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New Zealanders have voted in a referendum to keep their existing flag

Friday, March 25th 2016 - 05:57 UTC
Full article 20 comments
The existing design features the British Union Jack, a legacy of New Zealand's days as a British colony and the reason many wanted to change it. The existing design features the British Union Jack, a legacy of New Zealand's days as a British colony and the reason many wanted to change it.
The proposed new design combines four red stars representing (Southern Cross)  - with a silver fern on a blue background with black infill in the corner The proposed new design combines four red stars representing (Southern Cross) - with a silver fern on a blue background with black infill in the corner
PM John Key had advocated the new flag but called on New Zealanders to “embrace” the people's decision. PM John Key had advocated the new flag but called on New Zealanders to “embrace” the people's decision.

New Zealanders have voted to keep their existing flag after a national referendum, preliminary results show. The referendum asked whether the flag which includes the Union Jack should be replaced by a design called Silver Fern, which won an earlier ballot. The results show 56.6% voted for no change, while 43.1% opted for the new design. Just over 2.1m votes were cast.

 PM John Key had advocated the new flag but called on New Zealanders to “embrace” the people's decision. He was speaking after the preliminary result was announced following the close of the postal vote.

A final result taking into account late ballots will be announced next Wednesday. PM Key said he was disappointed but would support the current flag.

Asked whether the referendum process had been worth NZ$ 26 million given it led to no change, he said it had sparked an “enormous”, healthy debate across the country. “You can't shy away from a debate or a discussion about nationhood,” he said.

Just because the referendum did not produce the outcome he wanted “doesn't mean it wasn't a worthwhile process”, he said.

The existing design features the British Union Jack, a legacy of New Zealand's days as a British colony and the reason many wanted to change it.

The proposed new design combines four red stars representing the Southern Cross constellation - also seen in the current flag - with a silver fern on a blue background with black infill in the corner - both motifs associated with New Zealand and its famous rugby team.

The Silver Fern was chosen in the first referendum last December from a shortlist of five candidates.

Categories: Politics, International.

Top Comments

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  • Heisenbergcontext

    Great idea, lousy execution. Those flag designs...so uninspired. And then there is John Key's ego to consider...

    Mar 25th, 2016 - 07:16 am 0
  • Lord Lucan

    The Union Jack on your flag represents an affinity with British values of fair play and decency. Hawaii has it voluntarily and it was even changed as the Union Jack changed. Says itvall.

    Mar 25th, 2016 - 09:16 am 0
  • DennisA

    Lord Lucan: I never knew that about Hawaii, had to go and have a look!

    Not sure about our values of fair play and decency though.

    The new alternative flag was rubbish, if that was the best they could come up with, no wonder it got voted down.

    Mar 25th, 2016 - 09:57 am 0
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