“Get a wriggle on,” New Zealand’s Electoral Commission is telling citizens
who want to cast a vote before today’s deadline to mail in ballots.
New Zealand is choosing a new flag.
In the referendum ending today, the first of two, voters will choose one of five proposed new flags. The second referendum comes next year when the chosen new design goes mano a mano against the current flag.
For years, Prime Minister John Key has itched to “scratch” the Union Jack, the United Kingdom’s flag, off the New Zealand national flag.
To assert some independence, I suppose. Hey, I can relate.
HBO’s John Oliver calls New Zealand “Australia’s Australia.” Glance at the two nation’s flags, they’re virtually identical. Populating a remote two-island nation, New Zealanders may share a desire not to live in any other nation’s shadow.
Granted, there were no demonstrations for the flag re-design, in the streets of Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch — or anywhere else, as far as I can tell. This was a referred measure, from politicians to the people — not an initiative.
And the referendums will cost $26 million, something not lost on the citizenry.
Furthermore, a flag is far less important than issues of war and peace, taxes, jobs, you name it.
But I really like that politicians didn’t give a designer a no-bid contract and do the choosing without the people. In fact, after whittling down to offer voters four designs in this referendum, a fifth entry was added after a petition for it on social media caught fire.
Could the flag chosen be as pleasing as the democratic process being used to get it?
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.