Wellington: New Zealand’s Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters, 73, called on Australia to change its flag on Thursday, saying “it had pinched the Kiwi banner’s design and was causing confusion”. Peters, who is temporarily leading the country while Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is on maternity leave, feels strongly about the flag issue. Peters also raised it earlier, complaining “we got there first with this design”.
We designed it and they borrowed it and if we wanted to clear the matter up they should change their flag. It must be patently obvious that all over the world people are confused. -Winston Peters, PM
Major difference b/w flags
Both the New Zealand and Australian flags are dark blue with the Union Jack emblem of former colonial power Britain in the top left corner. The only major difference is that the Australian version has six white stars, five representing the Southern Cross, while New Zealand depicts the constellation with four red stars.
After failed referendum
New Zealand adopted its flag in 1902, while Australia’s was not recognised until 1954. Both countries say that similar designs were common in the late 1800s. New Zealand held a referendum on changing its flag to a silver fern design in 2016, with the proposal defeated 43% to 57.
‘Peters is a poor man’s Trump’
Opposition leader Simon Bridges ridiculed Peters’ flag preoccupation, accusing him of populism and labelling him ‘a poor man’s Donald Trump’. Bridges said New Zealanders he had spoken to are ‘actually’ concerned about topics like the economy and healthcare, and not the flag design.