Change the NZ flag? Identity crisis Referendum

Last updated 05:00 31/01/2014

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Should it stay or should it go?

The New Zealand flag is under the gun again as Prime Minister John Key has floated the possibility of having a referendum to change it.

In a street survey done by the North Harbour News it was a split vote on whether the flag needs to be updated.

Moni Collins of Orewa says a flag change would be good because New Zealand needs its own identity.

"What that is going to look like I'm not sure.

"I'm probably a fan of the black with the silver fern but in saying that there could be a raft of better choices."

Yvonne Churches says she supports a New Zealand republic, not ties to the monarchy, so the old flag design should go.

"If I was going to choose one I would go with the Maori flag. I think the silver fern is more of a logo than a flag and it is not regal enough."

John Potter says he is still very much supportive of the British monarchy but thinks it's time for a change.

"It would be nice to have a more refreshing lead in to what New Zealand is all about, a koru or fern could be good," he says.

But not everyone is convinced it is needed.

Pam Hawke of Red Beach says she isn't a fan of any of the proposed new flags, so why change it.

Mr Key confirmed the Government was considering putting the issue to the vote, and would discuss with Cabinet the possibility of holding a referendum.

He says the public was 50/50 on the idea of a new flag.

"If you asked the question right after the Rugby World Cup, it might have been closer to 60/40 in favour."

Even if people wanted to change the flag, there wasn't universal support for a single option to change to, Mr Key says.

His preference was to see a silver fern on a black background.

While technically it is as simple as changing the legislation governing the flag, Mr Key believes it should be voted on.

"It's constitutional in my view, and constitutional matters have to be taken to the people," he says.

A Government-initiated referendum could cost around $9 million, similar to the cost of the citizens-initiated asset sales referendum in November last year.

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- North Harbour News

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