New Zealand Considers Replacing Its Flag

New Zealand's prime minister says his nation's flag reflects a colonial time, before New Zealand became independent from Britain in 1947.
Posted at 1:39 PM, Mar 16, 2014

New Zealand's prime minister has announced voters could have the chance to get rid of their country's current flag and get a new design. But what's so wrong with the original? 

The BBC reports Prime Minister John Key says the flag, which has Britain's flag in the corner, shows a time in the country's history that has come and gone, since New Zealand became fully independent from Britain back in 1947.

The flag also has four stars on it, which represent the Southern Cross constellation seen in the Southern Hemisphere. (Via Flickr / Ronnie Macdonald)

Key told The New Zealand Herald why he thinks it's important for residents to have a say in the matter.

"What has been quite clear, I think, is that New Zealanders are interested in the topic. They can see the merits of having the debate, but they also want to be fully engaged."

Al Jazeera points out some think New Zealand's flag is too similar to Australia's and doesn't set it apart from other countries. One proposal Key says he's in favor of is a black flag with a silver fern on it — modeled after a logo many athletes have on their uniforms.

But some aren't for that idea — mainly because of the color. 

One former New Zealander, who's now a professor at Cambridge, told NBC: "Black flags have been either associated with pirates or anarchists — and we aren't a nation of pirates. ... A lot of New Zealanders are sensible and realize this."

And if it were to be put on the ballot as a referendum, there's not much support behind it so far. In a ONE News poll, only 28 percent of New Zealanders say they're in support of scrapping the current flag and getting a new one — down from 42 percent in 2004.

The prime minister says he would hold the vote sometime within the next three years if he's reelected in September. Key's opponents say they would follow through with holding a referendum even if Key is voted out of office.