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New Zealand PM to hold referendum over changing flag

Published on Jan 29, 2014 1:39 PM
The New Zealand flag during a cricket match at the University Oval in Dunedin on December 6, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

WELLINGTON (AFP) - New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said on Wednesday he supported changing the national flag, but would hold a referendum before any decision was made to ditch the existing banner.

The current flag has attracted criticism because one corner features the Union Jack, the symbol of former colonial power Britain, with the remainder consisting of four stars representing the Southern Cross constellation.

Mr Key said he believed the flag should display a silver fern, the national emblem already used by New Zealand sporting teams such as rugby union's All Blacks.

"I'd like to see a change," he told reporters. "But firstly it's not the single biggest issue that we as a country face. And secondly, even with those who want to change, there's not universal support for what we should change to.

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