New Zealand Flag Design Referendum

The government has recently embarked on the Flag Consideration Project where
New Zealanders can for the first time in history have their say in the design of the New Zealand flag. This will be costing the taxpayer a rediculous $25 million.

The first part of the process involves New Zealanders going to the ‘standfor’ site and there they are being asked ‘what they stand for’.  If you wish to submit a flag then they direct you to the site. Then there are going to be 2 postal referendums. The first postal referendum determines the preferred alternative flag design. The second referendum decides between the preferred alternative design and the current flag.

On the ‘standfor’ site people have been loudly voicing their opinions on what they stand for. There are quite a few who think this designing of a new flag is unnecessary and a waste of money as you can see below.


So, this flag design is really a branding exercise. A brand is to a company what a flag is to a nation. What is the nature of the brand and what does it say to the world? Well nothing quite says kiwi like the silver fern. No disrespect to the people who have fought and died under our current flag, but I am of the opinion that an alternative flag should in some form incorporate the silver fern. The reasoning behind this is because New Zealanders are already identified with the iconic silver fern around the world. It is used to represent New Zealand in sports, tourism, etc. Building on that existing silver fern association into our flag to me feels like a step in the right direction.


PrinceHarryWearingSILVERFERN pm


NadiaLIM-PromotingNZFood&Culture pm


Internet Blackout Protest Against Harsh Copyright Law Turns Into Global Viral

This is a follow-up on my post about the Creative Freedom Foundation’s Campaign against Guilt Upon Accusation Laws in New Zealand. To try and fill you in quickly, the Creative Freedom Foundation are protesting against Section 92A of the Copyright Amendment Act that is due to come into law in New Zealand on February 28th. This ammendment to the law would mean that ISPs would be able to cut off internet access and web sites of anyone who is repeatedly accused of copyright infringment, based purely on accusation alone, without evidence or proof of guilt. It will be a three strikes and you’re out system. On the third copyright infringement the ISP will automatically cut off your internet connection, without being proven guilty in a court of law. Completely outrageous indeed. The same kind of legislation has been rejected in other countries such as Germany and the UK.

The campaign started out with the Creative Freedom Foundation asking people to protest by signing an online petition called Not In My Name. They also wanted people to spread the word about the campaign by either joining them on Facebook and MySpace, writing to a member of parliament or displaying an animated banner on your site.

Internet Blackout

Now the campaign has taken on a new phase calling for people to join the INTERNET BLACKOUT N.Z PROTEST from the 16th – 23rd February. They want people to BLACK OUT their Facebook, MySpace and Bebo avatars, your Twitter account and web sites.  It is proving to be a very powerful addition to the campaign as the protest has turned into a global viral, due mostly in part to celebrity actor, comedian and author Stephen Fry.

Day 1 of Campaign

  • Stephen Fry shows support for the campaign by turning his avatar black, changing his Bio to: I’m blacked out: Stand up against “Guilt Upon Accusation” for New Zealand and talks about the internet blackout campaign on Twitter. This helps push the campaign global.
  • He also tells people to Digg this

Stephen Fry on Twitter

By doing this Stephen Fry gains 15,000+ friends overnight and he comes in as No.3 on Twitterholic with just over 200,000 people following him. Twitterholic tells you who the most popular – Top 100 Twitter users are based on followers.


Day 2 of Campaign

  • #blackout becomes the #1 search trend on Twitter, beating Heroes, 24 and Dollhouse
  • The Internet Blackout campaign makes it into Wikipedia as a definition for Blackout
  • People start blogging about the Internet Blackout protest including Richard McManus at ReadWriteWeb and Cory Dotorow at Boing Boing.
  • A Guilt Upon Accusation anthem called the Copywrong Song is realeased under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License. A Copywrong Remix Challenge is issued calling for people to make the ultimate remix of the Copywrong song.

Day 3 of Campaign

  • Chelfyn Baxter at Mohawk Media releases his ‘Kangaroo Court’ animation, a protest video for the campaign against Section 92 of the New Zealand Copyright Ammendment Act.

