In the next week or so, all New Zealanders will receive an important letter in the mail. It’ll be your phone bill. Pay it at once or all your data and minutes will be lost.
There will also be a letter from Reader’s Digest advising that you may have already won either a small European country or a paper clip. Send the enclosed entry form back quickly, lest you miss out.
Discard the Warehouse and SuperCheap Auto Xmas Sale flyers and go with your gut instinct to give book vouchers (again) this year.
There will also be a letter from the Electoral Office. Sadly, it won’t be an apology for letting John Keys and his band of grasping new-world-orderites win the last general election by a whisker, but a voting form for the New Flag Referendum Part One. How you vote will not only impact on the way New Zealanders feel about their country for millennia to come but … no, not even that.
Once you’ve opened the envelope and got a bandaid for the paper cut, making a mental note to get some grown up bandaids because Ren and Stimpy look a bit silly, you’ll find a voting paper.
On the voting paper will be pictures of flags and a question. In an ideal world the question would be “Which of these flags would you like to see draped over the bloated corpse of the National Party?” but it will probably be “If you think that John Keys deserves a lasting monument to his time as NZ’s most daggish PM and a new flag would be cheaper than a statue, which one do you reckon?
Take your time choosing. Think, for example. And then think, for another example, which flag would look best on the label of a packet of pineapple lumps made in Manila. Or marked out in paving paint on the field of the Westpac Stadium at the next Sevens tournament.
If you’re having trouble selecting The One, think about the which design you hate the most – the one that looks more like a corporate logo for a shady debt collection firm, or Serco. Repeat until there are no more flags you hate the most remaining.
Because this is a ranked choice vote, you have to put the flags in order of preference. It can be your personal preference, the preference of some lobby group hoping to engineer the outcome of the referendum, or you can forget about any sort of preference and just enter random numbers. This third method is the way all voting is done in Australia and it seems to have worked well for them so far.
Once you’ve filled in your voting paper, fold it carefully in half and then half again. You may wish to place it into the return envelope or, if you prefer, make another fold three quarters of the way along the longer side at an angle of 47 degrees, peel back the opposite corner, turn it inside out and make something that looks like a giraffe if you squint.
Put the envelope aside, and work out how you can put off paying the phone bill until the stuff you’ve put on Trademe sells.