Duncan Garner: Why I'm voting for the current New Zealand flag

Opinion 29/02/2016

OPINION: I will be voting to keep the current New Zealand flag, although that doesn't sit easily with me.

I believe in independence and I believe in us becoming a republic.

I also find it ridiculous that we have a Head of State living in a palace some 20,000 kilometres away.

We make our own decisions and indeed it is past time we stood on our own two feet.

We are more than capable of doing so. But none of these harder and more crucial questions were being asked by the Prime Minister. The flag question was the much easier question on the much harder path to becoming a republic.

So why am I voting to keep the current flag?

Easy really, I don't think the alternative design is better. It's a really simple argument. If we are to make this change we need to find a popular design.

This is not it. Indeed, to me it looks like a tea towel on steroids from a New Lynn $2 shop.

This really is a case of lost opportunity.

More than $26 million is about to go down the drain with this poorly executed exercise. That could have bought 12 Awaroa beaches and tens of thousands of computers in low decile schools.

And that is why the campaign to change the flag is failing; it was never a priority for people.

For a start, John Key put a bunch of cheerleaders on the committee overseeing the project. I could never take them seriously, but no doubt it paid well.

Then we had the political infighting. And that was a turn-off.

Communities shunned the public meetings, with only a handful of bystanders pulled in to fill the empty halls. Why did that happen? Because no one cared for change. It wasn't that important.

We weren't marching in the streets for change. No one gave a stuff, really.

It was helpful BBQ chat over summer, but it still wasn't important.

And then came the crucial blow. We were given some options. And we didn't really like them.

Not enough to vote for change.

Two of Kyle Lockwood's designs made the short list - and they just happened to be the Prime Minister's preferred flags too. Funny that.

Then the process was rail-roaded by a social media campaign to get Red Peak included.

That showed how flimsy the whole thing was.

Then more people voted for the red and blue one and we got the blue and black one because of the way the votes are counted.

So I'm voting to keep the current flag. Not because I don't want change. I do.

But I don't like this new design enough to vote for it. Simple really.

And if it takes another generation to get it right, then so be it.

I sense the cost of food, housing, traffic jams and whether your child has a good teacher worries you more than changing the flag. 

Duncan Garner hosts RadioLIVE Drive - 'where content is still king' - weekdays from 3pm and Story, 7pm Mon-Thurs on TV3.