RSA: Kiwis should spoil their flag vote
The Returned and Services' Association is encouraging Kiwis to spoil their ballot in the first leg of the upcoming flag referendum.
The $26 million process is split into two votes – the first a preferential vote to decide which of the alternatives will go head-to-head with the current flag, in a runoff next year.
The four candidates for the first vote were revealed this morning. Two feature a silver fern and the Southern Cross, one just a silver fern, and the fourth, a black-and-white koru design.
"There are some interesting designs on show, but none of them speak to me in the way the current flag does," says RSA national president BJ Clark.
A 3 News online poll suggests none are a threat to the existing flag, but the RSA says those opposed to change need to send a message regardless.
Mr Clark wants supporters to write 'I vote for the current flag' on the ballot paper in the first vote.
"These 'informal' votes are also counted, so it's a very good way to ensure the voices of those who are fighting for our flag are heard loud and clear at every stage of this process," he says.
"The current flag reflects our Kiwi spirit and values, and has done so for more than a century."
Earlier this year New Zealand First leader Winston Peters called for a similar vote in the first round.
"That will become the majority on the day and there is no reason therefore to go any further with wasting public money," he said in May.
The RSA says informal votes are counted, "so it's a very good way to ensure the voices of those who are fighting for our flag are heard loud and clear at every stage of this process".
The New Zealand Flag Referendums Act 2015 does say the number of informal votes will be reported, but they will have no bearing on the actual result of the preferential vote.
The RSA is selling bumper stickers and running a Givealittle fundraising campaign to raise money for its campaign against changing the flag.