The era of British colonialism is over and it's about time New Zealand adopted a flag without a Union Jack on it, says Prime Minister John Key. "The flag remains dominated by the Union Jack in a way that we ourselves are no longer dominated by the United Kingdom," he said yesterday, announcing that a referendum on a new flag will be held within three years, the BBC reports. "I am proposing that we take one more step in the evolution of modern New Zealand by acknowledging our independence through a new flag," he said.
"We should be represented by a flag that is distinctly New Zealand’s; a flag that is only New Zealand’s," Key said, noting that Canada ditched its Union Jack-dominated flag for the maple leaf in 1965. He said it was important for the public to have input on new designs, though his preference is for the silver fern design used by the country's national sports teams, reports the New Zealand Herald. Polls, however, show that most New Zealanders are happy to keep the current flag, with veterans' organizations firmly opposed to ditching the flag that tens of thousands fought and died under.