Is a new flag on the horizon for New Zealand? Prime Minister John Key has announced that citizens will soon vote to change or maintain the country's existing flag.
Key is planning to hold the referendum in the next three years, and says it will give New Zealanders an outlet to submit their opinion on the current flag's ties to colonial Britain.
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"When you think about it, those who had a hand in the flag’s design did well to include symbols that have endured for more than a century," he said in a speech at Victoria University
. "But it’s my belief, and I think one increasingly shared by many New Zealanders, that the design of the New Zealand flag symbolizes a colonial and post-colonial era whose time has passed."
He added that the current flag is "dominated" by the Union Jack, the UK's red, white, and blue striped flag, and that "we ourselves are no longer dominated by the United Kingdom."
A coalition of political parties would oversee the entire process from new flag designs to the actual vote, and the Washington Post reports
that Key's political opponents will undertake the project whether or not they unseat Key in the upcoming national elections. Polls show he currently holds a lead over his Labour opposition.
Key himself likes the silver fern that emblazons the All Blacks rugby team, but also expressed interest in new ideas, and also acknowledged the possible outcome of retaining the current flag.
A poll cited by BBC points out that only 28 percent want a new flag,
while 72 percent expressed that they were content with the current one.
Among those who are happy with the current flag is the president of the Returned and Services Association (RSA), Don McIver, who doesn't see a need for change, especially after "thirty-two thousand New Zealanders have given their lives under the flag and many more thousands have served under it in a combat environment," the Post reported.
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