Choices for New Zealand's new flag down to two

WELLINGTON, New Zealand - New Zealanders have chosen a design for a possible new national flag that features the country's iconic silver fern alongside the four stars that make up the Southern Cross constellation.

See Full Article

Preliminary results from a postal ballot were announced Friday with the results too close to call between two flags that feature the same design but with different colours. The winner will be announced Tuesday once all late votes and overseas ballots are counted.

But that will not mark the end of the process. Whichever flag wins Tuesday will then be pitted head-to-head against the current flag in a second vote to be held in March.

The winning design has similarities to the current flag. It retains the four red stars representing the Southern Cross but ditches the British Union Jack in favour of the fern, which has become a national symbol and is worn by many sports teams including the beloved All Blacks rugby team.

New Zealanders were choosing between five options for an alternative flag. Two were designed by Kyle Lockwood with the colour in the top left corner black in one design and red in the other.

Preliminary results released Friday showed Lockwood's black option winning 50.5 per cent of the vote and the red option 49.5 per cent in a runoff voting system.

Figures from the Electoral Commission indicated it had received 1.53 million votes by Friday, representing 48 per cent of eligible voters in the country of 4.6 million people. Some late votes and overseas ballots won't be counted until Tuesday when the official result is announced.

Deputy Prime Minister Bill English said in a statement the results showed there was a strong public interest in the process.

"New Zealanders can now turn their attention to deciding whether to keep the current flag, or replace it," he said.

But opposition leader Andrew Little said many people had protested the referendum by casting votes that were ineligible to be counted. About 10 per cent of all votes were ineligible.

Initially there were only four alternative flag options slated for the ballot, but a popular campaign for a geometric design called "Red Peak" prompted lawmakers to amend the rules to add it to the finalists. But Red Peak ended up finishing a distant third behind the Lockwood designs.

Many in New Zealand consider the current flag to be outdated and too similar to Australia's flag. The Union Jack, or Union Flag, harks back to a colonial past that many New Zealanders are eager to put behind them. New Zealand sometimes comes under the shadow of Australia, its larger neighbour, and having flags that are almost identical only compounds that problem.

However, there are plenty of New Zealanders who want to keep their current flag. Many veterans fought under the flag and feel a special bond to it. Others simply don't see any need for a change, or view the process as an expensive stunt initiated by Prime Minister John Key to distract from more pressing issues.\



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Search widens for U.S. Marine Corps pilot missing in Japan

    World News CTV News
    TOKYO -- The search for a Marine Corps pilot who ejected from an F/A-18 jet in southern Japan was expanded to a wider area after daybreak Thursday, the U.S. military said. The aircraft was on a regular training mission Wednesday when the incident occurred about 190 kilometres southeast of Iwakuni, the Marine Corps said. Source
  • Judge's ruling ends vote recount in Michigan

    World News CBC News
    A federal judge who ordered Michigan to begin its recount effectively ended it on Wednesday, tying his decision to a state court ruling that found Green Party candidate Jill Stein had no legal standing to request another look at ballots. Source
  • Lost senior survives sub-zero night in Manitoba wilderness after car crash

    Canada News CTV News
    An 82-year-old Winnipeg man who got lost more than 100 kilometres from home and drove his car into a ditch survived a frigid night alone in rural Manitoba by walking through the snow looking for help. Source
  • Trump chooses hardliners but talks softer on immigration

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald Trump has chosen retired Marine Gen. John Kelly, whose last command included oversight of the Guantanamo Bay detention centre, to run the Department of Homeland Security, people close to the transition team said Wednesday. Source
  • Muslim group denounces Edmonton LRT incident as 'hate crime' calling it 'absolutely horrifying' [Video]

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    The national organization representing Canadian Muslims is calling on Edmonton police to lay hate crime charges against a man after two Muslim women were threatened with a noose on a city LRT platform. National Council of Canadian Muslims communications director, Amira Elghaway, said the incident on Nov. Source
  • Long-awaited Canada border bill introduced in U.S. Congress

    Canada News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- A bill to simplify crossing the Canadian-U.S. border has just been introduced in American Congress. It's a long-awaited development. The Harper and Trudeau governments have both signed so-called preclearance deals with the Obama administration, but the arrangement required implementing legislation and U.S. Source
  • Animal rights activists cheer cop who ‘rescued’ kitten from drug user

    Canada News CTV News
    Constable Beth Richardson was greeted by cheers from animal rights activists as she headed into a police tribunal Wednesday. The Durham Regional Police officer is being charged with discreditable conduct under the Police Services Act in connection with a January incident in which she removed a kitten from a drug user’s home. Source
  • Canadian man in video of scuffle with Chicago policeman sues

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    CHICAGO — A 61-year-old Canadian man who was arrested after a scuffle with an off-duty Chicago police officer is suing the officer. Terence Clarke of Baden, Ontario alleges in the excessive force lawsuit filed Wednesday that Officer Khaled Shaar instigated the 2015 fight and then conspired with other officers to cover it up. Source
  • 1 officer killed, 1 wounded in Georgia; shooter at large

    World News Toronto Sun
    AMERICUS, Ga. — A man fatally shot one Georgia police officer and wounded a second before fleeing an apartment complex near a college campus that went on lockdown as a precaution, authorities said. They said the suspect is believed to be armed and dangerous. Source
  • Hunter accused of killing upright walking bear sues 6 people

    World News Toronto Sun
    MORRISTOWN, N.J. — A hunter who says he was falsely accused online of killing a New Jersey black bear that walked upright on its hind legs and became an internet celebrity has sued six social media posters. Source