A complainant, given prominence in today’s Herald, thinks it’s because the ‘wrong’ blue has been chosen on the Key flag. It’s not the shade of blue that’s the problem.
One of the reasons Key gave for wanting to change the New Zealand flag was because he didn’t think it stood out among the flags of all nations. He thought this was because it contained a Union Jack. Once upon a time he might have had a point. There used to be 64 nations with flags that included the Union Jack but, as a friend of mine liked to quote, ‘what was neither rich nor rare may soon become with time and care’. Now there are only four nations besides the United Kingdom that have a Union Jack. They are all in the South Pacific (New Zealand, Australia, Fiji and Tuvalu).
Having a Union Jack on the real New Zealand flag speaks louder than ever of the nation’s history, its place in the world, its democratic heritage, all the things a flag should represent.
Best of all the Union Jack stands out. It is one of the two outstanding flags of the world, instantly recognised by 99% of the world’s population: the other being the Stars and Stripes. They stand out because, graphically, they are the best mix of colours, red white and blue, for a flag. Thirty six nations already know this, including New Zealand. Had the preferred design of the majority been chosen, with the red replacing the bad colour, graphically speaking, of black then Key design might have had some merit.
As it is, very few flags contain black because, graphically, it doesn’t mix well with other colours unless they provide sufficient contrast. Blue and white do not offer sufficient contrast with black. Black is currently infamous for being the colour of ISIS, a rogue regime of mayhem, murder and torture. Black doesn’t stand out against a blue sky, the most common backdrop for flags. Red does.
The Key flag is a camel - a flag chosen by a committee.
The Key flag is a dog.
The Key flag is a loser.