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, 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. 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. It ditches the British Union Jack in favor of the fern, which 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 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Many in New Zealand consider the current flag to be outdated and too similar to Australia's flag.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. 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 (8)
  • jilliand-3-bar
    12/17/2015 - 11:14 p.m.

    The New Zealanders want a new flag because they think the current flag is outdated and too similar to Australia's flag. In the text it says, "New Zealand sometimes comes under the shadow of Australia, its larger neighborhood. Having flags that are almost identical only compounds that problem." For these reasons, New Zealand wants a new flag. I thought this article was interesting because I would think that countries would want to stay loyal to their original flags and not make big changes.

  • matthewp-6-bar
    12/17/2015 - 11:41 p.m.

    New Zealanders want a new flag because they think it is outdated and too similar to Australia's flag. They do not want it to be similar to Australia's flag because they are already under the shadow of Australia and having the same flag does not help. This is shown in the article by,"Consider the current flag to be outdated and too similar to Australia's flag...New Zealand sometimes comes under the shadow of Australia, its larger neighbor. Having flags that are almost identical only compounds that problem." My opinion about this article is that New Zealand should change their flag because it is too similar to Australia.

  • luket-4-bar
    12/18/2015 - 10:53 a.m.

    The New Zealanders want a new flag because the current flag is so similar to Australia's and they want to get the colonial past behind them. New Zealand lives in the shadow of Australia, and in order to change that they need to change the flag.

  • carsonk-2-bar
    12/19/2015 - 09:43 a.m.

    New Zealanders want a new falg because they believe it is out of date. "Many in New Zealand consider the current flag to be outdated." This article surprised me because I thought that cahnging the flag would be a real longshot in doing. This article interested me because its cool to see how many people think of their country and want to make it better in a way.

  • oliviaw-4-bar
    1/05/2016 - 09:04 p.m.

    This article encompasses New Zealand's recent decision to choose a new flag to represent their nation. According to the article, "Many in New Zealand consider the current flag to be outdated and too similar to Australia's flag." This being said, it is obvious to the reader that many in New Zealand feel overshadowed by Australia. Being from America (and honestly not have much knowledge regarding Australia and New Zealand) I happen to agree with these New Zealanders in their argument that most of the world overlooks them. I found the fact that so many citizens are actively interested in national events and decisions extremely interesting.

  • sheilah-6-bar
    1/07/2016 - 07:36 p.m.

    New Zealanders want a new flag because the flag 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." While some people want to keep the current flag, many people want to change it. It has a bad history. I find this article interesting because it tells the audience that New Zealand wants to change their life with their flag.

  • TaylorSeifert-Ste
    1/16/2016 - 04:19 p.m.

    New Zealanders want a new flag because they feel the current flag is too similar to Australia's flag. Some feel that the current flag represents New Zealand's colonial past, something they would like to move on from.

  • taylorl-3-bar
    1/17/2016 - 12:21 p.m.

    The New Zealanders want a new flag because they think the current flag is outdated and too similar to Australia's flag. In the text it says, "New Zealand sometimes comes under the shadow of Australia, its larger neighborhood. Having flags that are almost identical compounds that problem. "For those reasons, New Zealand wants a new flag. I thought this article was interesting because I would think that countries would want to stay loyal to their original and not make big changes.

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