New Zealand will vote on a potential new flag in a country-wide referendum in November. On Tuesday, the Flag Consideration panel revealed the four designs that will appear on the ballot, to decidedly mixed reviews.
Here’s the current flag:
Since New Zealand’s flag looks so similar to Australia’s, there has been a movement to adopt a new one:
The four finalists were whittled down from 10,000 submissions. Three of the designs feature the silver fern — New Zealand’s national symbol — while the fourth depicts a black and white Koru, a Maori symbol that represents an unfurling fern.
The four finalists:
2. Silver Fern (black, white, and blue)
3. Silver Fern (red, white, and blue)
4. Silver Fern (black and white)
Some New Zealanders are upset with the four finalists, which they say are boring and lack variety.
“It’s nothing short of a national disgrace that the same flag clipart eats up half of the available final slots,” wrote Karl Puschmann of the NZ Herald.
“If you’re going to give a nation of four million people a choice you’ve got to give variety,” designer Thomas Le Bas said on Radio New Zealand.
Voters will pick one of the four flag designs in a referendum in November. Whichever flag wins will go up against the current flag in a second vote in March to decide if New Zealand gets a new flag.
The NZ Herald reports that 53% of voters are against changing the flag. According to iPredict NZ, a market-based prediction model, the likelihood of the flag changing “plummeted” to 30% after the four finalists were announced. There’s now a 67% chance the country keeps the old one, according to the model.
With the country spending a reported $US26 million on the votes, people are in a tizzy over what they say is an uninspiring set of options.
Wow. What a sad and disappointing outcome. The best result I can see now is keeping the status quo. Such a lost opportunity.