New Zealand gets first look at list of flag options


A panel in New Zealand has chosen 40 flag designs from more than 10,000 submitted by the public.

New Zealand is one step closer to getting a new flag, with 40 designs chosen from more than 10,000 options.

The Flag Consideration Panel published the longlist of designs online with a letter explaining why they were selected.

The panel will further scrutinise the designs and examine intellectual property before whittling the list down to four. A referendum will be held in November to chose the preferred option from that four.

A second referendum will be held in March 2016 to decide between that option and the current flag.

The flag referenda and cost associated have proved divisive in New Zealand, with many angry over the $26 million price tag.

Bob Hill, of the New Zealand RSA, said keeping the current flag was important to war veterans.

"We believe we have an obligation to lead a fight against it," he said. "We don't want to be seen as old fuddie duddies and living in the past but then again, a lot of New Zealanders have died under that flag. So we think it's important to keep it."

But Marama Fox, co-leader of the New Zealand Māori Party, said Māori soldiers were treated poorly during World War I and II and this argument doesn't stack up.

“When [Māori soldiers] returned home [from war] - having proven themselves as worthy citizens - they were treated with great disrespect because they were not given land allocation, as the other soldiers were, and they were not given allowances, as other soldiers were,” she said.

“They were completely disrespected under that flag. So do I hold any great loyalty to it? No I don't, because I don't think it’s the flag they died for. They died for their families, for their mates, for the love of this country - not got that flag and that symbol."

Recent national flag changes around the world

Excluding new nations, which did not previously have a national flag

SOURCE: World Flag Database, IMAGES: Wikipedia

Deputy Chair of the Flag Consideration Panel, Kate De Goldi, says the process was ground-breaking.

"It's fundamentally a national discussion about New Zealand identity,” she said. "The first time, I think, in global history that a country has engaged in this type of process to choose a flag."

Ms Fox said a new flag was needed to unite New Zealanders.

"We need a nation's flag that represents all of our nation's people and I don't think we currently have that," she said.

The panel will release its shortlist of four designs in September.

Watch SBS World News' report on the flag debate below:


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