The verdict on the flag could well become on the Key leadership of the National Party. The party doesn’t like losers. Key himself has not come well out of the whole flag debacle. There are several reasons for this.
- The process was a farce
- The flag design preferred by the majority didn’t even get to be the challenger to the New Zealand flag
- Postal voting is ripe for voter fraud. It should be outlawed
- There were justified accusations of bias in translations on the voting papers
- Taxpayers’ money was being wasted
- There are so many urgent and better uses of $26 million of our money
- It had all the hallmarks of a vanity legacy project for the Prime Minister
- His partisanship was breathtakingly arrogant
- Ties to the Commonwealth and constitutional monarchy still matter in the hearts of Kiwis
Key has done nothing to enhance his tarnished image among more traditional National supporters. It is tarnished because Key is riding roughshod over democracy by undermining property rights with changes to the Resource Management Act. Worse still he is undermining democracy itself by abandoning the principle of universality which means that all are treated equally under the law. The last straw for many is the proposal to give voting rights to unelected tribal elites on Councils.
Key’s failure to understand the principles that underpin democracy is unforgiveable. So is his misreading of the public mind over the flag issue. When politicians become so out of touch with the people that they start to believe their own opinion is the only one that matters then it is time for that politician to go.
I wrote this a year ago in a blog title Lowering the Flag
- I see dangers ahead for Key, for National and for the country if the party does not curb his enthusiasm for divisive issues.
..it is odd then that one man, for his own reasons, should choose this (100 years anniversary of Gallipoli) moment to say he’s had enough of the flag that unites us all as New Zealanders. In the normal way of things it wouldn’t matter what one man thinks, but this man happens to be the leader of the country who has at his disposal a war chest of our money to play with, $25million for a start. Nobody was pressing for this debate about the future of the New Zealand flag, the flag under which our ANZAC troops fought and died in a century of wars and more. It is simply this one man’s desire for a change. Why? Why has John Key decided this is the moment to tear the fabric of the nation apart and have a debate that will only be divisive?
For now, it is finished. Our flag remains our flag. But the whole flag debacle could well signal the beginning of the end for John Key's leadership of National. Key identified himself too closely with the losing side. When your top racehorse becomes a loser it’s time to put it out to pasture.