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New Zealand will vote on getting rid of the Union flag

The vote will take place in 2016.

1200px-Flag_of_New_Zealand.svg Source: Wikimedia

NEW ZEALAND WILL hold a referendum in 2016 to decide whether or not to retain the Union Jack-style flag.

Prime Minister John Key announced yesterday that the country will vote on the divisive issue, saying that it was time for a flag that was more Kiwi than British.

The existing flag has four stars representing the Southern Cross constellation on a dark blue background and the Union Jack in the top left quarter.

The proposal would likely see the flag changed to one similar to that used by the country’s rugby teams.

324px-Silver_fern_flag.svg Source: Wikimedia

“Our flag is the most important symbol of our national identity and I believe that this is the right time for New Zealanders to consider changing the design to one that better reflects our status as a modern, independent nation,” Key said.

A recent poll suggested that 52.6% of people were against the move.

The flag

The current flag has been in use since 1902, with supporters claiming that New Zealanders have fought and died for it.

Key has rejected the assertion, pointing out that the headstones on many war graves bear the image of a fern, a symbol he says embodies New Zealand as strongly as the maple leaf represents Canada.

He defended the $26 million spend on the referendum, saying “you have to say, what price do you put on democracy?”.

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