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25 March 2016 - New Zealand decides to keep its flag after costly referendum

Publié par Marion Coste le 25/03/2016

Ten months, 10,000 designs, no new flag for New Zealand. What was that about?

Elle Hunt (The Guardian, 25/03/2016)

How many New Zealanders does it take to change a flag?
It’s the 27-million-dollar question to which, after 10 months, 10,300 designs and two public referendums, we still don’t know the answer – because after all that, the vote was to stick with the same old flag.
That this would be the outcome had been signalled as early as three months into the process. When the longlist of 40 designs was released in August, there was talk of “flag fatigue”, brought on by the lack of enthusiasm for the issue and compounded by the interminable discussion of it.

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A Vote on New Zealand’s Flag Identity Crisis
J. Weston Phippen (The Atlantic, 24/03/2016)
New Zealand’s search for a new flag design took two years, $17 million, and 10,000 options. The idea was to replace the colonial-era flag—the Southern Cross and the Union Jack on a blue background—with something uniquely Kiwi.
After all that work, New Zealand put it to the people. And on Wednesday night, 56 percent (versus 43 percent) of the public voted for the status quo.
From the reaction, the result was not so much adoration or nostalgia for the old, but a distaste for the new design. That flag, designed by Kyle Lockwood, an architectural technologist, and selected in a referendum, was a mix of old and new.

10,000 designs

New Zealand, Unmoved by Bionic Kiwi and Starry-Eyed Sheep, Keeps Its Flag
Michelle Innis (The New York Times, 24/03/2016)
The judges weighed 10,292 options — including a flightless kiwi bird firing lasers from its eyes — and the country spent two years thinking about it. But in the end, New Zealanders chose decisively to keep their century-old flag, a blue ensign with Britain’s Union Jack in the upper left corner and the four stars of the Southern Cross in red on the right.
Preliminary results of a nationwide mail-in vote, which pitted the incumbent against a flag known as the Silver Fern (Black, White and Blue) — showed on Thursday that 56.6 percent had voted to keep the existing flag flying, despite the assertion by Prime Minister John Key that it symbolized a colonial era whose time had passed.
“Naturally, I’m a little bit disappointed,” Mr. Key said at a news conference after the result was announced. “I always knew it was going to be a very tough thing to get more than 50 percent of people to vote for change. But the result was much, much closer than people predicted.” A recent poll had found that two-thirds of New Zealanders wanted to keep the existing flag.

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New Zealand’s decision on the flag has lessons for Britain’s EU referendum
Martin Kettle (The Guardian, 24/03/2016)
Never underestimate the capacity of human beings to step back from the brink; or in many cases their wisdom in choosing to do so. That would seem to be the wider message from New Zealand’s national flag referendum this week. The more you think about it, the more reassuring that message seems right now.
Look at the current New Zealand flag. What proud independent nation – and no one can doubt that New Zealand is one of those – would want a flag dominated by another country’s? Especially when that other country is the former colonial power thousands of miles away. And even more when you are a country that is nowadays extraordinarily aware of its own racial history and mix. A modern New Zealand flag for a modern New Zealand would seem a no-brainer to me.
Yet New Zealanders have just voted decisively against the alternative flag that they themselves selected for the run-off just three months ago in another ballot. Part of the reason for this apparent change of heart is surely that the rejected silver fern-based alternative looked as it had been designed by a committee in a hurry. It tried to send too many messages when something simpler and bolder would have been preferable.
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"25 March 2016 - New Zealand decides to keep its flag after costly referendum", La Clé des Langues [en ligne], Lyon, ENS de LYON/DGESCO (ISSN 2107-7029), mars 2016. Consulté le 29/02/2024. URL: https://cle.ens-lyon.fr/anglais/key-story/archives-revue-de-presse-2016/25-march-2016-new-zealand-decides-to-keep-its-flag-after-costly-referendum