Day 4 of Campaign

  • On Thursday 19th February, a public demonstration took place on the grounds of the New Zealand Parliament in Wellington with the ‘Not in my Name’ petition handed over. People were asked to come along in bright clothes and black placards.
  • Stuff’s Blackout news story ‘Stephen Fry rails against NZ internet law‘ hits the front page of

Day 5 of Campaign

  • More web celebrities & supporters join the Blackout campaign including author Neil Gaimen, and Xeni from Boing Boing.

Day 6 of Campaign

Day 7 of Campaign

  • Preparation and instructions go out on how to modify your web site for the final day of Internet Blackout protest.

Day 8 of Campaign

  • New Zealand Political blogs and other web sites Blackout their sites including Public Address, Scoop, Kiwiblog, The Standard, No Right Turn, Frog Blog, Whale Oil, Not PC, No Minister, Just Left, The Hand Mirror, Roar Prawn, Policy Net, Kiwi Politico.
  • Prime Minister John Key announces that Section 92A will be delayed until March 27th

Creative Freedom Foundation’s Campaign against Guilt Upon Accusation Laws.

Creative Freedom Foundation logo

Do you illegally download music, movies or software over the internet? If yes then watch out, because New Zealand government is set to bring in rediculous new legislation regarding copyright infringment on the 28th of February.

Section 92 of the Copyright Amendment Act assumes Guilt Upon Accusation. This means that ISPs will be able to cut off internet access and web sites of anyone who is repeatedly accused of copyright infringment, based purely on accusation alone, without evidence or proof of guilt. There is no penalty or punishment for false accusation either and could be wide open to abuse.

So, if you download anything that is copyrighted without paying for it (which alot of people do)  you could be affected. It will be a three strikes and you’re out system. On the third copyright infringement your ISP will automatically cut your internet connection off, without being proven guilty in a court of law.

On the 18th December 08, the Creative Freedom Foundation was launched. It was founded in response to Copyright law and it’s effect on creativity, the economy, and public rights. They advocate on behalf of artists whose creative freedom is affected by major Governmental decisions made in their name, and in the name of protecting creativity.

Even though the Creative Freedom Foundation represents the views of artists, they have launched a campaign against the Guilt Upon Accusation laws in New Zealand.

Part of the campaign has involved them setting up a petition called Not In My Name.  Artists and non artists alike can sign it. Just over 4300 people have signed the petition at the time of writing this post.

guilt upon accusation logo

They also want you to spread the word about the campaign by either:

New Zealand's new Copyright Law presumes 'Guilt Upon Accusation' and will Cut Off Internet Connections without a trial. is against this unjust law - help us

Please do take the time to have a read of the Creative Freedom Foundation site and sign the petition. It might just save your internet connection being cut off.

Greenpeace – YouTube Climate Change Message – Dear John Key

On the 12th November, I received an email newsletter update from Greenpeace. In this email they were urging people to record a message to John Key about climate change via web camera, video camera or mobile phone. Then upload the video as a response to John Keys victory speech on YouTube and add the tag ‘dearjohnkey’. The last step was to send the Greenpeace email message to friends and family.

John Key videos responses

Follow-up email
Two days later, I received a follow-up email from Greenpeace letting me know that there had been some video contributions uploaded to YouTube already. This email also said that if you can’t manage sending a video, then send an email to John Key:

YouTube video responses
Searching on YouTube for the ‘John Key victory speech’ turns up 2 listings under those keywords. The correct John Key victory speech listing to add your video response to has had 672 views. So far there have been 7 video responses uploaded and 17 text comments (at the time of writing).

So it’s been 2.5 weeks since I received that first email and only 7 videos have been uploaded. It’s not a huge response, but it’s good that they are trying to get people involved and participate through web 2.0 intiatives. A video response is getting people to commit to being responsive in real time. Plus you get to see the real people behind the messages, a private conversation being made public. And this is what social media is all about trying to engage people meaningfully through the use of social media.

John Key video responses