Putting aside the political and nationalistic debates about New Zealand adopting a new flag, there are some interesting business and economic aspects.
Government officials say the cost of change should not be too high, as no private individual or business would be required to use the new flag, and could go using their old flags until they have to be replaced.
The biggest costs would be for departments to replace flags, estimated at $660,000. The biggest flag wavers are the Defence Forces (600 flags) Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (318 outdoor flags, 110 indoor and 453 car and table flags) and the police (200 flags).
It could cost as much as $2 million to replace flags on Defence Force uniforms, but officials say they could also keep the old flag until they wear out. The same could be done for drivers' licences, which by law display the flag.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
Those who will be rubbing their hands in glee at the prospect of a change are the three flag manufacturers with the approved design: Flagz Group in Auckland, Flagmakers in Wellington and Adams Flags in Dunedin. Considering all the departments, councils, businesses and schools which like to fly the flag, there is a lot of money to be made - depending on its size and quality, a flag can cost from $180 to $459.
No one likes paying tax, but it seems women should dislike it less than men. Research from Victoria University of Wellington revealed this week that women pay less tax than men over their lifetimes. That is not entirely surprising because of the gender pay gap, but women also receive more government support, which has the effect of reducing income inequality between men and women over their lifetimes.
Get on board
Sometimes it is easy to forget how big the state sector is. A briefing to new State Services Minister Paula Bennett makes the point bluntly, pointing out that ministers are responsible for appointing 2000 to 3000 members to more than 520 boards, who in turn collect more than $43 million a year in board fees. This year alone, ministers have about 850 board appointments to make. Putting aside the question of whether the taxpayer is getting value for money, it is clear these board members' performance is patchy. As the State Services Commission points out, although there are talented directors and strong boards, this is not an outcome guaranteed by a robust system. There is no overall system to manage the candidate pipeline for the Crown and no standard appointment process. Some agencies interview candidates and some don't, some advertise, some do background checks, but there is no consistent approach.
Was Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges giving a subtle hint about the Government's choice for its new Crown cars? Bridges' attendance was noted at the launch of the new BMW ibrand electric vehicles at Team BMW in Newmarket on Tuesday. He clearly enjoyed his evening, and instagrammed a picture of himself and the luxury car, commenting "one of BMW's new electric vehicles now in NZ. With renewables making up nearly 80 per cent of our electricity, EVs play to our strength as a country."
Nice try ...
The devil makes work for idle hands, the old adage says, and one person with more time on his hands than most is prisoner and serial litigant Arthur Taylor. He is reportedly seeking an electoral petition in John Key's Helensville electorate as part of his legal campaign to extend prisoners' right to vote. The electorate includes the prison at Paremoremo and Taylor wants to argue that the result could have been different had the 667 inmates voted. Key's majority is 18,287.
Sometimes things move at glacial pace in the state sector. The State Services Commission recently advertised the job of chief executive and Director-General of Health, with applications closing next week. The previous incumbent, Kevin Woods, announced his departure in July last year. Then in October last year, Chai Chuah was appointed acting Director-General. So a year on, it seems not much progress has been made, despite the commission saying the appointment process should take four months. Perhaps officials were waiting to see who replaced retired Health Minister Tony Ryall.