Opinion: Why we should vote to keep our awful flag


Because the big one is still to come. In March we get to vote for whether we keep our flag, or ditch it for a new one. Then, there's the bloody Aussies.

Eh? What about them?

Well, they're only trying to knock up a flag change of their own.

They're what? Isn't the Australian flag one of the reasons we're changing ours?

Yes. And they seem to want it more than us. Hopefully, they'll learn from our mistakes.

What mistakes?

The process, the politicking, the poor turnout.

Are their designs any good?

To be honest, yes. Some of them look fantastic.

Opinion: Why we should vote to keep our awful flag


So, I take it you're not happy about the flag we'll be voting on?

I'm about as happy as a man being asked whether he'd prefer to be punched in the nose, or kicked in the crotch.

Uhhh righto. But the most popular flag won, right?

Actually, no. More people chose the red and blue flag as their first option. But thanks to the STV system the blue and black abomination triumphed. Regardless, popularity's not everything. If it were, The Big Bang Theory would be on every channel, butter chicken would appear on every menu and everyone would be driving Toyota Corollas. It's a middle of the road flag, and middle of the road = boring.

But if people like it the most, then surely it's the best flag?

Think of it this way. You want a shoe that suits your style. A shoe that looks good. A shoe to make other people go 'wow!' You could choose anything - some Jimmy Choos, some limited edition Air Jordans, or some hand-stitched leather Oxfords. We chose Crocs.

I take it you have a problem with the Silver Fern flag?

I think it's timid, insipid, and uninspired, lacking in basic creativity, let alone proper design principles. A flag for people who think pyjamas are acceptable in public. A flag so boring that Peter Dunne avoids it at parties. It is the polar fleece of flags –utilitarian and dowdy.

Anything else?

I’m glad you asked. Silver fern on black. Red stars. Blue background. There's absolutely nothing new about that flag! If we're going to get a new flag, don't we want it to actually be new? This is a Frankenstein's monster of existing symbols, except, even Frankenstein's monster had some redeeming qualities.

Opinion: Why we should vote to keep our awful flag


You're just upset Red Peak didn't win.

Well, yes.

Did you seriously expect Red Peak to win?

No. But as I've already argued, it was a choice, in a referendum otherwise bereft of it. Am I disappointed Red Peak didn't win? Yes. Am I surprised? No. Do I regret supporting it? No. Do I regret getting a giant Red Peak tattoo on my chest? Yes.

You're a bit obsessed with Red Peak aren't you?

On the contrary. There were dozens of other designs within the 10,000 submitted that would have made fantastic flags. But once that short list was announced, Red Peak was realistically the only option that had a chance of sneaking in.

So how will you be voting in the next referendum?

I'll be reverting to my original position.

What will you do if the Silver Fern flag wins?

Probably cry hot tears of shame for a day or two. Then, once the nausea has abated, I'll figure how to tell my future grandkids about the time we had an opportunity to choose a magnificent flag, and why we failed miserably.