Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Key on 10 March 2014 announced the plan to hold a referendum on changing the National Flag by 2017. The decision to hold referendum on changing National Flag was taken in lieu of many citizens feeling that it is a relic from the colonial past.
The current flag depict the Southern Cross star constellation and includes Britain's Union Jack in the top left corner.
Many opined that the current flag is too similar to Australia's flag and doesn't reflect New Zealand's independence from former colonizer Britain. But many who have served in the military oppose a change.
The change in the design of flag it would not signify an end to the South Pacific nation's Constitutional ties to the British monarchy or participation in the Commonwealth group of countries. For instance, Canada's 1965 decision to embrace a distinctive maple leaf design did not led to its severance of ties with British monarchy or its participation in Commonwealth group of countries
Yet for many, a new flag would represent another small step by New Zealand toward disentangling itself from its British past. In 2004, for instance, the country established a Supreme Court to replace Britain's Privy Council as the final court of appeal.
A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. This may result in the adoption of a new Constitution, a constitutional amendment, or a law. Besides initiative and recall election, the referendum is one of the three pillars of direct democracy.
The referendum involves an issue that is provisionally determined in advance and is then referred for a final decision by the whole electorate.
On the other hand, the plebiscites are staged for the purpose of obtaining a preconceived result.
When: 10 March 2014