The age old debate on Australia and New Zealand’s flags has been sparked once again, with New Zealand’s acting prime minister this time slamming Aussies for copying their design.
Coming out firing against Australia, Labor member Winston Peters, who is currently filling the top job while Jacinda Ardern is on maternity leave, didn’t hold back when asked about the never-ending confusion surrounding the two flags, which both feature the Union Jack.
“We had a flag that we’ve had for a long time, copied by Australia, and they should actually change their flag and honour the fact that we got there first with this design,” the NZ Herald reports he told TVNZ.
While New Zealand did adopt the design 52 years prior to Australia, there has never been much talk about Australia changing the blue, red and white flag. It’s a different story in New Zealand though which held an official referendum on the matter in 2016.
Kiwis were asked to choose between the current flag and an alternate version that featured a silver fern on a black background and four red stars. A majority of 56.6 per cent of people voted to keep the flag, while 43.2 per cent preferred a change .
The then prime minister John Key urged residents to be proud of their country and wave their flag with pride – despite its close associations with Australia.
“My only request to New Zealanders now would be to rally behind the flag that’s been chosen,” he said after the 2016 vote.
At the time, the New Zealand Labor Party, which was in the Opposition, was fiercely against a change with Peters’ opinion not swaying in the two years following.
However, others including Aussie actor Hugh Jackman claimed it would be best if both countries moved away from the Union Jack – the national flag of the United Kingdom that combines the crossing of three countries under the Sovereign, England (and Wales), Scotland and Ireland – that was included in both Australia and New Zealand’s flags to acknowledge British settlement.
“I think the days of having the Union Jack on our flag, we’ve moved on from that point. No offence, it’s all great, thank you very much, time to move on,” Jackman told New Zealand radio station NM.