New Zealand votes to keep its flag after 56.6% back the status quo

The Guardian:

After a lengthy campaign, voters have decided by a margin of more than 10 points to retain the flag with its strong links to the United Kingdom.

Preliminary results announced at 8.30pm local time on Thursday showed that 1,200,003 (56.6%) of voters wanted to keep the Union flag-centred emblem. Only 915,008 (43.2%) opted for the proposed new design by Kyle Lockwood featuring a silver fern.

The results of the referendum, which is estimated to have cost NZ$26m (£12m), are expected be confirmed next Wednesday…

The long-serving and popular Key had strongly supported the flag change but it was not enough to win a majority, with many suspicious of him trying to use the issue to build a legacy.

However, he said after the results were announced that New Zealanders should embrace the current flag and “more importantly, be proud of it”.

“Obviously I’m a bit disappointed there was no change but nearly a million people voted for change,” he said. “Just because it’s not the outcome I wanted doesn’t mean it wasn’t a worthwhile process.”

Deputy prime minister Bill English said there had been a “robust democratic process” that allowed New Zealander “to discuss who we are and how we want to be represented on the world stage”.

“I acknowledge there will be those who are disappointed with the outcome, but the majority of New Zealanders have spoken and we should all embrace that decision.

“This process has engaged Kiwis in their homes, in their schools and in their workplaces, here in New Zealand, and right around the world – it is something we’ve all had a point of view on.”

…Prof Paul Moon, a New Zealand historian at the Auckland University of Technology said changing the current flag would have been like “amputating” New Zealand history.

“There was no popular sentiment for a change. Indeed, most people barely considered our national flag as an issue until it was thrust in front of them in the form of an impending referendum.

“Entrusted with a once-in-a-lifetime task to select four alternative contenders for our national flag, the panel delivered options that were insipid and unimaginative. And to make matters worse, for all the talk of inclusivity, serious Indigenous input was largely whitewashed. What we were left with was culturally monochromatic and aesthetically neutered design to go up against the incumbent.”

“We were told a new flag was needed because we were ‘more multicultural, ‘more independent’, and ‘more vibrant’ as a nation. Putting these cliches aside, the premise that we change a flag as our identity evolves is inherently flawed. Flags, like our names, remain with us as we mature and are the sum total of our existence.”

The driving force behind this referendum is the Jewish prime minister.

Jews, while often respectful of Jewish traditions, don’t always have the same attachment to gentile traditions as their gentile neighbors. Jews, even when they vote conservative in Australia, don’t like the white Australian identity and don’t like Australia being part of the British commonwealth.

The lack of Jewish attachment to gentile traditions is not weird nor Satanic. It is basic social identity theory. The more strongly you identify with your group, the more likely you are to have negative feelings about out-groups.

On the other hand, the Chinese often live as minorities in the Chinese diaspora and they don’t have the same drive as Jews to change the traditions and attachments of their neighbors.

Jewish gifts, such as a high verbal IQ and emotional intensity, lead them to great success in the media and academia and to pushing social justice themes. There is always blowback to this Jewish pattern, however, including the Holocaust. Gentiles, strangely enough, tend to be attached to each other, to their countries and to their traditions and often don’t take well to Jews trying to change them. Today is Purim, and the Jewish community in that story was almost massacred because of Jewish disrespect for gentile norms (Mordecai wouldn’t bow to Haman, strange, in that there is nothing in Jewish law prohibiting such bowing).

Esther 3:8:

Then Haman said to King Xerxes, “There is a certain people dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom who keep themselves separate. Their customs are different from those of all other people, and they do not obey the king’s laws; it is not in the king’s best interest to tolerate them.”

Speaking as a convert to Orthodox Judaism, it is hard not to have some sympathy for Haman’s point of view. Does diversity make a country stronger or weaker? Is a country stronger or weaker when there is a smart and influential group within that keeps itself separate and practices different customs? I’d say it depends on the overall effect of the group on a particular place. In some countries, this type of group would be disruptive and destructive, and for other countries, this group might well serve as a stimulus for excellence and prosperity and openness. Jews may not be an equally wonderful fit for every country on earth. They may be better suited to some countries rather than others. For instance, Jews have always done best in the individualist Protestant countries as opposed to corporate Catholic and Muslim countries.

Jews (along with other minorities Muslims, blacks, asians, etc) do not, on average, tend to have the same relationship to their nation-state as majorities enjoy. WASPs in particular create certain types of high-trust, highly free, highly prosperous nations that are the envy of the world.

Jews are usually minorities in gentile lands, though they may be majorities in certain places such as Beverly Hills, and they will usually align with increasing rights for minorities at the expense of the majority. They will incline to supporting multiculturalism, diversity, tolerance and many other agendas of the left. Strong national, religious and racial identities among the goyim will frighten them. Many Jews will come from places such as Eastern Europe where Jews have long had horrible relations with their neighbors and many Jews will come from places such as Western Europe where Jews found much to admire in their neighbors.

“The Jew is everywhere a stranger and not even angels like strangers,” said Mark Twain.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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