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. But they're not quite set on the color.
 
In a postal ballot, New Zealanders chose from among five designs. Both of 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. Not all votes have been counted.
 
Whichever flag wins will be pitted head-to-head against the current flag. That second vote will be held in March.
 
The winning design has similarities to the current flag. It retains the four red stars representing the Southern Cross. But it ditches the British Union Jack in favor of the fern. The fern has become a national symbol and is worn by many sports teams.  That includes 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. It is red in the other.
 
Figures from the Electoral Commission indicated it had received 1.53 million votes by Dec. 11.  That represented 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.  They cast 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Many in New Zealand consider the current flag to be outdated. Other critics believe it is 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.  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.  They feel a special bond to it. Others simply don't see any need for a change.  Or they 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 (34)
  • karliw-1-bar
    12/17/2015 - 06:30 p.m.

    If you could change your country's flag, would you? That's what the people of New Zealnad are trying to decide. Since early August, the competition for New Zealnd's flag has been raging with red peaks, ferns and the colors red and black. This may not sound like your typical governmental election, but for New Zealanders, it's all part of the voting process. Some natives of the Southwestern Pacific island country want a new flag for several reasons. Some think that their current Union Jack flag is too similar to Australia's. Others are tired of living in Australia's shadow and want to prove that they're not just Australia's wild sidekick. The remaining citizens either think the falg is outdated or are eager to leave a not-so-amazing past and start anew. Whatever the reason, the New Zealanders seem to have their heads in the right place, wether they want a new falg or not.




  • johnd-3-bar
    12/17/2015 - 08:39 p.m.

    New Zealanders want a new flag because they feel it them in the shadow of Australia. "critics believe it is too similar to Australia's flag.(...) New Zealand sometimes comes under the shadow of Australia,". The quote says that it is similar to Australia and that they feel in the shadow of Australia. So by having a similar quote as Australia it furthers there feeling of being shadowed by Australia. I liked this article.

  • raymunda-4-bar
    12/17/2015 - 11:47 p.m.

    New Zealanders want a new flag because they feel that the current flag is outdated and it is similar to Australia's flag. On paragraph 12, Nick Perry stated that, "Many in New Zealand consider the current flag to be outdated. Other critics believe it is 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." This means that people would look in a flag that looks like Australia's, but that is actually New Zealand's flag. Plus, they think that the flag is too old and they want to replace it.
    This article is interesting because this is a big deal for the country to change their flag. This might change their future and how other countries would judge it wrongly or not. What surprised me the most is that they might remove the Union Jack! That is a big deal because New Zealand was part of the British Empire and they want to remove it? They should at least keep the symbol and add the fern.

  • olgan-4-bar
    12/18/2015 - 01:56 a.m.

    New Zealandars because they think their current one is old and looks too much alike with Australia's flag, causing confusion. " Many New Zelanders consider the current flag to be outdated. Other critics think it is too similar to Australia's flag ". I personally think the " red peak " flag is the best option. I agree that Mew Zealand should change their flag since I am one of those who think it looks too much like Australia's and also looks too similar to England's.

  • adamp-3-bar
    12/18/2015 - 03:44 p.m.

    New Zealand is currently in the process of designing a new flag. The citizens believe the current flag is too old and similar to Australia's flag. In the middle of the article it says, "Many in New Zealand consider the current flag to be outdated. Other critics believe it is too similar to Australia's flag." This quote says why people want a new flag. I like this article because I think that America needs a new flag too. I also have a friend a in New Zealand.

  • jaxsonbe-Sch
    12/21/2015 - 10:07 a.m.

    I think New Zealand should not change their flag, because their flag is good as it is and if you change it not every one might not agree. You should keep your original flag.

  • michaelhi-Sch
    12/21/2015 - 10:09 a.m.

    I think New Zealand should not get a new flag because it is a waist of money and everybody would need to get a new flag

  • dietrichh-1-sch
    12/21/2015 - 11:26 a.m.

    Why would they want to get a new flag just because it is similar to somebody else?

  • samanthas-1-ste
    12/21/2015 - 02:37 p.m.

    New Zealanders want a new flag because it is outdated and resembles Australia's flag. I think the should keep it because it had been around for years and is a part of their culture.

  • mckenkor000-hay
    12/21/2015 - 02:55 p.m.

    I dot know why they would it doest make ay sese i love ther flag i dont know why in the world they would change it i like sticking to turdishe if i wher them id never chage the falg its like celibratig crhistmes in summer or easter in witer it doest make any sense i have no clue

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