New Zealand flag referendum set to reveal result

New Zealand flag referendum set to reveal result

New Zealanders are waiting to hear whether they will have a new flag, as a referendum on whether to replace their existing one draws to a close, BBC reports.


The postal vote closes at 19:00 local time (06:00 GMT) with a preliminary result announced soon after.


The existing design features the British Union Flag, a legacy of New Zealand's days as a British colony and the reason many want to change it.


But opinion polls suggest New Zealanders have voted against change.


Close to two million people have cast a ballot, a turnout of 61%, says New Zealand media.


The proposed new design is called Silver Fern. It combines four red stars representing the Southern Cross constellation, found in the current flag, with a silver fern and black in the corner - both motifs also associated with New Zealand and its famous rugby team.


It was chosen in the first stage of the referendum last December from a shortlist of five candidates, itself chosen by a panel from a longer list of 40. The long list was criticised for lacking imagination, featuring many striking similar designs just in different colours.