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The competition's been fierce, but now Kyle Lockwood's design for a new New Zealand is emerging as the odds on favourite to win.
WELLINGTON: New Zealanders could be a step closer to getting a new
flag after the first phase of a two-part referendum wrapped up on Friday
but many people are not in the mood for change. The current flag
features Britain's Union Jack in the corner and four red stars in a
Southern Cross formation, indicating New Zealand's location in the South
Pacific. Those seeking change say the flag is too closely tied to
New Zealand's history as a British colony and looks far too much like
The Silver Fern (Black, White and Blue). Photo: Supplied
But people opposed to change say wars have been fought and New Zealanders have died under the current flag.
"I think it's an absolute waste of tax-payers money and I can't see any benefit to it," said Wellington resident Sue Parrott. "I have no problem with the current flag, it's part of our heritage."
On the way out? New Zealand's flagging interest.
Prime Minister John Key announced a referendum this year to settle the question and called for designs. More
than 10,000 entries, including flags bearing the native kiwi bird and
sheep, were whittled down to a short-list of five and the vote on Friday
is aimed at settling on the favourite. It will then face off against New Zealand's existing flag in the second phase of the referendum in March.
The final five flags voted on in the
first referendum, which was open for postal voting for three weeks.
Preliminary results show a flag featuring a white fern on a black
and blue background with four red stars is likely to win Friday's
ballot. The result is expected on Tuesday. A 3 News/Reid Research
poll in November showed that 65 percent of people want to keep the flag
as is, and only 28 percent want to change it. "I did vote, but I
don't agree that we need to change the current flag," said primary
school teacher Emily Osborn, who said she had chosen a flag featuring a
black and white koru, or unfurling fern frond. "I didn't pick it
because I liked it. I chose it because I thought it would be the one
that wouldn't stand a chance against our current flag," she said. Voter turnout was about 1.5 million people - or 48 percent of registered voters, the Electoral Commission said. The count so far:
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