The fate of the New Zealand flag is about to be decided. This comes as the last stage in the country’s proposed flag change has already started. The citizens will soon be asked about their choice between the silver fern against the blue and black and the current style or design.
In the first referendum held last year, the highest ranked design was Silver Fern or white, black and blue, which took 50.58 percent of the votes. In the second referendum, the citizens will be asked between the winning design and the current flag. Those who properly enrolled will get papers through the mail from March 3 to March 11.
New Zealand flag-related referendum will end on March 24, with a preliminary result being expected at 8:30 in the evening local time. Votes that will be postmarked on March 23 are eligible for counting. The final result is going to be announced on March 30 when all the votes collected in time have already been processed. If the voters turn out for change, a transition period of 12 months may be considered.
The debate over the changing of the New Zealand flag, which was never connected to the issue about the country’s leap to being a republic, has followed an unplanned direction since it started in May 2016. The government was even criticized for failing to appoint a designer to the 12-people panel responsible for choosing a shortlist from almost 10,300 public submissions, Otago Daily Times reported.
Last January 22, the chosen alternative flag was flown from Auckland Harbour Bridge, with the current flag, to aid the citizens to come up with a decision in the last stage of the referendum. However, it was confirmed later that the new flag was not the right shade of blue. A replacement was made at the cost of around AU$4000 or AU$3666.
Meanwhile, the government is reported to have spent an estimated cost NZ$726 or almost AU$24 million on both referendums, The Guardian reported.