Post election win, New Zealand PM John Key called for referendum on national flag

Sep 22, 2014 16:16 IST

John Key, the Prime Minister of New Zealand on 21 September 2014 announced that his government would go ahead with plans to hold a referendum to change the national flag. He announced the referendum after his election triumph.

Key a centre right leader wants a referendum on the national flag, as he in March 2014 pledged to hold a referendum on changing the national flag if he won a third term in office in September 2014.

Key wants to change the national flag because the flag features the Union Jack of former colonial power Britain in one corner. The Union Jack is the UK’s national flag. The existing flag was first used in 1869 and formally adopted in 1902.

Key in his announcement said that for the new flag, he would prefer the silver fern of the national plant on a black background. Apart from this, the Silver fern has been popularized by the national teams that carry the fern on the black background making it a distinctive and uniquely New Zealand identity.

He also said that the other ideas are also welcome for the national flag, which will be decided by a group of cross-party lawmakers. These lawmakers would oversee the vote process. Apart from this, a steering group would seek public submissions for new flag designs.

The process of changing the national flag was supported by the opposition Labour Party but the idea was opposed by the Representatives of service personnel. The Representatives of service personnel argued that the New Zealanders have fought and died under the flag for its generations, thus, changing the flag would dishonour their memories.

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