Staff Reporter –
New Zealanders will have a unique opportunity this month to decide on the future of their National Flag.
They will be able to vote either to retain the current New Zealand Flag, or vote for the Silver Fern Flag, which was chosen in the first referendum held at the end of last year.
Flag Consideration Panel Chair Professor John Burrows said that whether the flag changes or not is a very personal decision and an historic one.
“It comes down to which flag voters believe best represents New Zealanders; as individuals and as part of a proud nation,” he said.
Professor Burrows said it was a decision in which all eligible voters should participate and make their vote count.
In New Zealand, both permanent residents and citizen are able to vote.
“To help voters consider all perspectives before making their decision, the Panel is providing information about the two flags, and the wide range of views that have been expressed around them,” Professor Burrows said.
A summary of this information can be found on the Panel’s website along with a video on the symbols, colours and meaning of both flags.
Professor Burrows encouraged voters to get to know the two flags, consider what others have had to say about the choices, and then make their vote count.
The Government must follow the results of the final referendum from March 3 to March 24, 2016.
“The people of New Zealand will make the final decision on which flag we fly in the future. It is unlikely that the decision will be revisited for many years, and so people will make it now for future generations to come,” Professor Burrows said.
Compare the two flags:
About the Flag Consideration Panel
The Flag Consideration Panel was appointed in February 2015 following nominations by a Cross Party Group of MPs. The Panel is independent of government and was provided with a set budget to conduct a public engagement campaign and recommend alternative flag designs to the Responsible Minister, Hon Bill English. Cabinet specified that the Panel’s public engagement process must be independent, inclusive, enduring, well-informed, practical, community-driven, dignified, legitimate and consistent with the Crown’s Treaty obligations.
Photo Caption: Professor John Burrows