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MIL OSI – Source: New Zealand First – Press Release/Statement

Headline: New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill – Third Reading

It is hard to imagine any justifiable reason for that member, Jono Naylor, getting to his feet. I want to say that New Zealand First saw the Prime Minister’s proposal, and at the very beginning we looked hard at it and our experience suggested we should do all we could to oppose it, and we have.

We are going to call for a personal vote, because all manner of members of Parliament have gone up there and given their views on the choices thus far, including on Red Peak, and we would like to know where they all personally stand.

We think such a request is a reasonable one—an extraordinarily reasonable one. I do not want to hear some sort of constitutional argument against that, because you have heard members say: “I don’t like the four and I don’t like Red Peak.” So they should be entitled, if democracy is to prevail—and all of a sudden the National Party has been overcome by it—to have a personal vote.

Moving the goalposts after the game has started always stinks. Changing the rules after the referee has whistled the game on always smells.

The Prime Minister has been utterly consistent, though—and I will be reasonable to him—in his inconsistency. He has been like the Skycity deal, like the South Canterbury Finance deal, like the Hollywood deal, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, and like the deal or the argument about not making New Zealanders serfs in their own country.

About separatist legislation based purely on race or about the State-asset sales referenda that we have had, he has been utterly consistent. He has done a backflip on the whole lot including this legislation.

So why are none of us surprised? You see, he was on a hiding to nothing and we knew from day one that he could not be trusted to give the public a fair choice. We knew from day one that his obsequious toadying colleagues would do likewise at the request of Crosby/Textor and anyone else—whoever finances the National Party right now—but they personally would never make a stand in their constituency or public interests.

We said from day one we should have a choice: do you want a flag change—yes or no? If the answer became yes in a majority, then obviously the question was “To what?”. But they were never going to do that and from the beginning New Zealand First smelt a rat and unlike all the rest we put our record and our reputation on the lines and we are being proven right. That is what National hates about it. That is what that backbench hates about it and that is what more and more out there who think they know about politics are going to hate about it. It is because on issue after issue after issue one party has principles and does not move from them.

We said from the word go that we would not join the cross-party, jack-up committee designed to puppetise the procedure’s for the PM’s whim. Here is the PM, instead of saying “I want to leave the country in greater economic and social wealth and do great things in areas of reform,” no, he wants to have of all things at the end of his time a flag. And when he is asked what flag he says he does not know. He does not know. So he wants a legacy that he does not know about. How pathetic and shallow and egotistical is that. We would not join the sham. You see, politics is about leadership and, uniquely, New Zealand First has again on this issue—like the Reserve Bank legislation, like foreign ownership, like anti-separatist legislation—shown the way, and we will not resile from that.

Now the Greens say that this appalling change in the flag law within weeks is justified. Why? They say it is to break the political stalemate or to break the political deadlock. What stalemate? What deadlock? The Prime Minister was getting a hiding to nothing. His own internal polls were rising above 80 percent and they all dropped the bundle over there.

So, like the cavalry over the hills, at the last moment comes in the most unlikely form—the most unusual salvation—from of all parties the Greens. This is pixie dust, Mr Hughes. It is naivety in the extreme. It is stupidity.

Look at the Greens’ Facebook. There is page after page after page telling them of the enormous political cost for this sort of naivety. Russel Norman would never have done this. He had his faults—but dear Russel would never have done something as stupid as this. Page after page is so damning: “Well done for helping the National propaganda machine. The rest of you are gutless.” It is unbelievable. I cannot read some of this because it is too bad. Then: “No, it’s awful. Another logo. Thank God for New Zealand First. Why on earth are you playing into National hands.” There is one after another. I am just reading each one separately: “You guys are idiots. Now the Greens are”—and I cannot possibly pronounce this word—“going to help National.” It goes on and on: “I can’t believe how you’ve done this. I voted for you at the last election. Now I’m going to vote New Zealand First next time.” Thank you very much. That is going to be a crowning win coming. Over and over again. They are “Appalled”, this person says. Dear me, I think I should make the Greens read this stuff out themselves because it is an appalling litany of complaints from their own supporters.

And they said they did it to—what—break the deadlock, break the impasse. Oh no, you did not. They thought they were going to play politics and be real clever. I was overseas at the time and I thought “Hallelujah! Now we are all going to see them for what they are.” And so will the Labour Party members, who need to wake up on this issue. They cannot be trusted on our left for 5 minutes when you have got somebody who thinks that their political genius understanding of our country people measures up to a change like this.

Online polling is not even the 5 percent required by referendum law. No, it is just online polling with triple voting and social media, and that amounts to a groundswell. Really? Well, we will see what is a groundswell as we rise to the next 24 months to the next election. But I know one thing: the Greens will not be around if they behave like this one more time. This is frivolity of the worst sort.

And as for consorting with your worst enemy, what happened to the Green-Blue coalition? Well, it has well and truly gone. Month after month of vituperation from Ministers over there and over they come—the National Party—rub their tummy and they roll over.

And Mr Key says: “Look, I will always have regard to a change in public opinion.” Do you believe that? Do you believe that? Well, if you believe that you believe in the tooth fairy, do you not—anybody who believes that.

Red Peak is currently used by a US business. Red Peak is as old as the late 1930s in another country. It is a result not of a 5 percent voters’ referendum but an online result riddled with mistakes and duplication of votes.

The PM, poll-driven as he was, is getting a complete public thrashing now and this will not get better. Red Peak will not save him. It is a public policy that has been the subject of a duplicitous and a disgraceful process and a waste of money and so desperate were they that we got a letter from the Speaker’s office telling us to take down our official flags from this Parliament. I wrote back to the Speaker’s office and said: “Would you please tell me who gave that instruction?”. Sure enough, they dropped the bundle and no longer argued about it because they said they had gone to the Business Committee and there was no objection to the flags remaining. That was on 1 September from the Clerk’s office and I want to know, if that is the case, who authorised that first letter to us on 24 August telling us to pull down the flags?

See how biased things have got? An independent member and servant of this House had the effrontery to tell us to pull down our national flag. Well, we are not doing that. We will do our utmost in the next few weeks to ensure that New Zealand has got a chance to go down there and write “Keep our flag” on the ballot papers, which will mean a majority of informal, and this waste of public money will now cease.