Bennett Morgan writes:
John Key’s dreams of securing a legacy in a new national flag are fast melting away.
The poll conducted by Yahoo New Zealand of 7,321 people found that opposition to a new national flag is at an all-time, record-breaking high.
Of those surveyed, 77% said they were opposed to a flag change compared to just 21% who supported the Prime Minister in his ambitions. 2% were uncommitted or unsure.
It is the unsure voters Key is trying to woo as he has admitted to numerous media companies that, as it currently stands, New Zealanders are not in favour of a flag change.
But the new poll is earth-shattering.
Never before have other polls with a smaller population sample shown such avid opposition.
When Key first toyed with the idea of a flag referendum, support for a flag change was at 61% according to a TV3 poll. Just weeks after his announcement that he would intend to change the flag via referendum, a poll was released by TVNZ showing 72% opposition.
Polls since then have fallen back to around 65% opposition.
What is clear though, is New Zealanders have seen through the facade and seen this for what it is; John Key’s attempt at a positive legacy.
He has essentially annoyed his conservative voter base who didn’t want a change anyway, and put-off the liberal vote who don’t want to be associated with John Key’s opinion.
Result; utter chaos. Key’s referendum is due to face massive rejection.
Then there’s the controversy over the style of the referendum itself. Kasey McDonnell, Insiders contributor told me;
“The national flag referendum is quite literally backwards. Why spend money on choosing which alternate flag people like most, *then* find out whether they want it? Any reasonable government would understand that logically, the first step to replacing the flag is to find out whether the country wants it replaced, not which flag the country wants most after the flag they already have.”
Then there’s questions over what exactly this referendum is meant to be deterring our attention from.
Some argue it’s the TPPA agreement, a trade deal between numerous Pacific nations which some believe would give corporations power over government. Others argue we shouldn’t be signing up to the TPPA because the process has been entirely secretive and undemocratic. Either way, the TPPA is near impossible to argue in affirmative, and thus, conclude some, Key must be using the flag referendum as a distraction.
ActionStation’s video on the TPPA (Trans Pacific Partnership [Trade] Agreement).