You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
Readers have weighed in to support claims by Trevor Mallard the flag referendum process is "total spin," following analysis showing feedback from thousands of people critical of the process had been ignored by the flag consideration panel.
Analysis published today on new data platform 'Herald Insights' shows official reports published by the flag panel had ignored thousands of public submissions - nearly a third of total feedback - that were critical of the process or supportive of retaining the current flag.
A spokeswoman for the flag consideration panel said wordclouds published outlining public feedback were "not mean to be statistically scientific" and it was outside the panel's remit to consider criticism of the process or support for the current flag.
More than a dozen readers contacted the New Zealand Herald this morning to echo claims from Mallard that the revelations showed the process wasn't neutral and was intended to result in changing the flag.
Lianne Meyer said the process treated voters and citizens like toddlers.
"This tactic reminds me of one I would use with a three-year-old who doesn't want to change their socks: 'Would you like to wear red ones or the blue ones?' Why are we all being treated like children?" she said.
Schoolteacher Bruce Tomson said he was moved to write "probably the first letter I have ever written" to express his dissatisfaction with the process.
"When the process started I was positive. Now for the first time I want to spoil my vote. I want change but don't like any of the options ... I am normally quite a compliant citizen, but on this issue I am just rebellious," he said.
Barbara McConnell shared concerns over the $26 million cost of the referendum process, criticism made by thousands of people in the "stand for" public feedback campaign that was subsequently ignored.
"I feel like we're being manipulated," she said.
A small minority of readers expressed confidence in the process and support for changing the flag.
Trish Soto said ties with the United Kingdom had faded.
"There are no ties that count. We are a nation in the Pacific under the southern cross and the fern from signals new beginnings in Maori origins. Let's move on it and get it done," she said.