Sunday, September 6, 2015

Jock Anderson: Of Flags And Refugees

Freelance journalist Jock Anderson calls for reasoned thinking when considering two media-driven issues.

No two topics have consumed the New Zealand media as much in recent times as the so-called flag “conversation” and the push to take more refugees.

Reporting on both topics has been at fever pitch as hand-wringing reporters and presenters do their damnedest to foist on the country things many folk are uncomfortable accepting and won’t accept.

In the case of the flag debate, or conversation, as it is called, this multi-million dollar exercise in giving aging academics, past sports heroes and tired “celebrities” from the marketing world something to do has completely missed the point of changing the flag.

The chosen examples on which the nation will be asked to rate by preference are nothing more than marketing logos, which would be more at home on packs of butter or footy shorts.

None of them are examples of what could be truly called a national flag.

Now the rugby union has farcically warned the government against pinching “its” silver fern logo.

The flag debate has been misconstrued from day one, initiated – it seems – by Prime Minister John Key’s irritation at ours being confused with Australia’s.

New Zealanders fought and died under our flag and the Returned Services Association, for one, is rightly opposed to any change to it.

The flag also represents New Zealand’s place in the British Commonwealth, so before any flag change is contemplated New Zealand should first decide if it wants to remain in the Commonwealth or pull out.

That’s a major serious constitutional “conversation” that has yet to take place.
Which brings me to refugees.

It seems New Zealand could double its refugee intake from 750 to 1,500 without too much trouble. Kiwis are apparently coming out of the woodwork to billet them.

Again, some caution is required.

The refugee story is driven by a frenetic media obsessed with images of thousands of folk running about Europe looking for new safe homes.

Film of a dead toddler lying in the surf is a newsroom bonus and is milked for every tear-jerking second.

Does the media “care” about refugees or changing the flag? No.

These are simply the hot stories of the day, beaten up to rally misplaced nationalism and trigger outpourings of compassion.

Nationalism and compassion have their place but people need to be wary of being rail-roaded by a cynical media interested more in cheap thrills than rational, informed discussion.

Prediction: If New Zealand does take more refugees wait for the media to talk up how wonderful we are as a caring nation. And wait for the same media to pounce on any unfortunates who can’t or won’t fit in.

That’s tomorrow’s news…

Jock Anderson has been a journalist for a long time, observing matters from what he describes as a sensible centre-right perspective. He can be contacted at


OlderChas said...

How about we take - say - 10% of the number of "refugees" that the Arab States take?

Anonymous said...

No more moslems into NZ!

Brian said...

Of Flags and Refugees a Media Bonus.
Jock Anderson has hit the mark; our Media together with the Compassionate Brigade have been having a field day. The incidence of that small drowned child being carried onto the beach must be one of the greatest hypes in recent journalism. Let us compare this death with the recent deaths of small children in New Zealand by violent “carers”. This made small headlines in comparison, and then vanished from media attention, an embarrassment emanating from the standard of child care and parenting that is now a feature of New Zealand. Or perhaps the concern was that these deaths had an ethnic connotation; especially when one reads the United Nations report on the ethnic composition in our prisons!
The mass migration is in effect an invasion from Syria and Iraq, the consequence of failings by the United Nation, the Obama administration, and the Peace at any Price foreign policy of the E U. The removal of being able to deal with ISIS with a strong military solution was substituted with a bombing campaign. The military has repeatedly inform these organisations that a bombing campaign without Boots on the Ground is a useless exercise and is a case of repeating the history of bombing in World War 2. It is like many other components, a tool to use in conjunction with many others; and not the ultimate weapon. (Unless of course, the Nuclear bomb is used, and then that still has to be followed with Boots on the Ground.
The failure to identify and destroy Isis in the early stages can be compared with the similar failure to deal with Hitler in 1934. It is not to late even at this stage, to take the ultimate steps by the Western Powers, (and this includes New Zealand) to place forces in sufficient strength to destroy ISIS. Not merely using the excuse of providing a non-combatant role merely to serve political ends.
But will this happen? Not while President Obama is in the last stages of his Presidency and wishes to be remembered as the Legacy Peacemaker in retirement, or the E.U., who have procrastinated over facing difficult issues since its inception. Western Countries should throw off the comfortable political shield of appeasement, and deal ruthlessly with this Islamic terrorist issue, which would start an end to this mass exodus.
It behoves the general public in N.Z. to realise that distance can no longer protect us from the March of Islam.
A case of “And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.”

Anonymous said...

Jock Anderson must be in the same school of deluded thinking as Mike Hosking if he believes we must exit the Commonwealth before considering a flag change. The vast majority of Commonwealth members have had flag changes.