Thursday 24 March 2016

The tea towel has been hung out to dry

And the winner is...
There'll be a few Aussies in mourning tonight. Our cousins across the Tasman, at least those among them with a sense of independent nationhood, were hoping New Zealand would adopt a new flag and thereby kick-start a similar debate in the Lucky Country.

In fact, we tossed out the uppity tea towel and kept the old design.

It's not that we don't need a new flag, a flag that dumps the anachronistic Union Jack. Times have changed. The Brits haven't qualified as "the old country" for many decades. But the Kyle Lockwood-designed pretender just wasn't up to the job.

And our brilliant Prime Minister didn't help things along. His partisanship for change helped form a stronger anti-vote. Every time he opened his cake-hole the tea towel lost support.

Nor did it help that know-it-all radio, television and newspaper non-journalist Mike Hosking tried to tell the country to vote for change. If Hosking is in favour then the rule of thumb is that anyone with active brain cells should oppose.

And oppose we did.

The Lockwood pretender
New Zealanders have never been particularly flag-conscious, unlike our American brethren. We don't salute the thing or have our kids recite pledges of allegiance. But the flag debate has stirred up a bit of the primal, and flags have been flying in front yards up and down the country in a way that's unprecedented. The received flag much, much more than the Lockwood tea towel.

We'll need to take another crack at it when we become a republic in the hopefully not too distant future. Once Elizabeth passes from the scene it'll be hard to transfer loyalty to Good King Chuckie. But then, with a bit of luck, we'll have a flag that Kiwis can genuinely embrace.

And I daresay we'll still beat the Ockers to the punch.


  1. I take one look at the Lockwood flag and wonder, "What were they thinking".

    Nevertheless, designing a flag for a nation is much more difficult than it may seem on the surface.

    A couple of decades ago or more, a much smaller venue, Pierce County was trying to change its logo from iconic trees and Mount Rainier (the Native Americans protest and want to call it something else entirely) and someone came up with this. They got some sort of award for it. Unfortunately, it was similar to the Prudential Insurance Company. We all thought that some other logo would be picked, but some how the politics were resolved and Pierce County had the new logo. It all seemed silly, but branding, even for government is important these days in the Internet of Things.

    And it occurs to me that maybe New Zealand residents could start looking through insurance company logos, just in case. Make a few changes and pretend its original and you'll have a winner.

    Thank the universe you don't have the Lockwood flag.

  2. Elizabeth turns 90 this year. Her mother lived to 101 2/3. Some of us are hoping for the daughter to do the same. Maybe she will outlive King Bhumipol, beloved of people such as John Halford. He is only 88. On the other hand, Bhumipol is a native born American and is therefore eligible to become POTUS.

  3. The American 1775 Grand Union flag had a Jack in the corner. Like the present one, it would have been a bitch to stitch.