New Zealand has never been such an overt lover of its flag, a nation of flag wavers, compared to, say, Australia or the US. The current prime minister is trying to change that by changing the flag (other reasons for the flag change include him not wanting to be mistakenly seated under the Australian flag. How this will stop him from being confused with Czech politicians is not so clear).
Like our attitude to the flag, the response to the proposed change hasn’t been much more than a collective meh. Which isn’t to say that no one cares – my Facebook feed has a pretty good random sampling of pro-change, anti-change, what-about-the-TPPA, there-are-more-important-things view points.
My main concern has been that as a voting public we would collectively choose something rather ugly. Something that, considering the
four five shortlisted voting options, wouldn’t be so hard to do. Because aesthetics are still important. And so if there is to be a referendum on which of those designs will become the new New Zealand flag, then I want in.
Those same flags (real or imagined I can’t tell), flapping in a pastoral scene.
And so because of this minor enthusiasm, I’ve just had to apply to become a ‘remote voter’ – the term for someone who hasn’t or who is unable to receive their voting papers. This has both nothing (friends in the UK received theirs over a week ago) and everything to do with us being overseas (oh hi Italian postal system!). The papers were sent out on 20 November, surely with enough time for everyone in the world to receive their copy. But, the final date for voting is 11 December and our forms are still nowhere in sight.
Because the Italian postal system isn’t strong at the best of times. A birthday card from my mum took 20 days (including weekends) to
fly sail crawl its way to my letter box, so while I was originally optimistic about our voting chances, my expectations should never have been so high.
(Fortunately for me (as someone who still actively chooses to send cards and postcards), letters departing from Italy seem to have a better track record than those arriving in to Italy. Which is just as well, considering the rates the post office likes to charge.)
Fingers crossed I still have the opportunity to rank those coloured little boxes in order of my preference. (Because aesthetics matter.)