John Key’s Flag Design Likened to Vegetarian Pirate Ship Ensign, ISIS Flag

silver fern pirate ship Many Kiwis today will probably fail to see neither the humor nor the satire in US comedian John Oliver’s remarks about their country’s mission to change their flag (everyone watch the above video, Kiwis may prefer to turn away if they are easily offended).

Reference HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, November 2, 2014.

The video starts off with an interview with the astonishingly inarticulate Prime Minister of New Zealand. John Key  doesn’t find it amusing to be be seated under the Australian flag (unlike the audience) nor did he like being unknown at the Mandela Memorial ceremony.

Unfortunately changing the flag will do nothing to improve his ecksint or increase his personal magnetism.

Rising Sun and ISIS

Key’s original design of a silver fern on a black ground was likened by Oliver to the ISIS flag. An interesting contrast to Key comparing it to Japan’s Rising Sun.

In Kiwi eyes, being mistaken for an extremist terror state is possibly not as bad as being mistaken for Australia. But there are potentially fatal consequences with the former, while the latter is simply a matter of pride and marketing.

Oliver went on to comment on Key’s “bloody horrible” revised design using more traditional colours. Then suggested a few of his own, based on uniquely Kiwi motifs. These included a bungy jumping sheep, a Kiwi bird having sex with a hobbit, or the most apt “We are not Australia.”

John Key can't remember his position on Iraq


For years New Zealand has struggled to differentiate itself from its bigger influential neighbor, Australia. The two countries share remarkably similar flags and outside of the local geopolitical arena are often perceived to be the same country, much to Kiwis’ eternal chagrin and Australia’s indifference. This was made evident by the outrage caused by the All Blacks recently receiving the ultimate ‘honor’ of being referred to as Australian.

One solution to this perceived dilemma is to change the New Zealand flag to something uniquely, instantly recognizably Kiwi. Perhaps Oliver’s suggestions are more apt?

Of course, there are many commentators who say that the flag debate is merely a distraction to remove attention from more pressing issues (TPPA, Dirty Politics, Child Poverty, hacking away at workers rights, troops fighting overseas, the great brain drain – all the usual political hot kumeras).

As usual, the best examples of New Zealand cultural indignation were found in the comments section below the YouTube video. Roundly haka’d up comments spewed out of boringly predictable xenophobic homophobes. Who knew New Zealand was such a testosterone saturated, patriarchal society? For example,

Jamie McKay

Who the fuck is this Jasper Carrot wannabe?!!? Obviously this twat was busy washing his brummie balls and missed the audition for Have I Got News For You where he would actually have to use what little intellect he has to come up with some intelligent satire. I would like for him to tell the All Blacks that the Silver Fern belongs on a Vegetarian Pirate ship……..but then again he was probably too busy playing soggy biscuit at his Public School to actually find out what real rugby is. Prick.
Although there were a handful of perspicacious persons who know smoke and mirrors when they see them. Many were not as bright as these two people:

Coben Storer

Maybe our high rate of child sexual and physical abuse, poverty and environmental damage should be a priority and not the flag. I couldn’t give two fucks about the flag when we have the highest rate of economic polarisation on the planet.

Sam Field

John Key is out of touch with the people of NZ (unsurprisingly). Most Kiwis don’t want the change, Key should focus on the real issues instead of finding creative ways to distract people.
Any suggestions for the NZ flag? tell us about your designs.

21 thoughts on “John Key’s Flag Design Likened to Vegetarian Pirate Ship Ensign, ISIS Flag

  1. What a joke. Referendums are non-binding unless it is for something that the PM wants.
    70-80% said no to; anti-smacking, ETS. Yet those were said to be non-binding for advisory use only.
    An attempt at revisionist history getting rid of the “Union Jack” and replacing it with a feather.

  2. When it comes to John Key and his desire to change the flag, one must start to question what his motives are. One of the key indicators (pun intended) could be in that every significant design proposed the Union Jack has been removed; why is this?

    Some will argue that the Union Jack has no relevance whatsoever to New Zealand as it is today, that New Zealand has no connections with Britain, and that it is inappropriate to have the Union Jack present on the New Zealand flag. This would show a lack of understanding of why it is there.

    The government of New Zealand, at present, is still accountable to the British Crown. This is why British royalty still has a representative in New Zealand in the way of the Governor General. While it can be seen as a now irrelevant remnant of New Zealand’s past, this connection plays a vital role in the security of the country. It means that should a dictator try to take over, or any other form of radical changes take place in the government, the Governor General can take action and overrule the New Zealand government, backed by the full powers of the British Crown. This is an important safety mechanism.

    A change in the flag could well be a planned step toward New Zealand breaking away from this arrangement and becoming a republic. Should this happen the safety mechanism will be dismantled; the potential for New Zealand to be ruled by a dictator would suddenly become a disturbing reality.

