Published: Sat, July 28, 2018
World Media | By Cesar Oliver

In fresh jab, acting NZ PM calls on Australia to change flag

In fresh jab, acting NZ PM calls on Australia to change flag

Winston Peters, the acting prime minister of New Zealand, has taken another swipe at Australia, accusing it of "copying" the New Zealand flag.

Speaking on TVNZ, Peters went on the offensive, claiming that Australia flagrantly copied New Zealand's flag, and for that reason and that reason alone the entire sovereign nation should be forced to change it up.

Both the New Zealand and Australian flags are dark blue with the Union flag emblem of founding nation the United Kingdom in the top-left corner.

At one point, everywhere from Burma to the British mandate of Palestine featured some variant of the flag, albeit with local symbols in place of the Southern Cross.

Key had hoped that a fresh design would better differentiate New Zealand from Australia.

The Australian flag (bottom) and the New Zealand flag, with its distinctive red stars, fly on the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 2005.

The comments this week have come amid an ongoing trans-Tasman war of words about Australia's deportation of hundreds of New Zealanders. The two flags look so similar that they are occasionally mixed up, and were apparently even swapped for each other at an Olympic medal ceremony in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. But 56 percent of voters opted for the status quo.

In 2016, New Zealand held a referendum about adopting a new flag. More than half-a-million Kiwis live in Australia, and according to Australian Broadcasting Corporation, more than 1,300 of them have been deported in the past three years, raising concerns in New Zealand. More New Zealanders are now in immigration detention in Australia than people from any other country.

'They never raised with me changing the Australian flag.

Two years ago the NZ Government spent some NZ$26million holding a vote to see whether or not the public wanted to change the flag, a vote that was ultimately shot down (including the defeat of a flag variant involving a Kiwi shooting lasers out of its eyes).

The New Zealand flag has been used since 1902, but the Australian flag, while not formally adopted until 1954, was first designed in 1901. A fifth, five-point star completes the Southern Cross constellation.

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