[content_protector password=”running”]So, the flag referendum. Yawn. Sigh. Here we go again…

John Key wants us, as a nation, to vote for a change of flag. It’s been in the news far too much recently. Which design? How many flags? A fern? The Union Jack? The Southern Cross? Koru? Red? White? Blue? Black?

Really? Do we have to vote for every single little thing? What about voting over the exact shade of blue, red, white or black? What about the precise size of the stars, stripes or fern? Why not decide – as a nation – the times of day the flag flies or how high up the flag pole it must be flown (to the nearest centimetre…).

Yes. This is getting ridiculous. But why stop with the flag? What else can we, as a nation, decide on?

I know! Let’s have a national vote about our national anthem! Shall we change it? How many verses should we have? Do we sing in English? Te reo Māori? Samoan? Tongan? Chinese? Why not a verse for every nationality why have in New Zealand? Hey, let the people decide with a referendum!

What about the capital city? It shouldn’t just be Wellington. How about, say, having it on a three-year rotation basis and the good people of New Zealand get to vote which place it should be next: Hamilton in 2018, Clyde in 2021, Kerikeri in 2024… (but only if the nation decides).

The outcry over refugees coming into New Zealand: should we invite in just 750 refugees a year? Double it? A thousand? No restrictions? Why not put it to the vote?

And, most importantly given it’s a world cup year, why weren’t we given the choice as to who should be in the All Blacks squad for Rugby World Cup 2015 in England? Maybe, though, we get to decide who should be in the starting line-up for the first match.

What about a referendum about how old you have to be to take part in a referendum?

Mr Key, you may have started something with the flag vote. But where will it end?


[colored_box color=”green”]This is an opinion-based article designed to provoke debate, discussion and further inquiry amongst your students:  [/colored_box]  [colored_box color=”yellow”]Critical Thinking Challenges:

1. What else should be decided with a national referendum?

2. What about a referendum about how old you have to be to take part in a referendum?

3. Why is the flag given a referendum but nothing else?

4. Would a referendum work in your school for deciding whether your principal’s decisions should be made into school rules?

[/colored_box] [colored_box color=”green”]Practical Tasks:

1. If you were allowed to vote on who to include in the All Blacks team for the opening Rugby World Cup 2015 match, who would you pick?

2. Design your own flag and give a presentation showing why your flag should be picked in front of all the other contenders.

3. Using SurveyMonkey or Google Forms or another method of your choice, design a referendum for something to do with your school (rules, values, playtimes, lunch etc) and send it out. Collate the results and feedback to your classmates, teacher or principal.

[/colored_box] [colored_box color=”red”]Have Your Say: [socialpoll id=”[socialpoll id=”2293221″] [/colored_box]


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