The flag debate took another turn this week thanks to a groundswell of support for the inclusion of Aaron Dustin's Red Peak in the shortlist of designs that will be subject to next month's first referendum.

Of course, that too set off a flurry of political manoeuvering between National and Labour.

Having previously ruled out Red Peak, Mr Key offered to make the law change needed to add the design, but only if Labour would support it.

Labour indicated it would support it, but only if Key also changed the order of the referendums so voters were first asked whether the flag should change.

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That was refused.

Mr Little denies Labour effectively stymied the chances of Red Peak being added by including a condition Mr Key was never going to accept.

For his part, Mr Key rejected Labour's condition for that question to be asked first and said Labour was playing politics. He said the order of the referendum questions was the result of advice from officials and the work of a cross-party group of MPs. "How can you have a yes/no vote when people don't know what they would be voting for?"

I don't mind the Red Peak design - even if it has emerged that it is almost exactly the same as the logo of an American engineering company.

It's a shame that politics has blocked its path to inclusion.

If, as many detractors of the process hold, the flag change debate has been foisted upon us, then this was a chance to show the public that their views mattered.

The response to an online petition for the inclusion of the Red Peak design and much social media comment suggests there is enough support to justify it.

As other commentators have noted, many people obviously admire the strength and straightforwardness of its multicoloured triangles.

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The danger, and it was always the main risk, is that people will lose interest in the whole process and feel that their views are not being listened to. Many may have already lost interest. Although I question the political motives behind the referendum, it is important that Kiwis do have their say on the issue, whether they want the flag to change or not.

Ignore the politics and make your vote count.