To Flag or Not To Flag?

Yesterday the government’s Flag Consideration Panel unfurled four contenders for an alternative New Zealand flag:

Gif of flags

After months of costly consultation these four designs started flapping… and then swiftly sagged. Immediate reactions in our two largest media outlets were headlined “Final four flags a flop”, and “Flag designs a national disgrace”. [1, 2] On social media the fastest trending responses were #distraction, #couldhavebeenawesome and #crapflags. [3]

This isn’t what we hoped for.

From what we have seen online, ActionStation members are either:

A) Unhappy with the final four flag designs,
B) Irked that there is an expensive and ill-timed flag referendum in the first place or,
C) Feeling like the whole process has been a farce.

As such, we have launched two simultaneous campaigns both of which are aligned with ActionStation's vision for a more transparent, accountable democracy. Based on which campaign gets the most traction from you and our other members, we’ll decide which one we put more resourcing and time into. Will you take a stand to decide how ActionStation should campaign on the flag? 

Here are the options with a few pros and cons:

Option 1: Flag The Flag: End Child Poverty Instead

Reject the referendum and reinvest the money into helping to end child poverty in New Zealand.


  • Highlights the gross misspend of public money at a time where New Zealand has far bigger issues to address

  • Holds the government to account for their election promises on child poverty

  • Speaks to our core values of fairness and equality


  • It’s probably not winnable unless we get huge amounts of people signing, and perhaps not even then, John Key is pretty keen on a new flag and the process is already well underway

  • We miss the opportunity to have a conversation about the kind of country we want to be with a flag that does represent what Aotearoa New Zealand is all about

Option 2: An Open Letter Calling For Better Flag Designs

Go back a step, recruit at least one designer to the flag selection panel, take feedback from the public in choosing the final four designs before going to an expensive referendum.


  • Could be winnable with enough people power

  • A chance to get some better flag designs

  • Could meaningfully engage people in a conversation about what our country should stand for


  • Doesn’t highlight two of the biggest grievances people have with the flag referendum -- it’s a distraction from bigger issues and a large amount of money being spent for something people are so divided on in the first place

Please cast your vote below:

If you dislike either of these options and you feel strongly that we’ve missed something out, please feel free to reply and let me know. I love to hear your feedback but also please bear in mind that we are a small team and we have tried to keep these two asks as broad as possible to capture the mood of the widest number of ActionStation members.

Thanks for all that you do ActionStation folk. It’s only with your participation that we can truly create the better New Zealand we all know is possible.

Power to the people,

Laura on behalf of the ActionStation team.


  1. What twitter said about the final four flag options, Stuff Article 01/09/15

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