Monday, May 9, 2016

New Zealand Flag Referendum

There was a big move in New Zealand to change its flag.  One of the arguments is that it is too similar to the Australian flag as the two are often confused.  Both are blue with a Union Jack in the upper left corner and a Southern Cross on the right.  There are also the points that it keeps the country looking like a UK colony and there is no representation of the Māori.

Some of the rejected designs
The Prime Minister pushed for a two-stage binding referendum to change the flag.  More than 10,000 designs were submitted to a panel who then came up with an initial short list of 40 designs.

The short list of 40 flags
The Flag Consideration Panel was made up of "respected New Zealanders" representing different age, regional, gender and ethnic demographics.  Somehow though they forgot to include any flag experts.

It was narrowed down to five and voters were asked "If the New Zealand flag changes, which flag would you prefer?"
The three week referendum took place in 2015 between November and December.  A preferential voting system was used were voters ranked their preferred choices from 1 to 5.  The option receiving the lowest number of votes was discarded but for those who vote this as there first choice had there second choices added to the total.  This goes on and on until a winner is chosen.  In the first round, most people voted for option E but due to this confusing preferential system the final winner was option A.

The second three week referendum in March 2016 asked voters "What is your choice for the New Zealand flag?"
In the end voters decided to keep the current flag.  Some people didn't care for the choices or how the whole process was conducted.  Many objected to the the NZD $27 million (USD $18.9M or €17,8M) price tag because this money could have been spent on more pressing things.  Some people thought that the flag should change if and when New Zealand becomes a republic but that it didn't make sense to change it before then.
Personally, the referendum process seems like it was backwards to me.  I think the first question should have been Do you want to change the flag?  If "no", then the whole debate would have been over.  If "yes", then put the choices to the vote.  It really doesn't matter what I think as I'm not a Kiwi.
Here's a video I found out on YouTube covering the final results.
©One News

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