NZ flag debate a distraction

Last updated 13:19 04/02/2014
Janis Barbour said her flag incorporated the two flags we already have - one symbolising British history, the other symbolising Maori culture.

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What should be on NZ's flag?

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What should New Zealand change its flag to? Hmm difficult question. Perhaps if we warm up to it by trying a few easier ones. What colour should I paint my living room? What shirt should I wear today and what will happen if I choose the wrong one?

My point is of course that there is no right or wrong answer here. Only subjective opinions. And the problem with subjective opinions is that they have the nasty tendency of being as wide and varied as the population to whom the question is addressed. So what do you think the answers to such a question are going to be like when asking the entire population of a very multicultural country!?

Even if by some miraculous new age event where Zeus aligns with Pluto (or whatever they do) and we achieve a clear consensus on a single option, there will still most likely be a significant proportion of the population who will be left unhappy with the decision.

But that aside, what if we do reach a consensus (again by some divine intervention), then what? I'll tell you what, nothing. The economy will not suddenly perk up, we will not have more sunshine hours over summer, and it will not solve social problems or convince criminals not to nick your stuff.

So what's the point? Considering such a question is not only an exercise in futility akin to catching water with a fork; should it be achieved it is completely pointless in that it will accomplish nothing truly meaningful and provide no tangible benefits (other than a sudden but short surge in the flag manufacturing sector)

So why is John Key asking us this question? Does he seriously believe that we will come to some kind of consensus? Does he believe that the time and resources invested in considering such a question will yield great dividends for the nation to enjoy at a later date?

No. I don't think so. I think John knows he has posed a meaningless question wrapped up in a waste of time.

Look, we have an election coming up and these types of questions are good for one thing and one thing only, distracting the population. They make us feel like we are participating in democracy. By letting us choose the hood ornament they're hoping we won't bother looking under the hood.

Everyone's opinion is different of course, and that's my point. Some people will love thinking about what colour our flag should be, but to me this kind of question speaks volumes about the man that our Prime Minister is. We are all building this home together, but National would rather have us busy out choosing the drapes while they hurriedly sell off the bricks and mortar. I may be wrong but it seems to me that Mr Key would prefer to keep us dumb and distant than well informed and engaged. If this is the case one has to ask why?

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