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. The margin was 57 percent to 43 percent. The vote came in a nationwide poll that ended last Thursday.

More than 2 million people voted. They decided 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. The new design was winnowed from more than 10,000 entries. The entries were submitted by the public.

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

But the alternative design failed to gain the momentum it needed to win. Many people liked the new flag. Some began flying it from their homes and businesses. Others considered it garish. They thought the design was 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.

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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 (5)
  • haithema-har
    3/29/2016 - 07:38 a.m.

    The people in New Zealand want to keep their old flag because they say it shows their colonial past.

  • karliw-1-bar
    3/30/2016 - 07:27 p.m.

    New Zealanders decided to keep their old flag with the Union Jack because of natural favoritism, historical and economical reasons. Althought the silver fern flag was favored by many, some "considered it garish.". They thought the design was better suited to a beach towel rather than a well know nation's flag. Ouch. Yet, those advocating change argued the flag was a symbol of the nation's colonial and shameful past. They also thought it was too similar to Australia's flag. So, although those living in New Zealand who were against the old flag had strong feeling about the nation's past, the majority rose up to take ownership and responsibility for it instead of trying to forget about it. And the last reason that the original flag of New Zealand was re-elected was because of economical reasons. Others were put off by Prime Minister John Key's raging 26 million New Zealand dollars ($17 million U.S.) price.

  • Steve0620-yyca
    3/30/2016 - 10:54 p.m.

    The old New Zealand flag was voted to stay. The percents were fifty seven and forty three. Some people were disappointed that the flag didn't change and others were happy about the decision. Many people have different opinions so the flag so it is fine. People were deciding on whether to keep the old flag or to change it so they voted.
    I think that the New Zealanders decided to keep the old flag because they might have had a lot of good times during the time of the flag so they want to keep it to remember. They also might like the flag design better than the other ones.

  • setha-lew
    4/20/2016 - 01:01 p.m.

    They want to keep there old flag because it is apart of there history.

  • fpresley-dav
    8/25/2016 - 04:57 p.m.


    In response to "New Zealanders decide to keep their old flag, after all," I agree that they should of kept their old flag. One reason I agree that they kept their old flag is because is represents them as a country. Another reason I agree that they should of kept their old flag is because they have had that flag since 1902. I would hate to loose our American flag logo. It says in the article that "The margin was 57 percent to 43 percent." A third reason I believe they should of kept their old flag was because it says "More than 2 million people voted," which means a lot of people wanted to keep the flag the same. "Naturally I'm a little bit disappointed the flag didn't change tonight," Is what Prime Minster John Key said. I disagree with John Key because,even though he has been Prime Minister for three years, it doesn't mean the country wants to change the flag like he does. Those are my reasons why I agree that New Zealand made the right choose on keeping their old flag.

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