The never ending tale of New Zealand’s debate for a new flag has finally come to a conclusion. The decision… No – meaning New Zealanders will keep their original flag which has being in use since the 1800’s and was official adopted in 1902.
The vote was incredibly close which potentially makes it more frustrating for the “change” camp. 56.61% of people voted to keep their existing flag. The debate began over two core concerns with the existing flag:
- The country has being independent since 1947, but the flag still features the Union Jack. This is seen by some as a reminder of the colonial era.
- The similarity to the Australian flag continues to cause some friction. Prime Minister, John Key, commented that the similarity is “terribly confusing” for the rest of the world and is regularly frustrated by being presented with the wrong flag at events.
The debate began way back in 2014, when Key’s party was elected. He made a promise to give the people a choice on their flag. May 2015 saw the competition begin. 10292 designs were entered into the competition for a Flag Consideration Panel to choose a long list of 40 finalist designs. This 40 very quickly became 39 with one design forced to withdraw due a copyright allegations.
This 39 quickly became 4 – the sparking hot debate as they were all by male designers and two flags we’re designed by the same man. The final 4 were considered safe and dull choices which left New Zealanders uninspired by the vote.
The last hoorah in the long running scandal that had become the flag debate was the addition of a fifth flag the “Red Peak”. The Red Peak had gained over 52000 signatures in a social media campaign to get the flag added to the final 4.
In the end the campaign was much ado about nothing… leaving many New Zealanders incredibly frustrated about the amount of public money spent on the campaign over the two year period.