New Zealand’s potential new flag features ferns This combination of images made on Sept. 24, 2015, from an image released Aug. 11, 2015, by the New Zealand Flag Consideration Project shows five designs which are finalists being considered as the new flag for New Zealand in Wellington, New Zealand. (New Zealand Flag Consideration Project via AP/Nick Perry)
New Zealand’s potential new flag features ferns
Lexile

New Zealanders know what their potential new national flag may look like, except that they're not quite set on the color.
 
In a postal ballot, New Zealanders chose from among five designs, and both their favorites feature the country's iconic silver fern next to the stars that make up the Southern Cross constellation. The only difference is, one flag is black and the other is red.
 
Preliminary results showed the black option narrowly leading the red in a race that's too close to call since not all votes have been counted.
 
Whichever flag wins will then be pitted head-to-head against the current flag in a second vote to be held in March.
 
The winning design has similarities to the current flag. It retains the four red stars representing the Southern Cross, but ditches the British Union Jack in favor of the fern, which has become a national symbol and is worn by many sports teams including the beloved All Blacks rugby team.
 
New Zealanders were choosing among five options for an alternative flag. Two were designed by Kyle Lockwood with the color in the top left corner black in one design and red in the other.
 
Figures from the Electoral Commission indicated it had received 1.53 million votes by Dec. 11, representing 48 percent of eligible voters in the country of 4.6 million people.
 
Deputy Prime Minister Bill English said in a statement the results showed there was a strong public interest in the process.
 
"New Zealanders can now turn their attention to deciding whether to keep the current flag, or replace it," he said.
 
But opposition leader Andrew Little said many people had protested the referendum by casting votes that were ineligible to be counted. About 10 percent of all votes were ineligible.
 
Initially there were only four alternative flag options slated for the ballot, but a popular campaign for a geometric design called "Red Peak" prompted lawmakers to amend the rules to add it to the finalists. Red Peak ended up finishing a distant third behind the Lockwood designs.
 
Many in New Zealand consider the current flag to be outdated and too similar to Australia's flag. The Union Jack, or Union Flag, harks back to a colonial past that many New Zealanders are eager to put behind them. New Zealand sometimes comes under the shadow of Australia, its larger neighbor, and having flags that are almost identical only compounds that problem.
 
However, there are plenty of New Zealanders who want to keep their current flag. Many veterans fought under the flag and feel a special bond to it. Others simply don't see any need for a change, or view the process as an expensive stunt initiated by Prime Minister John Key to distract from more pressing issues.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why do New Zealanders want a new flag?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (27)
  • lilyr-4-bar
    12/18/2015 - 12:14 a.m.

    The New Zealanders want a new flag so they can move on with their future, and leave the memories associated with the old flag in the past. This is shown where it says, "Many in New Zealand consider the current flag to be outdated and too similar to Australia's flag. The Union Jack, or Union Flag, harks back to a colonial past that many New Zealanders are eager to put behind them." I found this article surprising because I didn't know that ferns were such a big deal in New Zealand.

  • Eric0221-YYCA
    12/18/2015 - 02:00 a.m.

    I think that it would be okay that people in New Zealand to be wanting to change their flag because I think that New Zealanders wanted to change it for more people to become interesting to their flag. I think that the New Zealanders wanted to change their flag because I think they wanted people to take time to look at the new flag that they had changed. The people in New Zealand wanted to change their flag to a new one because they wanted people to have more time to over look New Zealand's flag instead of people looking at something that people are more interested in.

  • garretta-fel
    1/29/2016 - 02:19 p.m.

    New Zealanders want a new flag because their flag resembles a lot of that to Australia's flag and they believe their flag represents that of too much to colonial times.

  • austing-fel
    1/29/2016 - 02:22 p.m.

    New Zealanders want a new flag because the old flag harks back to a colonial past that many New Zealanders want to put behind them.

  • mattv-fel
    1/29/2016 - 02:22 p.m.

    They are often confused with Australia. If you showed Australia and New Zealand's flag side by side, there are very few differences.

  • victoriae-fel
    1/29/2016 - 02:22 p.m.

    New Zealanders want a new flag because they feel like they need a change so they can move on.

  • jacih-fel
    1/29/2016 - 02:23 p.m.

    In a postal ballot, New Zealanders chose from among five designs, and both their favorites feature the country's iconic silver fern next to the stars that make up the Southern Cross constellation. The only difference is, one flag is black and the other is red.

  • coled-fel
    1/29/2016 - 02:23 p.m.

    The reason New Zealanders want a new flag is because they said it was "outdated," and "looks to similar to Australia's flag."

  • ethany-fel
    1/29/2016 - 02:24 p.m.

    New Zealanders want a new flag because they feel that their flag is to similar to Australia's

  • audreya-fel
    1/29/2016 - 02:25 p.m.

    New Zealanders want a new flag because "they consider the current flag to be outdated and too similar to Australia's flag."

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