Friday, May 29, 2015Friday, May 29, 2015

New Zealand PM to hold flag vote if re-elected

Published on Mar 11, 2014 10:46 AM
New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key speaks at a luncheon in Sydney on Feb 7, 2014. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS 

WELLINGTON (AFP) - New Zealand Prime Minister John Key on Tuesday pledged to hold a referendum on changing the national flag if he wins a third term in office in September.

Key had been tipped to hold the referendum alongside September 20 elections but said he did not want the campaign dominated by debate on whether or not the country needs a new flag.

The conservative leader reiterated his support for ditching the existing banner, which features the Union Jack - symbol of former colonial power Britain - in one corner, with the rest consisting of four stars representing the Southern Cross constellation.

Key said he was open to ideas but personally favoured a silver fern on a black background, the national emblem already used by New Zealand sporting teams such as rugby union's All Blacks.

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!