Barry Soper: Voting in the 'foregone conclusion'

Feng shui aside, does the flag vote mean much if it can be easily manipulated? Is it a foregone conclusion anyway? Photo / File
Feng shui aside, does the flag vote mean much if it can be easily manipulated? Is it a foregone conclusion anyway? Photo / File

There's something satisfying about exercising our hard fought for democratic right.

Voting in the flag referendum was one of those times, although having exercised the tick and popped the sealed envelope into the mailbox, concern for the process sullied the satisfaction.

There's no identifying mark on the voting slip which means there's nothing to stop anyone from scooping up voting papers, sent out to those who've left an address since the last election, and putting the tick on their preference. Even a handwriting expert would find it impossible to identify multiple ticks from the same pen and by the same hand.

There was also a sense of foreboding as the envelope dropped into the mailbox. If you listen to the polls the vote's a foregone conclusion, two thirds of the country want the existing flag. The alternative is altogether too crass which of course is what the Canadians initially said about the maple leaf.

It now even seems as though even John Key's having a bob each way. Having spent the past several months sporting a lapel badge of the Kyle Lockwood design, which he's favoured right from the start, he's now been photographed draped in the current ensign.

Key missed a golden opportunity after the former Aussie cricket captain Ricky Ponting pulled our flag out on the first tee and put it on the ground as the final round of the celebrity gold challenge was about to swing into action. Given the confusion between our two flags, Key should have draped ours over the Aussie but instead pranced around to the amusement of onlookers with the flag that he wants to see the back end of.

Still if the twenty six million dollar referendum goes the way most seem to think it will, he says he'll embrace the current one and will say nothing more about the matter.

An indication of the way the final vote's likely to go will be obvious when the first count of the 1.2 million ballot papers will be known on Thursday week.

For some of us being out of step with the popular view through referenda is nothing new though.

Back in 1992 I voted against a change to the electoral system feeling that MMP turned losers into winners. The following year I voted for STV, rather than MMP, but the system we ended up with squeaked home. But then again, with time to reflect, my vote went with keeping MMP when it was put to the test five years ago.

A couple of years earlier I was also out of step, voting to change the Parliamentary term to four years.

And several years later I found myself agreeing with Winston Peters on making retirement savings compulsory but we were well in the minority with a massive turnout of 80 percent in that referendum. More than 90 percent of them gave it the thumbs down, even though today we have a form of compulsory saving through Kiwisaver.

On the flag vote though my mind is firmly made up, regardless of the outcome, and my anonymous, lonesome tick's on the way to the Electoral Commission.

Debate on this article is now closed.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter


Sort by
  • Oldest

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf05 at 27 Oct 2016 10:23:48 Processing Time: 829ms