New Zealand flag referendum begins

BY ALEX CROUCH

After celebrating their national institution’s Rugby Union World Cup triumph last month, New Zealanders are now deciding what flag their beloved All Blacks will play under when they defend their crown.

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The people of New Zealand have just begun voting in a referendum to once and for all decide whether or not to change their national flag.

This referendum’s first round will see five potential new designs whittled down to one, which will go head-to-head against the current flag in the second round next March.

The question on the ballot paper is: “If the New Zealand flag changes, which flag would you prefer?

The five candidates in the running, decided by the Flag Consideration Panel, are:

New Zealand (Kanter)Alofi Kanter’s black and white Silver Fern design. It’s modelled on the traditional Silver Fern symbol for the All Blacks, but the colours have been counterchanged. One of the main arguments against this type of design is that it leans too heavily towards New Zealand sport and doesn’t reflect the country as a whole.

 

Kyle Lockwood has two designs on the ballot paper and are somewhat similar to the current flag.

New Zealand (Lockwood - Red)New Zealand (Lockwood - Black)Both feature the Silver Fern above four red starts in the shape of the Southern Cross on a dark blue background. The only difference is one flag has red above the fern and the other has black. The red design dates back to 2004, and even beat the current flag in a 2005 poll conducted by TV3. The black design is reportedly New Zealand Prime Minister John Key’s favourite. But could two extremely similar designs take votes off each other or stack the deck in their favour?

New Zealand (Fyfe)Andrew Fyfe’s flag features a black and white Māori Koru (‘loop’) which depicts an unfolding Silver Fern. It was called the ‘Hypnoflag’ on social media after its unveiling.

These four designs made up the original shortlist. But following heavy criticism from the public, professional designers and even the International Congress of Vexillology for the designs being: unappealing, clichéd, dull, too logo-like and too similar, one more flag was added.

New Zealand (Dustin)That flag, the Red Peak, was designed by Aaron Dustin. It was added to the first referendum after a successful campaign by those who want the flag changed but dislike the silver fern design.

New Zealanders will be able to see their potential new flag in ‘real-life situations’ over the course of the next few weeks. Free sets of flags are being distributed to communities so people can see them on display.

These five designs were chosen from a list of 40 back in August. Those 40 were chosen from over 10,000 submissions to the Flag Consideration Panel.

The first round of the referendum concludes on 11th December.

Current polls indicate the current flag will remain.

New Zealand

Alex Crouch is a 2014 journalism graduate from Southampton Solent University. He has followed Formula One since before he started infant school, was a Games Maker during the London Paralympics and saw Pink Floyd reunite for one song at The O2 in London. Links: Twitter, blog, YouTube. Alex is an accredited Flag Institute journalist.

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3 Responses to New Zealand flag referendum begins

  1. John Harris 15 January 2016 at 2:38 am #

    I am a New Zealand citizen. I am very anti changing the New Zealand flag. I don’t see the Union Jack on any of the 5 choices of new flag. The Union Jack, so I thought, symbolises our links with Her Majesty The Queen and the Commonwealth, and all our forefathers fought for. And just for extra, New Zealand has recently been replacing old currency with new currency and I can’t see a watermark of Her Majesty the Queen on any new bank notes I have seen. Please fill me in if you can because no one I have spoken to seems to know or notice. Comments welcome.

    • Stephen 23 June 2016 at 10:40 am #

      It would seem rather unusual to include a flag with a Union Jack as an alternative to the exiting NZ flag which of course has a union Jack, when the main reason for those who wish to change the NZ flag, wish to do so because of the Union Jack. I can assure you our forefathers did not fight for the NZ Flag, to do so would be rather silly. And as for the new NZ currency, that’s outside of the scope of this forum.

  2. Stephen 23 June 2016 at 10:40 am #

    It would seem rather unusual to include a flag with a Union Jack as an alternative to the exiting NZ flag which of course has a union Jack, when the main reason for those who wish to change the NZ flag, wish to do so because of the Union Jack. I can assure you our forefathers did not fight for the NZ Flag, to do so would be rather silly. And as for the new NZ currency, that’s outside of the scope of this forum.

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