Silver Fern (Black, White and Blue) - by Kyle Lockwood
Silver Fern (Black, White and Blue) - by Kyle Lockwood

Finally, the Kiwis might have their own flag

NEW Zealand looks set to beat Australia to the punch in getting a new flag.

The final four designs for a proposed new national flag have been revealed.

The alternative designs were revealed by the Flag Consideration Panel in Wellington this morning as a new poll shows nearly half of voters are open to a change.

A mammoth 10,000 submissions poured in earlier this year, which were later narrowed down to a long-list of 40 flag designs. The final four designs were:

• Silver Fern (Black & White) - by Alofi Kanter, from Auckland.
• Silver Fern (Red, White and Blue) - by Kyle Lockwood, originally from
Wellington
• Silver Fern (Black, White and Blue) - also by Lockwood
• Koru - by Andrew Fyfe from Wellington

Should Australia change its flag?

This poll ended on 08 September 2015.

Current Results

Yes. We should get rid of the Union Jack

25%

No. It has served us well

55%

Depends on what design they come up with

12%

No. Let NZ go alone on this one

6%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Three of the four designs feature the silver fern, including two by Lockwood.

The silver fern is Prime Minister John Key's favourite symbol and All Blacks captain Richie McCaw has also spoken out in favour of the silver fern.

The panel released a long list of 40 flags in August for public feedback. The public will rank the four designs in order of preference in the first referendum in November. A second referendum next March will pit the preferred alternative against the current flag.

Koru - by Andrew Fyfe
Koru - by Andrew Fyfe

The shortlist comes as a Herald Digipoll survey shows almost half of voters were open to a change of flag, although 24 per cent said it would depend on the alternative.

A small majority - 53 per cent - said they did not support a change and 23 per cent said they did support change in principle.

Flag Minister Bill English said there had been much debate about the level of engagement in the flag after low turnout to public meetings but he believed most of it was driven by social media.

He said the panel had been independent and the flag designs shortlisted were confirmed by Cabinet on Monday. He said it was now up to voters to make the final decision on the future flag.

The most popular flag will be pitted against the current flag, which was introduced to New Zealand in 1902, in a 2016 referendum.

Silver Fern (Black & White) - by Alofi Kanter
Silver Fern (Black & White) - by Alofi Kanter

All Black captain Richie McCaw has also revealed he wants a change to a design with the silver fern.

"I think it's great that there is a debate about it. The silver fern is what it means to be a Kiwi and wearing the black jersey, so I am obviously biased in that regard," McCaw told 3News.

Flag Consideration Project head Professor John Burrows said the new flag had to be unmistakably from New Zealand.

"It is important that those designs are timeless, can work in a variety of contexts, are simple, uncluttered, balanced and have good contrast," he said.

He defended the inclusion of three silver fern designs in the shortlisted final four saying the panel could have taken the easy approach of having four different symbols, such as a silver fern, a Southern Cross a, a koru and an abstract design but opted to chose based on the strongest design.

The two referendum votes and consultation are budgeted to cost $26 million - with Labour objecting to the cost, saying it is a "vanity project".

Silver Fern (Red, White and Blue) - by Kyle Lockwood
Silver Fern (Red, White and Blue) - by Kyle Lockwood

Once an alternative flag is chosen, it will then go up against the current flag in a second referendum in March.

Meanwhile, it has been revealed that one of the flags on the long-list was removed for consideration after a copyright claim.

The Hundertwasser Non-Profit Foundation objected to the "Modern Hundertwasser" design, named after artist and architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser.

The Herald-DigiPoll survey of 750 eligible voters was conducted between August 14 and 24, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 per cent.

Women were more likely to be against change - with 61 per cent wanting to keep the current flag, compared to 44 per cent of men.

He also said while the two Kyle Lockwood designs were similar, they looked quite different when flying and meant different things to different people so the panel had seen them as very distinct flags. He urged New Zealanders to vote for their favourites regardless of whether they supported change or not.

- NZ Herald



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