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PoliticsNovember 21, 2015

The Flag: The Australians Prepare to Vote on the NZ Flag


The NZ flag debate is fomenting confusion throughout the international press.

Voting forms for New Zealand’s flag referendum have been dispatched by the legions of androgynous orange workers at the Electoral Commission, and the debate has returned to entertain and curse us.

One point on which almost everyone, or at least those who favour a change, can agree is that it would be nice to have a flag that wasn’t so easily confused with the Australians’.

People get “terribly confused” trying to distinguish the two, as John Key has put it, and the prime minister has more than once found his place at the international table illustrated with the Australian flag.

Even one of the members of the New Zealand flag panel was given a lanyard with his name and an Australian flag, at a flag conference, no less. (As revealed in a story headlined, just by the way, “Fifth flag not an option for referendum”.)

If we needed a reminder that the flags are trickily similar, the New Zealand Herald provided it yesterday with its picture selection:


One News, meanwhile, seems to be subversively pushing for the transtasman siblings to unite under one compromise flag:

But it seems the flag-a-likeness may be the least of our worries when it comes to getting people to realise that New Zealand is a whole different country to Australia.

Witness, from this morning, the explanation of the flag process from that illustrious title Foreign Policy:


Update, December 14:

Another esteemed title, this time the Atlantic, has also been following flag-related matters as they unfurl in New Zealand.

The below was posted a couple of days ago:


Given our prime minister’s confusing resemblance to a famous economics writer, any chance of a vote on whether he should have to change his name to something more distinctive?

Since we’re on the subject, some others from the back catalogue:

davidkey johnkay

And from the New York Times:


Keep going!