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The flag referendum – Part 1


OK, so no change, but still a very sizeable minority voted for change. What is astounding is the way some on the left and in the media are carrying on. This was not an election for government. It is not a ‘defeat’ for John Key. Key wanted a change so did over a million others. If anything this was a victory for Key.

There was a democratic process and Key abided by that. He was accepting of the result and asked everyone to unite behind the flag chosen. However, a number of others do not seem as gracious and indeed have continued to do what they accuse Key of doing. Indeed, it seems to this writer that a number are so blinded by an absurd hatred of Key that all rationality has departed from their statements.

The NZ Herald ran a number of articles online which predictably reflected their strong anti-Key bias; although Audrey Young’s article was more nuanced and exhibited a degree of objectivity and balance rarely seen in many Herald articles these days.

Ms Young made a number of points, including:-

the flag loss is not actually a failure of anything except failure to belong to the winning side.

It is not even a failure to persuade because Key did not campaign heavily for change.

If anything, he failed to campaign strongly enough.

He always answered questions about changing the flag but he did not lead a campaign to change it in the way the late Lloyd Morrison might have done.

So per Ms Young one of the reasons for the ‘loss’ was not being a leader in the campaign for change.

Yet Green co-leader Metiria Turei , heavily quoted on the Radio New Zealand website said, apparently with a straight face:

The Green Party said the result was a major failure for Mr Key, whose overt campaigning had politicised the referendum and cost New Zealanders the opportunity to get a new flag.

Co-leader Meteria Turei said her party had tried to improve the process by advocating for Red Peak, which was added as a fifth option in the earlier referendum after a public campaign.

“Lots of New Zealanders support a change of flag but voted for the current one because the Prime Minister’s interference ensured they weren’t given a proper choice,” she said.

This writer assumes that Ms Turei took part in a different process from that reported by Ms Young, as their conclusions are so radically different.  Perhaps the truth of the matter is that  Ms Turei is so blinded by her prejudice that she has lost any any capacity for rational thought on this matter.

For as Ms Young points out later in her article:-

He wrongly counted on the Greens and Labour actually following their own policy and embracing the referendum rather than politicizing the process.

So Ms Turei, to use a Clintonism, misspoke or was somewhat economical with the truth.Hmm!






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  1. The flag referendum -Part 2 | The Inquiring Mind

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