join us, not usurp us. Stick this hogwash where the sun don’t shine. We have a flag, and it’s a great one.”

Craig: “I’m getting sick of pricks putting up so called viable reasons to change the flag of New Zealand. If you are an immigrant, or a second generation immigrant, shut your fucking mouth. If you think that the fact that good men fought, and some died under the flag, means nothing now, shut your fucking mouth. If you have a problem with the history of NZ having a strong connection to Britain, shut your . . . .  John Key is a prick for trying this on, and you let your country down in many ways agreeing with him . . .  And don’t spill shit about identity . . . “

Craig: “Don’t try to put me down with suggestions of racism, Peter . . .”

Steve: “This flag bullshit is just John Key’s way of diverting attention from the TPPA.”

(Sorry, Steve. I can’t agree with that. Instead of drawing attention away from the TPPA, this debate is drawing attention to the TPPA. If that was Key’s motive, it has been totally counter-productive. People who had never heard of the TPPA are now hearing about via the flag debate)

Cathy: “Leave OUR bloody flag alone. I am sick of the foreigners and idiots like John Key pulling this country and the true KIWI apart.”

Lachie: “Not to mention GMO’s, pesticides and pharmaceutical nasties you will be forced to consume in favour of real stuff.”

(Is that something to do with the flag debate?)

Other reasons given for not wanting a flag change include, “We would be forced out of the Commonwealth.” “As a British colony we are not allowed to change the flag.” “Changing the flag would be an insult to the Queen.” “No country ever changes its flag. It wouldn’t be the same country.” “If we wanted to change the flag wouldn’t we have to get permission from the United Nations?”

And so it goes.