The flag referendum

Many people on social media were disappointed that Red Peak didn’t win the first flag referendum.

This is a real-world reminder that social media, particularly Twitter, is not representative of the broader New Zealand electorate.

I don’t think the flag should be changed – but also don’t think that people voting for Kyle Lockwood’s designs should be dismissed so quickly.

There is a real problem in New Zealand with a disconnect between the everyday lives of people who live in the bubble and those that do not.

This can be seen in the regional inequality data – households in central Auckland, central Wellington, some areas of Christchurch and several rural areas – have far higher incomes, educational attainment rates and levels of average wealth than the rest of the country.

This means that the frame of reference for new policy proposals or even the sorts of concerns that give rise to lobbying the council or government on a particular issue are completely at odds with how most New Zealanders live their lives.

There are real concerns to be had if many of the people who start with blank Word documents and draft policy proposals are dismissive of the idea that people outside the bubble shouldn’t have their say in our democracy because they don’t subscribe to design thinking or vexillogy.