    • @Vince: Your analysis is very interesting. On some level, New Zealand is the encapsulation of the Commonwealth model whereby an elite dominate the society transforming the majority of the population into serfs. The major distinction between New Zealand and the United Kingdom is that the elite in the United Kingdom all attended the same prestigious schools whereas the New Zealand elite tended to get drunk with each other after rugby.

      It is worth nothing that the abolition of the Privy Council signified that it is no longer possible for litigants to lodge an appeal with an independent judicial body not controlled by the inbred elites of New Zealand. Admittedly, it is possible to appeal some very old cases from the time the Privy Council in London was the foremost court, but it is no longer possible to appeal anything today.

      • “the Commonwealth model whereby an elite dominate the society transforming the majority of the population into serfs.”

        NZ has a lower GIni coefficient than most other countries, so the ‘serfs’ seem to be doing OK.

        I’m not a New Zealander BTW, just interested.

    • Vince,

      “It means that should a dictator try to take over, or any other form of radical changes take place in the government, the Governor General can take action and overrule the New Zealand government, backed by the full powers of the British Crown. This is an important safety mechanism.”

      What is the GG going to do, wave his or her magic wand and make the bad man go away?
      What powers (or interest) does does the British Crown, or government, have in NZ affairs, It’s 2014, not 1914.
      That “safety mechanism” is about as effective as a marshmallow air bag.

      • It is important to understand that New Zealand’s parliament is comprised of two different factors; The House of Representatives (local government), and the Sovereign. The Governor General represents that sovereign (the Queen).

        The central role of the Governor General, according to his own office is:

        “to maintain the legitimacy and continuity of government by ensuring there is always a government in office with a democratic mandate to govern. Legitimacy is the foundation of civil peace and the order that is maintained by the rule of law.”

        So, the ENTIRE point of the Governor General’s role, at a local level, is to make sure the House of Representatives has the right to govern; the powers of the Governor General are focused on that role.

        Now generally the Governor General acts on the advice of the Ministers. He appoints members of the judiciary, justices of the peace and other officials. After elections the Governor General identifies who the Prime Minister will be, and appoints them based on their ability to lead the House of Representatives.

        But, there is another side to the role of the Governor General. In order to ensure the legitimacy of the local government they also have the power to dismiss a Prime Minister, force a dissolution of Parliament, refuse a Prime Minister’s request for elections, and refuse assent to legislation.

        In essence, if the House of Representatives ceases to be legitimate and democratic, the Governor General is capable of dissolving it and declaring it illegal (historically this has never happened, but the Governor General still has these powers).

        A dictator coming to power in this environment would be forced to remove the Governor General from office in order to legitimize their government; this is the only way to completely remove the democratic process in New Zealand.

        Remembering that the Governor General is the Queen’s representative, means this would be a direct attack on her sovereignty; an act of high treason. High treason is still considered the most serious crime that can be committed (up until 1998 it carried the death penalty). A move against the Governor General would probably also be considered an act of war against Britain.

        Take the Governor General out of the picture by New Zealand becoming a republic, and all this protection disappears. There is nothing whatsoever to stop the country from descending into a full-blown dictatorship.

        • “A move against the Governor General would probably also be considered an act of war against Britain.”

          Do you really expect that the British, or their Monarch will notice or even care? Perhaps they will send a gunboat.

          “Take the Governor General out of the picture by New Zealand becoming a republic, and all this protection disappears.”

          Well, if you believe that there’s a magical quality about monarchy, that makes sense, actually the only real guarantee against dictatorship is the will of the people, ask the Americans. NZ, like Australia and Canada, is already a quasi republic. What will be the effect on NZ when the UK becomes a republic?

          You’re just repeating your previous legalistic arguments and ignoring the political reality.

          • Actually, the one thing I am doing is NOT ignoring political realities. However, I understand that individuals who are trolling will deliberately stir up disagreement and emotive response (often by quoting another writer’s material and adding snide comments). They will also add in ad-hominem arguments (that have no relevance) and frame their comments as personal attacks. Their comments, or course, should be ignored, but sometimes require a response to point out what they are doing.

            The reality is that New Zealander’s should be very concerned about what is happening in their country. The steady erosion of civil rights, the ongoing growth of the surveillance state, and the shifting of power into the hands of the executive (who is clearly being manipulated by foreign influence) should all be of great concern. But, most New Zealanders are completely ignorant of what any of this means; ignorance is considered a desirable trait in this country. I am sure that when the referendum for New Zealand to become a republic happens (and I believe it will), most New Zealanders will support it openly without any idea of what it means for New Zealand as a nation.

            And, what would New Zealanders do if a dictator came to power in their country? Probably nothing whatsoever; they are well known as some of the most apathetic people in the Western World.

          • Actually I wasn’t trolling, or using ad hominem attacks, my comments were in good faith. As far as I’m concerned you haven’t provided any support for your belief in the benefits of a monarchy. So let’s end the discussion.

