New Zealand flag referendum begins

Ballots have been distributed in first round of referendum, which sees New Zealanders choosing from five new flag designs

New Zealand flag referendum begins

World Bulletin / News Desk

New Zealanders woke up to find ballot papers in their mailboxes Friday, giving them a rare chance to change how their country is seen in the eyes of the world.

They are being asked to rank five designs for a new national flag in the first round of a referendum on changing it.

The second round, which the country's election commission says is planned for March 2016, will ask voters whether they would prefer to keep their existing flag or replace it with whichever design is ranked highest.

New Zealand National Party MP Amy Adams was quick off the mark, tweeting "Flag referendum voting papers received, completed and back in the post already."

Voters surveyed by were generally less sanguine, with some planning to abstain and others saying the flag did not need to be changed.

However, it quoted voter Alex Fenwick as saying the change -- which would mean Britain's Union Jack would no longer be a feature of the flag -- was being made to reflect the different backgrounds of today's New Zealanders.

"I do understand that our soldiers fought under it, but we also have more Polynesian and Pacific people here now," she said.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Kasım 2015, 10:29