Possible New Zealand Flag Change to Reflect Long Time Independence
New Zealand have be using their current flag for almost 150 years, but is it now time for a change? According to New Zealand Prime Minister John Key it is, and has asked for the nation to vote officially on the change within the next three years.
The current flag of New Zealand depicts in red the four brightest stars of the Crux star constellation, more commonly known as the Southern Cross, which line up to make a cross shape and is the smallest of the modern constellations. But the problem lies with the Union Jack of Britain in the uppermost left corner of the flag.
New Zealand actually became independent of the British colonies sometime in the first half of the 1900s – the actual date isn’t known because it was considered more of an evolution than a distinct step into independence. Many New Zealand people feel that the depiction of the Union Jack still upon their national flag does not adequately represent their independence, and that now is the time for something to be done about that.
“The flag remains dominated by the Union Jack,” said the PM, “in a way that we, ourselves, are no longer dominated by the United Kingdom.” He explained that he wanted New Zealand to follow the example set by Canada in 1965, when the latter replaced their old flag with the Union Jack in the same corner and the Coat of Arms of Canada in place of the Crux stars with the Maple Leaf as the flag has become known.
Others on the side of the change feel that the flag is too much like the Australian flag. Admittedly, the Oz flag is pretty similar. The stars are depicted in white, though, with the added fifth Crux star in place, as well as a seven-pointed star beneath the Union Jack that is known as the Commonwealth star and represents Australia’s territories.
PM Key has demonstrated a preference for a black flag with a silver fern upon it. The silver fern has become adopted as a sort of national emblem for New Zealand and has been the symbol of their rugby team, the All Blacks, since the 1880s. However, some argue that such a flag would become too associated with sports teams, and is also very similar to pirate flags, which are black with a white skull and cross bones in the centre.
Whatever the final decision, the Prime Minister is clear on the issue: “We should be represented by a flag that is distinctly New Zealand’s.”
Australia, on the other hand, are showing little interest in removing the Union Jack from their own flag, so will not be following New Zealand’s lead. “I think John Key is entitled to his position regarding the New Zealand flag,” said Steven Marshall, the South Australian Liberal leader, “but I do not think there is any push currently to change the Australian flag… The Union Jack in the corner reflects our history.”