          • I think New Zealand will go the same way as Australia. If the liberal party successfully continues to dismantle checks on its own power and pulverize the opposition, while Newscorp gains further control over the information environment, Australia could vote to leave the Commonwealth soon. If Australia leaves, New Zealand won’t be far behind.

            All this plays out atop the colossal shifts underway in global economic power. A move away from England, Europe and, ultimately, the US, would appeal to Australian nationalists, who are eager to try on their big-boy pants and cozy up closer to BRIC, and who are afraid of being sucked into the abyss of a collapsing economic world order dominated by the US dollar. Whether this actually comes to pass as many giddily predict, and, more importantly, whether Australia and New Zealand would fare any better long term after leaving the nest, is questionable.

            As for a dictatorship coming to power in New Zealand? I think that description is old-school bipolar international politics. New Zealand is a plutocracy; its ruling class would not tolerate, nor could its culture produce, a competent dictator in our lifetimes. New Zealand doesn’t need a dictatorship, as the current government can have anything it wants: no need to play drama queen and draw negative international attention to itself. All the mechanisms of media, social, and police control already exist. The only variable is how far to tighten the screws.

          • Calvin Kulo,

            There are so many possible economic and political scenarios and I’m always rather sceptical about future developments, as there are so many discontinuities in history. In the early 90s, Japan was forecast to be the world’s No1 economy by now, instead the country has experienced 20 years of stagnation. 100 years ago Argentina was forecast to leave Australia far behind in political and social development.
            I wouldn’t put much money on BRICs either, apart from China, and the important question is whether China can develop the necessary institutions to continue its development, or it might hit the wall.

            My point (which I was trying to explain to Vince) is that there’s no nest, and the Commonwealth is essentially nothing more than a second rate sports club.The talk in the UK of leaving the EU is really just chest thumping, they’re in the organisation permanently.

            In my opinion most “democracies” are plutocracies to some degree.

            I agree that we’re at a remarkable period in history, what Australians (and New Zealanders) need to understand is that we’re on our own, there are no “great and powerful friends’ to rely on.

          • @RusselW

            Of course, there are many scenarios and variables. That’s why there are entire professions and career fields which are devoted to modelling and forecasting. It may all be too much for most people to think about, but there are armies of very educated people grappling with these questions every day.

            There was, indeed, a lot of media hype and nonsense about Japan in the 80s to early 90s. I wasn’t alive at the turn of the century prior to WWI, so I can’t speak from experience re: Argentina, but I think I have read the same article(s) you have regarding historical perspective and popular opinion then. And as for China now, I’m not buying their fake government data and moving to Beijing.

            However, the difference is that today we have big data and “big” computers, and no longer have to rely on so-called experts with agenda and their mainstream media groupies to do the analysis for us, although that is what most people still prefer to do.

            That “club” you are dismissing is far more important than you give credence to: it includes security, intelligence, trade, and cultural arrangements that would be weakened or undermined by such a drastic act of divorce. England may play a mostly symbolic role in the day-to-day affairs of Australia and New Zealand, but their independence would not go unnoticed or without serious repercussions.

            The truth is, New Zealand is still a tiny country and is important, ironically, only for its geography. It will follow Australia wherever it goes.

          • @Calvin Kulo

            I don’t have any significant disagreements except for–

            “That “club” you are dismissing is far more important than you give credence to:”

            Actually the effective and very exclusive club is not the Commonwealth, but the so-called “Five Eyes” security and intelligence organisation, which was essentially created, and is dominated by the US. The members, English speaking liberal democracies would have common interests whether they were monarchies or republics or members of, or out of the Commonwealth.

            “It will follow Australia wherever it goes.” I wouldn’t make a comment as to what choice NZ would make, apart from the fact that some Kiwis seem to want it both ways—to be an independent country and the de facto seventh state of Australia. An independent country with no effective defence force.

          • Russel and I might not be on the same side of the political spectrum, but he is a good man and a pleasant person with whom to exchange ideas. He is certainly not one to troll.

  3. Admin,

    The outraged comments from Kiwis were nearly as funny as the video itself. Even though it was a comedian on a U.S. network giving NZ a serve, I noticed that many Kiwis couldn’t resist the usual Oz bashing.

  4. Thanks for the humour E2NZ. Perhaps the Retardicons could create a blue flag background with an image of New Zealand’s landmass that reads, “Retardicon 6, We are 100% Pure Inbreeds. Come join us and watch negative natural selection at work.”

  5. “John Key is out of touch with the people of NZ” ??? So the election result was some kind of North Korean stitch-up then?

    • Totally correct, government is very much connected to the majority, the Niwzillin sheeple and drives this mob in any dictated direction, since 1840 and counting.
      Baaaaah baaaaah , three bags full……

      The people though shake their head,chuckle and go their own way……..

Comments are closed.