'The black and white fern design will win'

Last updated 05:00 14/09/2015

Three of the four designs proposed as an alternative to New Zealand's current flag feature the silver fern.

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Which is your favourite flag?

Five reasons we should change our flag Five reasons we should keep our flag Make your vote for a fair referendum If you settle for less that's what you get We should give flag money to the poor Red Peak: A flag for all New Zealanders Opinion: There is no such thing as the 'perfect flag' Are we really ready for a flag change? I'm ashamed of our flag options We all deserve our say on the flag

I believe the black and white fern will win the first referendum.

Why? In my opinion, the flag consideration panel has manipulated the choice.

How? Choice architecture (aka behavioral economics or nudge theory) - a method of manipulation used primarily by e-commerce, supermarkets and bureaucrats.

For example, take the "limit 4" restriction seen in supermarket specials. Do you actually think the supermarket wants to limit the amount you may buy? Probably not, with the exception being where supermarkets are loss-leading.

What they really want is to create a sense of scarcity and an "anchor". Instead of thinking, "I need one box of cereal, maybe I'll even get two to be safe", you are now anchored on the number 4 - "I am able to get four, I don't need four, maybe I'll just get three boxes."

* Questions linger over flag debate
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* The best flag designs that didn't make the cut
Full coverage of the flag debate   

One common method used in restaurants is to add one very expensive meal or bottle of wine to the menu. In comparison, the other items seem cheaper.

Something that's $28 seems like a bargain beside something that's $47.50.

This method has been employed inversely by the flag consideration panel. The black and white koru design (or Hypnoflag) has been met with near universal nausea. What were the panel thinking?

Well, the other flags start to look a lot more appealing next to it.

Next we have a split, or spoiler effect. Much criticism has been given to the decision to include two similar iterations of the Kyle Lockwood flag. An unfair level of exposure?

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No, this is a disaster for Lockwood.


Supporters of one version are quite likely to be supporters of the other. Not certain, but likely, and this is more than enough to prevent either design winning.

Why are Republicans so desperate to prevent Donald Trump from running for President of the United States as an independent? Because he would create a split in the right-wing and the Democrats will be far more likely to win. This is why Bush won in 2000 (the left was split between Nader and Gore).

It will be remarkable if these two designs do not conflict with one another.

The winner? The black and white fern design. I believe this unremarkable design will prevail because of the panel's choice architecture.

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