New Zealanders on Tuesday chose a black, white and silver fern design that will compete with its current flag in a referendum planned for March. Architect Kyle Lockwood conceptualised the new flag, as well as another with a similar design in red and blue, which came in a close second. Nearly 1.5 million people cast their votes, BBC reported.
The second referendum scheduled for March will decide whether a new flag will replace the current one from the colonial era.
Prime Minister John Key, who preferred the “Silver Fern” to the other four designs, has expressed support for the decision to choose a new flag. He said that the current flag looks too similar to Australia’s and that it was time to remove the Union Jack from it.
A 12-member Flag Consideration Panel first reviewed all 10,292 suggested flag designs, after which it announced a list of 40. As part of an official design review process, they were forwarded for further investigation. On September 1, it announced four alternative designs to choose from in the first referendum, but the parliament later added a fifth design to the list.