New Zealand's possible new flag features fern and stars

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Many in New Zealand consider the current flag to be outdated and too similar to Australia's flag.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

  • French premier steps down to focus on presidential election

    World News CTV News
    PARIS -- French Prime Minister Manuel Valls stepped down Tuesday to focus on running for president in next year's election and was replaced by Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, a man who embodies the fight against Islamic extremism. Source
  • Iran president not interested in Trump's views on nuclear deal

    World News CBC News
    Iran's president said on Tuesday that his country will not allow incoming U.S. President Donald Trump to "tear up" Iran's landmark nuclear deal with world powers and also warned Tehran will react to any extension of American sanctions. Source
  • Environmentalists still targeted by Revenue Canada

    Canada News CBC News
    A small environmental group opposed to Liberal pipeline policies is still under threat by the Canada Revenue Agency – almost five years after getting into trouble with the taxman for opposing Conservative pipeline policies. The tax agency has notified Environmental Defence Canada Inc. Source
  • 'A dating website designed by Fidel Castro': Opposition blasts Liberal electoral reform survey

    Canada News CBC News
    Democratic Institutions Minister Maryam Monsef mocked the electoral reform committee's final report last week, but several members returned the favour Monday after reviewing the government's new online survey on the topic. Conservative MP Scott Reid said MyDemocracy.ca "feels like being on a dating website designed by Fidel Castro. Source
  • Peak uncertainty: How to navigate this period of economic disorder and confusion

    Canada News CBC News
    We'd like to think we have a pretty good handle on how the world works. For help, we turn to experts who claim to understand the forces at play and the impact they will have on the economy and our lives. Source
  • Spokesman offers few clues on Trump's pipeline stance

    World News CTV News
    United States Marine Corps veteran Frank Russano, of the Outer Banks, N.C., walks through the Oceti Sakowin camp where people have gathered to protest the Dakota Access oil pipeline in Cannon Ball, N.D., Monday, Dec. 5, 2016. Source
  • Music therapist, teacher, teens among warehouse fire victims

    World News CTV News
    OAKLAND, Calif. -- A therapist who used music to help kids cope with trauma. A woman who taught at a Montessori school. An energetic artist who could make friends with anyone. These were some of the people killed when flames ripped through a converted Oakland warehouse during a dance party Friday night. Source
  • Trial of B.C. polygamous sect followers to hear defence's closing arguments

    Canada News CTV News
    CRANBROOK, B.C. - A defence lawyer in a trial involving three people with ties to a British Columbia polygamous community is expected to deliver his closing arguments today. John Gustafson is representing Brandon Blackmore, who is accused of taking a 13-year-old girl into the United States for a sexual purpose in 2004. Source
  • Recovery of Oakland warehouse fire victims winds down; investigation looms

    World News CTV News
    OAKLAND, Calif. -- Some people were able to text loved ones goodbye and "I love you" before they died in an Oakland warehouse fire that claimed three dozen lives, officials said, as heart-rending reports of victims' last moments emerged from the most lethal building fire in the U.S. Source
  • 80 per cent of Filipino youth suffer violence, UNICEF survey says

    World News CTV News
    MANILA, Philippines - A United Nations agency that promotes children's rights says its survey shows a high prevalence of violence against Filipino children, with eight out of 10 suffering some form of physical or psychological abuse, with the highest number of incidents found among lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender youth. Source