New Zealand decides! This flag could soon replace the Union Jack… will Australia be next? 265



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The people of New Zealand have chosen their preferred flag from the five alternatives to the current flag (pictured above).

The winner, as chosen in a nation-wide referendum, is a silver fern on a black-and-blue background:

I’t snow up to New Zealand to decide whether it will dump the current flag, which includes Britain’s Union Jack, as its national banner.

The new flag, which is simply titled Silver Fern (Black, White and Blue), will go head-to-head with the current flag in a second referendum to be held in March next year.

New Zealand’s Prime minister John Key will be happy, having nominated the winning design as his favourite from the five options. He has pushed hard for reform, saying the existing Union Jack is a colonial relic, and the flag too easily confused with Australia’s, reports the ABC.

Although New Zealand still has the Queen as its Head of State, New Zealand is independent and there have been calls to move away from colonial ties, just as we have seen here in Australia.

Changing a flag is no small matter, however. Critics are quick to recall the thousands of New Zealanders who fought and died under the current flag. And then there is the cost – the referendum alone cost NZ$26 million ($24.25 million), according to the ABC.

The closest we came to changing Australia’s flag was under Paul Keating. A 2010 Morgan Poll that asked: “Do you think Australia should have a new design for our National Flag?” was supported by 29 per cent of respondents and opposed by 66 per cent, with 5 per cent uncommitted.

However, with a known republican as our prime minster, Australia could soon see the debate reopened.

Would you like the opportunity to choose a new flag? What do you think of the potential New Zealand flag?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. It must be wonderful to live in a country that has millions and millions of dollars to spend on changing their flag.

    5 REPLY
    • You could say that…but it’s produced
      howls of protest from those who say it would have been better spent on health and the poor. At the end of the day a good half of the people here don’t want a bar of it and want to keep the old flag, it’s quite likely they will get their wish.

    • Bob Taylor I fully agree with you Bob, that’s the whole point of my tongue in cheek comment.

    • Yes. Whether to cast an informal vote, or vote on the “best of the rest”, or bin it, as many people did. So, the second choice was voted in!

    • Yes Jim ,and John key says we haven’t got the money for bowel cancer screening etc. He puts the flag before people.

  2. I like the Silver Fern much better than the old flag, but I’m not a New Zealander so what I think is irrelevant. I do wish though people would put aside the argument that we can’t change NZ or Australia’s flags because people fought and died under them. No actual defence of our country has be carried out while these flags were used by our troops. The flags were in use when we engaged in wars in Vietnam and areas of the Middle East but to say these troops were defending Australia is a bit of a stretch although those involved may have carried out a valuable task and served bravely often at huge cost.Other tasks were undertaken under the UN flag.

    22 REPLY
    • I am a New Zealander and I agree you Barbara Easthope. My real objection though is that we have 200.000 children living in hardship (our official department of social welfare have reported) and we have had health costs cut by 1.7 billion dollars by the Key Government. I would prefer the money be spent on our social issues and not a change of flag.

    • My dad was a WW2 vet and hated the union jack on our flag as did his mates, also returned vets. They were adamant they didn’t fight for a piece of cloth!

    • Pickety Wiych the trouble is governments never do. If they don’t use the money for your flag it would go on something else non essential. I live in financially struggling South Australia and our state government spent a fortune on upgrading our main sports ground and building a foot bridge to get over to it. A nice to have rather than a need to have.

    • Barbara Easthope Barbara. If you visit the Aust, War memorial, you can see the Australian flag, yes, the current one, which was flying in Darwin, when Darwin was bombed. It still bears the scars. Also, family members in Changi were there when the P.O.W.s home made a flag , and raised it when it was liberated. It also flew over Kokoda in 1942 after the Japs were pushed back.

    • I don’t really care whether or not our military caught under the current Australian flag. My father fought in WW2 and didn’t like the Union Jack in the corner. He wanted it gone. He fought for Australia, not for a piece of cloth.

    • Rob Mcgrath Everyone is different, Rob, perhaps my uncles were a bit homesick in Changi, and it reminded them of home? Union Jack and all!

    • Yvonne Jackson yes the Australian flag may have been in use in all sorts of spots during the war years. I am sure a few even floated about in combat zones. The argument that so many put is that our servicemen died defending the flag, under the flag or whatever. That is simply not true. They fought for the motherland in the world wars. Many servicemen from that era do not like the old flag because it was a reminder of our servitude to Great Britain and a reminder of some of the costly ill thought out battles they threw ANZAC troops into. My Dad served in WW2, my grandfathers in WW1.

    • Barbara Easthope All part of history Barbara. You cannot change history. It has made Australia what it is today, whether some consider it good, or some bad. You can postulate about our servitude to Gt. Britain etc etc ad nauseum. The fact is that is our Australian flag – it tells a story. It is worth hanging on to in the opinion of many. I respect your opinion. Everyone thinks differently, different memories, emotions.

    • Barbara Easthope And Barbara — those “all sorts of spots” and “combat zones” were pretty important at the time. Especially to those families at home. I remember it well.

    • Yes Yvonne it does, I served in the army briefly and I was already of the opinion way back then that Australia should be a republic and have its own flag. That was more years ago than I like to remember. I suspect too it depends on your own heritage, most of my ancestors were from English stock with a touch of Tasmanian Aboriginal but one of the more influential people in my youth was my Scottish Grandfather who was opposed to the Union Jack on Australia’s flag probably because of that Scottish outlook.

    • As you said Yvonne Jackson, it’s history and cannot be changed but Australia has changed considerably since the war and now reflects different cultures who need to be involved in what Australia is now and into the future. We can and will honour our forebears and be proud of what they did for Australia, but we should be sensitive to the community of today.

    • Yes Barbara Easthope the Red Ensign was used during ww2…. but it STILL had the Union Jack in the corner… same flag different colour…

    • Fred Davies Australia has changed, and does reflect different cultures. But notice when you go overseas, countries have also changed, but they retain their ancient buildings, artifacts etc, in other words, their history. The flag is all part of that. It is only in recent history, we have come to realise the value of our heritage buildings, and I think the Rocks in Sydney is a good example, and that was a bitter fight. Our country is young, let’s wait awhile .

    • Yvonne many countries flags have changed or evolved over time, the US, UK, South Africa, Canada to name but a few. Changing the flag doesn’t put aside history it just becomes part of that history.

    • Barbara Easthope Barbara, our flag “evolved” as well. How many times must we change it? Hopefully, if it does change, we will be spared one like Canada. Worst one in my opinion [just my opinion]

  3. Wish we Aussies had the intestinal fortitude to do the same.

    5 REPLY

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