Home > The Body Politic > Letter to the editor – a Tale of Two Referenda

Letter to the editor – a Tale of Two Referenda


Frank Macskasy - letters to the editor - Frankly Speaking


from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com>
to: Listener <letters@listener.co.nz>
date: Sun, Jul 12, 2015
subject: Letter to the editor


The Editor
The Listener


I find it ironic that John Key has invested so much of his time, effort, and tax-payer’s money in the up-coming flag referendum.

On 29 October last year, Key defended the $29 million price tag of the referendum;

“In the end you have to say, what price do you put on democracy where people can genuinely have their say on a matter that is actually important? … This is a cost essentially of one of the values that New Zealanders would want to test.

Yes, it’s a one-off cost, but my view would be that if the flag doesn’t change as a result of this referendum process, then it won’t be changing for a good 50 to 100 years, so this is a cost we have to bear.” (NZ Herald, ‘John Key defends cost of flag referendums’)

This is is stark contrast to Key’s dismissive attitude toward the $9 million asset-sales referendum, held in September 2013, which he labelled frivolous;

“It’s a complete and utter waste of money because it’s just about sending a message.” (Otago Daily Times, ‘Asset sales referendum ‘waste of money’)

On 14 December 2014, he was even more blunt about the asset-sales referendum;

“Overall what it basically shows, it was pretty much a political stunt.” (Fairfax media, ‘Asset sales programme to continue: Key’)

Key has staked his political reputation on a referendum which seemingly few New Zealanders want, nor care about. Spending $29 million on the flag referendum will be three times what was spent deciding the future of publicly owned, multi-billion-dollar assets.

Key showed a casual, dismissive arrogance to the asset sales referendum – but now expects the public to take his own pet project seriously?!

No, Prime Minister, that is not how it works.

We will take your silly little flag referendum more seriously when you start to show respect to other public concerns.

Until then, your referendum is little more than an ego-driven joke, and I suspect most New Zealanders will be dismissive toward it.

“Political stunt”, indeed.


-Frank Macskasy


[address and phone number supplied]





NZ Herald: John Key defends cost of flag referendums

Otago Daily Times: Asset sales referendum ‘waste of money’

Fairfax media: Asset sales programme to continue – Key







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