New Zealanders have been talking about choosing a new design for their national flag that features the nation’s iconic silver fern next to the four stars that compose the Southern Cross constellation.
- New Zealand votes for new design of national flag
- Five alternatives were offered, three of whom featured the fern, a national symbol
- Preliminary results of the votes were too tight to call a winner
According to the preliminary conclusion resulting from a postal ballot announced Friday, the nation couldn’t decide between two new potential flag candidates with different colors. The results were way too close to call one or the other the winner. However, as soon as the late and postal votes are counted, New Zealand will call the champion.
But that’s not the end of it, because the front-runner on Tuesday will have to go through another round: it’ll have to win against the current flag in a second vote in March. In other words, the new candidate will have to win the hearts of the citizens when pitted against the old one.
The winning design isn’t that different from the current colors. The four red stars – making up the Southern Cross – still make an apparition, but the British Union Jack was given the boot in favor of the fern. Why the fern? Because it has become one of the national symbols, worn even by sports teams, including the popular All Blacks rugby team.
New Zealanders had to choose between five contenders for the alternative flag. Kyle Lockwood was the designer behind two of them, one of which has the color black in the top left corner, and the other has red. According to the preliminary results released on Friday, Lockwood’s black version was winning 50.5 percent of the vote, and the red option 49.5 percent.
The Electoral Commission report indicated that 1.53 million votes were cast in the postal ballot by Thursday, representing only 48 percent of the eligible voters in New Zealand, which is home to 4.6 million people. Later votes and ballots cast overseas will be counted before the official announcement on Tuesday.
But why did New Zealand want to change the old flag? According to national experts, a new “iconic flag could be worth billions in tourism revenue,” but such a desire for change wasn’t really shared among the general population.
There was an overwhelming negative reaction in the online, for example, where users called the shortlisted designs “bleak,” “insipid,” and “a disgrace.” The three flags featuring the fern leaf were criticized for being too similar, while the koru design was mockingly nicknamed “Hypnoflag.”
Image Source: tvnz.co.nz