Do we need a new flag?

1200px-Flag_of_New_Zealand.svg (Click the image to enlarge it.)

Today the Prime Minister, John Key, spoke to people from the tourism industry. He suggested that it was time for New Zealand to have a new flag. Our flag does not really represent New Zealand in the 21st century, he said.

In the top left corner of the flag is the union flag, the flag of the union between England, Scotland and Ireland. It is a reminder that we were a colony of Great Britain long ago. We are still linked to Britain through the Commonwealth. The Queen of England is our Queen too.

The four stars of the Southern Cross represent New Zealand. You can’t see the Southern Cross from the sky in the Northern Hemisphere. However, Australia also has the Southern Cross as well as a large star, bottom left, on their flag. Our flag is almost the same as Australia’s flag.

John Key thinks we should have a referendum about the flag at the same time as the elections. People would be asked if they wanted a new flag. After that, there would be a group of people to design possible flags. Some suggestions include the koru (as on Air New Zealand planes) or the silver fern, but do we want the silver fern on a black background?

To find the Southern Cross, choose a starry night and face south. Go to the picture of the Southern Cross which shows the pointers and the Southern Cross.


  1. union – England, Scotland and Northern Ireland joined together to become the United Kingdom
  2. The Commonwealth – 53 countries which used to be British colonies; Queen Elizabeth II is the Head of State
  3. hemisphere – half a sphere (the globe); New Zealand is in the Southern Hemisphere
  4. referendum – a vote


Note how to use “suggest”: it’s a good idea to say “suggested that” especially when you use a pronoun e.g. He suggested that I go to bed early; I suggest that we go to a movie.

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