New Zealanders decide to keep their old flag, after all
New Zealanders decide to keep their old flag, after all In this Oct. 24, 2015 file photo, a rugby fan wears a New Zealand flag in her hair ahead of the Rugby World Cup semifinal match between South Africa and New Zealand at Twickenham Stadium in London. New Zealand has voted to keep its current flag by a margin of 57 percent to 43 percent in a nationwide poll that ended Thursday. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)
New Zealanders decide to keep their old flag, after all
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New Zealand has voted to keep its current flag by a margin of 57 percent to 43 percent in a nationwide poll that ended last Thursday.

More than 2 million people voted in the ballot to decide whether to keep the British Union Jack on their flag or replace it with a silver fern.

The current flag has been the national symbol since 1902. It was up against a new design that was winnowed from more than 10,000 entries submitted by the public.

Those advocating change argued the flag was a relic of the nation's colonial past and too similar to Australia's flag.

But the alternative design failed to gain the momentum it needed to win. While many liked it and people across the country began flying it from their homes and businesses, some considered it garish, a design better suited to a beach towel.

The vote had been orchestrated by Prime Minister John Key who was an eager proponent of change. But some saw the endeavor as an effort by him to create a legacy. Others were put off by the cost: 26 million New Zealand dollars ($17 million U.S.).

In the end, the vote represented a rare political defeat for Key, who has won three straight elections and led the country for eight years.

"Naturally I'm a little bit disappointed the flag didn't change tonight," Key told reporters.

He said, however, that every schoolchild had become involved in the debate, which had been good for the nation. He said he was proud to see so many flags flying over recent weeks and would now support the current flag even though it wasn't his first choice.

Organizers said deciding the issue by popular vote represented a world first, with other countries changing flags by revolution, decree or legislation.

John Burrows, a law professor who led a panel who chose a shortlist of alternative flag designs, said the process had been challenging from the start and the panel was breaking new ground. He said one thing they learned was that everyone has different tastes and there's no such thing as a perfect flag.

Opposition leader Andrew Little said the next time the flag issue will be discussed will likely be after Queen Elizabeth II dies, as part of broader debate about the nation's constitution, including whether it should become a republic.

Voter turnout in the mail ballot was 67 percent, with 2.1 million votes cast from the country's 3.2 million registered voters. The official result will be announced this week.

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/teen/new-zealanders-decide-keep-their-old-flag-after-all/

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
If new flag designs were chosen in a contest open to the public, why did New Zealanders decide to keep their old flag?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (47)
  • katier1-bur
    4/05/2016 - 08:55 a.m.

    New Zealand didn't change the fag because some people thought it looked flags of other places and like objects they didn't want representing the country with another countries flag.

  • emmam-bur
    4/05/2016 - 09:14 a.m.

    Because they wanted to keep the history it had in so that the generations could go by lots of all the elders probably wanted to keep it the same but younge didn't. The older people over one the young.

  • cadenh-bur
    4/06/2016 - 07:56 a.m.

    Because it looked to much like the Australian flag.and it would cause to many problems.

  • zacheryd-bur
    4/07/2016 - 08:04 a.m.

    Because they had their flag for over 100 years and the flag makes the country special to them and they like the flag the way it is.

  • nicor-bag
    4/13/2016 - 10:43 p.m.

    Maybe the people of New Zealand were more familiar with the old flag, so they picked the old one instead of the new one.

  • julianc-bag
    4/14/2016 - 09:21 p.m.

    They said that it would look better on a beach towel than their nations flag. I'd say that they thought that it was an insult to their country.

  • trinitym-bur
    4/18/2016 - 02:26 p.m.

    it's good that they kept the flag because it is part of their history

  • trinitym-bur
    4/18/2016 - 02:27 p.m.

    it's good that they kept the flag because it is part of their history

  • maxwellc-3-bar
    4/18/2016 - 10:43 p.m.

    Now Zealandsrs decided to keep their current flag for a multitude of reasons. Some, as stated in the text, thought that the design was "...better suited to a beach towel," some thought the project was an "...endeavor as an effort by [the Prime Minister] to create a legacy," and still "Others were put off by the cost: 26 million New Zealand dollars ($17 million U.S.)." These reasons severely lowered the option for this new flag to be chosen. I think this is an important step for settling interests in national issues.

  • lillianp-lam
    4/19/2016 - 10:48 a.m.

    I think that if they wanted to change their flag, they would be justified to do so even though there hasn't been a revolution or anything like that, because their flag has the flag of a different country on it. The flag looks cool.

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