$200K for flag meeting workshops

The head of the New Zealand flag consideration panel says attendance at public workshops was "modest", but has defended the $200,000 cost of running the travelling roadshow.

Most of the 25 meetings around the country were held in half-empty halls, with an average crowd of 30 people, and some as low as eight people (New Plymouth) and 10 people (Christchurch).

Sunday’s engagement hui in Waitangi was the final and most popular event, attracting 75 people to debate the potential change of flag.

While specific costs of the meetings won’t be released until the end of the flag consideration project, $208,500 of the overall $25.7m budget had been allocated for public meetings.

Panel chair professor John Burrows said that cost covered the meetings as well as information stands at shopping malls, libraries and markets.

He said the roadshow was "an important part of an independent, inclusive and community-driven process" and was particularly useful for people who did not have internet access.

"Some people still prefer a face to face environment and the opportunity to have a discussion.

"While modest in attendance, the meetings have provided an opportunity for members of the public to share their views, as well as hear the views of others."

Project spokeswoman Suzanne Stephenson said the meetings had been "in line with best practice commercial principles".

She said catering was kept to a minimum of tea, coffee and biscuits.

Meanwhile more than 5000 flag designs have been uploaded to flag.govt.nz.Public submissions close July 16.

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Posted on 08-07-2015 14:52 | By maildrop

I agree with your sentiment but people shouldn’t forget about the first vote even if they want to keep the current flag. They should get out and vote for the worst, most stupid design that is on the ballot. That way even those those who want to change flags may be faced with a crappy alternative. Vote in both referendums I say. Win win. Spoil the John Key ego trip.

Who listens to referenda?

Posted on 08-07-2015 12:54 | By ronillian

This govt seems to listen to referenda when it suits them and it fits their agenda. They certainly didn’t listen to the decisive referendum where the public clearly rejected privatisation of state-owned assets! And the public seem to be in a ’frenzy of indifference’ about this issue. I agree with most of the blog comments here... a waste of money and a distraction from the issues that are important to Kiwis.

trouble is!!

Posted on 08-07-2015 10:18 | By Corwen

As a binding referendum, only 1 person need to turn out to vote for change and it will happen. That’s why the two vote system is being used. The same happened with MMP, only 35% of eligible voters turned out and only 52% (from memory) voted for MMP. So only 18% of voters made the change. For about the first vote, its only the 2nd one that counts and if you don’t want change, that’s when you need to turn out


Posted on 08-07-2015 09:31 | By surfsup

Does anybody know if the above $$$ figure also includes the pay for each member. At the end of the day we all know it is a complete waste of money that should be going into schools, health and all the other areas that are lacking funding.


Posted on 07-07-2015 20:28 | By Ness

greasing the palms of a few another political joke which will become cultural as everything has to be ,meanwhile another poor little child is killed priorities nz.


Posted on 07-07-2015 19:42 | By ROCCO

Its basically the same head crew that ran around the country with the ill conceived 2013 Constitutional Review Panel fiasco that all turned to custard on them.Much more money obscenely spent here at $27m+ but who really gives a ratz artz. A simple yes or no at the outset would have been ample to start with but that would be to easy for the little leaders pea brain or was it that it would be a foregone conclusion and 80% would have voted to retain the existing flag and rightly so too.Good to see all the usual suspects pictured sticking their oar in and that’s bound to harden the average Kiwis resolve too.WOFTAM

What a waste.

Posted on 07-07-2015 19:08 | By dgk

What a huge waste of taxpayer dollars by this beneficiary panel.

So that means that

Posted on 07-07-2015 18:57 | By astex

only around 750 people out of four and a half million showed any interest. I hope that the voter turnout shows the same interest and then maybe this fiasco can be laid to rest. John Key started it and maybe HE should fund it?

One Man's Folly

Posted on 07-07-2015 18:49 | By Merlin

The referendum was put the wrong way round so John Key’s folly would have a show.The numbers at the meetings and the polls tell it all.I note John Key is not saying too much on it these days.


Posted on 07-07-2015 18:13 | By FunandGames

hey Ill meet anyone for the bargain price of $10,000. Okay negotiable.


Posted on 07-07-2015 18:11 | By overit

The numbers say it all.

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