A new flag?

 

NZ Flag

 

There has been a lot of discussion about the flag of New Zealand. And with the PM flagging (see what I did there) it being on the table shortly, I thought I’d put some thoughts down.

I like our current flag. Yes, it’s close to the Australian flag and foreigners struggle to tell the two apart. Yes, it’s tied to Mother England. But it’s ours.

Our forefathers fought under and died for this flag. Would it be disrespectful to their memories if it were consigned to history? Perhaps.

There have been many suggested alternatives. Personally, I can’t stand those that incorporate green. The colours don’t work for me and the designs lack gravitas.

There’s been a push for something along the lines of this:

Fern

I like this idea as will. Stark. Simple. Recognisable. And very trademarked.

 

My position on the flag debate is this:

– retain the current flag. Use this flag for ceremony/government function etc. Revisit the design if/when New Zealand becomes a republic and is no longer tied to England.

– resolve the trademark issues and have an official ‘alternate’ flag as above. This would work in the sporting/NZ representative arenas. It would work for those on their OEs. It would be easier to tattoo.

 

Just as we recognise English, Maori and New Zealand Sign Language as ‘Official Languages’, lets recognise a primary and secondary flag. (Note: I’ve deliberately not included our military ensigns in this discussion!)

 

 

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Thoughts on the Labour Party

Yes, I am a Centre-Right voter but this doesn’t prevent me from considering the current Labour Party leadership situation.

I maintain that an effective Government requires an effective Opposition to hold them to account. And this hasn’t happened for many years now.

To the topic. We are seeing people putting their hands up to Lead. This is a good thing. However, it is my opinion that putting your hand up to Lead is folly when you don’t have any idea what it is that you’re standing for, and who it is that you’re leading.

My take on it is that Labour needs to work out first and foremost WHO it is representing in Parliament. Then they can work out Policy – what is it that those they represent actually need?

Whilst they’re doing this, perhaps they shouldn’t have a ‘Leader’. They could have a spokesperson for Media. Have a Leadership Representative in the House. Don’t damage the Party further by factional infighting.

 

Electoral Musings

I’ve been enjoying this campaign in general.

There have been so many machinations. So many characters in the grand play. So many attempts at influencing outcome – some legitimate, some not so much.

There has been extraordinary hypocrisy on display.

There have been attacks on the Right from the Left. There have been attacks on the Left from the Right.

Dirt in Politics is nothing new. The idea of making the ‘other guy’ look unappealing to the Voter is standard electoral strategy. The delivery mechanism has changed over the decades but the intent is the same.

I am, however, bored now. I don’t think we’ve been well-served by our Media. I recall this from 3 years ago as well. It’s that part of the cycle when the Personalities vie for profile and ratings.

Bring on September 20.

Being a Traveler that doesn’t Travel sucks

I have a history of traveling. And at present I’m not.

It’s so frustrating being necessarily frugal and having to weigh up where every dollar goes.

Friends are in Dubai en route to Amsterdam, Ireland then back through Thailand. Friends are off to the US on a new adventure. Friends get sick of Auckland and go sit on an island beach for a while.

I feel stuck.

I feel like a part of me that was released has been caged again.

I don’t like it.

I need to get through this phase of life as quickly as I can. Then I can focus on my destination list.

A few years ago I set a target of visiting a country that challenges me at least once per year. It hasn’t happened in the last three years. I need to get going again.

 

Springtime in Christchurch

I have just returned to Auckland from a long weekend in Christchurch.

I had a bit of trepidation about returning there after so many years. In fact, I was last there in 2009, so my memories of the city were pre-quake. Even now, nearly 4 years after the September 2010 earthquake, the city is still in disrepair. But what I saw was growth. I saw opportunity.

I spoke to many people. Locals that worked in jobs: hospitality, retail, trades. There is a sense of absolute optimism and resilience there. They know that the Christchurch that will rise from the ashes is going to be something special. The heart of the city still beats.

There is an understanding amongst locals that this is a long term project. Innovation such as the re:Start mall is fantastic and helps instil the vision of the future. The conversations were eye-opening. Politically there are disparate views, but there is a coming together of shared destiny. The insurance companies seem to have been absolute bastards and are involved in outrageous behaviour at the expense of the people of the City – and I am sure that this is something that will be addressed in the future.

re-Start

The rebuilding of streets such as New Regent St gives hope.

newregent

Many of you know that I lost friends in the CTV building collapse, and this trip presented my first opportunity to say goodbye and reflect on the character of those lost. Seeing the 185 empty chairs installation was poignant. Seeing the memorial on the site was moving and I am grateful I was able to spend some time there.

chairs ctv

I loved seeing how in the midst of the work of removing derelict buildings, new buildings are going up. I loved seeing how random spaces are being turned into sculpture installations and how street art is prevalent. Others being turned into laneways with bars and diners, ready for when the people return to the CBD. It’s so healthy seeing how people are beautifying things that would normally remind of a desert experience. Where there are shattered pillars, there can also be colour and life.

rubbleFlowerBedstreetart

We also visited New Brighton and Akaroa. Contrasting destinations, accessed through very different landscapes, but collectively showing that Christchurch will survive. And will survive well.akaroa1akaroa2newbrightonI’m glad I visited and stayed. It was a good time for closure. Christchurch is still a beautiful city, with amazing people. I will be returning sooner than later.

Murray would be proud and pleased to see what Christchurch is becoming. RIP.

NOTE: Special Thanks to Jeff and Naomi of Centrepoint on Colombo. Fanastic motel, and fab service! I heartily recommend you stay there!