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NZ unfurls proposed new flag

Out with the Union Jack, in with the Silver Fern

The days of New Zealand's flag bearing the Union Jack may be numbered after citizens voted in favour of a new design featuring the silver fern.

The remodelled "black, white and blue" banner, by architect Kyle Lockwood, narrowly topped a poll offering five alternatives, according to the New Zealand Herald. The preliminary result, to be confirmed next week, placed Lockwood's "red, white and blue" variant (below) in second spot.

The red, white and blue version of Lockwood's fern flag

Red Peak by Aaron Dustin secured third...

The Red Peak flag proposal

...while Koru by Andrew Fyfe and Silver Fern (black and white) by Alofi Kanter found less favour with voters.

Koru by Andrew Fyfe and Silver Fern (black and white) by Alofi Kanter

Crunch time for New Zealand's flagpoles will come in March, when a final referendum will determine whether to adopt the fluttering new national brand frontage or retain the existing flag.

The NZ Herald notes that participation in the shortlist vote was "1,527,042 people, or 48.16 per cent of the voting population", which the paper reckons is "relatively low for a constitutional issue".

It remains to be seen if greater numbers of New Zealanders participate in the final decision next year. The cost of the rebranding exercise to date is a controversial NZ$26m, or around £11.5m. Critics have suggested it would have been cheaper to ask people first if they actually wanted a change of flag at all, before presenting replacement contenders. ®

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