back to article NZ unfurls proposed new flag

The days of New Zealand's flag bearing the Union Jack may be numbered after citizens voted in favour of a new design featuring the silver fern. The remodelled "black, white and blue" banner, by architect Kyle Lockwood, narrowly topped a poll offering five alternatives, according to the New Zealand Herald. The preliminary …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's the difference between a duck?

    A change sounds like a good idea, if only to help people outside of New Zealand and Australia to recognise the difference between their two flags.

    1. Unep Eurobats
      Trollface

      Typical

      I'd only just got the hang of the differences between the Australian and New Zealand flags, following the recent rugby world cup. Now if they go and change it I'll no longer be able to show off my superior knowledge to my fellow northern hemisphereans.

      (No need for a new Welsh flag. All English rugby fans know what that looks like, right?)

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Typical

        It's the one with the smug grinning beast on it. I could swear they suddenly got smugger.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Typical

          Wife's cousin's husband is Welsh. He was a smug beggar before their team's recent rugby performance.

      2. Vincent Ballard
        Joke

        Easy

        The Home Nations flags are easy: you just have to think of the Union Flag. The red axis-aligned cross and its white border is from England; the blue background and diagonal white cross is from Scotland; the diagonal red cross is from Ireland; and the pole is from Wales.

        1. Alistair Silver badge
          Windows

          Re: Easy

          I thought Poles were from Poland actually......

          /ducks and runs

          1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

            Re: Easy - I thought Poles were from Poland actually.

            This is not a joke, but isn't Polish now the second commonest first language in Wales?

        2. John H Woods Silver badge

          No Welsh in the Union Jack / Flag

          If we superimposed that Welsh dragon on the flag would at least stop idiots hanging / flying it upside down.

          1. disgruntled yank Silver badge

            Re: No Welsh in the Union Jack / Flag

            Don't be so sure of that. During one World Series game between Toronto and Atlanta, a US color guard marched out with the maple leaf upside down.

      3. Ledswinger Silver badge

        Re: Typical

        No need for a new Welsh flag. All English rugby fans know what that looks like, right?

        Well, any driver in Wales will conclude that this is the Welsh national flag.

      4. Jock in a Frock

        Re: Typical

        +1 for the word 'hemisphereans'

        1. DropBear Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Typical

          Bah, humbug! "Earthicans" sounds just fine...

  2. Hollerith 1

    Roll out any version of Fern

    I think the Black Fern versions look great, with or without the Southern Cross, although it will be a nightmare for graphics people and manufacturers of flags.

    I know there was kerfuffle over 'don't lose the old flag and the Union Jack, under which our troops served, this makes a mockery of our veterans' etc etc. Canada changed its flag in the 1960s and I don't think Canadian veterans had collective heart attacks.

    1. Ole Juul Silver badge

      Re: Roll out any version of Fern

      Yes, but the Maple Leaf was cleverly pushed through on an off day in Parliament by a very presumptuous Liberal government. We'll never know what a democratic process would have brought us. In any case the solution with the veterans et al actually was quite interesting. They adopted the Union Flag a month earlier as also being an official flag. Even though the Maple Leaf is the only national flag, Canada now does have two official flags.

      1. Hollerith 1

        Re: Roll out any version of Fern

        Yes, the two flags things was a nice fudge, wasn't it? A democratic process would have been a tricky one then -- we were still a bit 'colonial' and there would have been years of backing and forthing -- but perhaps we would have followed NZ's style now: a shortlist, a public vote, and then done-and-dusted.

        I certainly like the Canadian national flag. Simple, clear, and also instantly identifiable. There are a few flags around the world that are like that: UK's, USA's, China's, a couple of others, and the rest are merely coloured bars. I hope to see the Black Fern adding itself to the cool countries' flags.

        1. Anonymous Blowhard

          Re: Roll out any version of Fern

          "I hope to see the Black Fern adding itself to the cool countries' flags"

          Does that include Mozambique? (Includes an AK47, as mentioned in "Lord of War")

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Mozambique

        2. The First Dave

          Re: Roll out any version of Fern

          Actually, the flag of the USA is rather similar to that of Liberia, IIRC.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Roll out any version of Fern

        I didn't know that background, but the maple leaf flag is now one of the most iconic brands in the world, so it's a good job they did.

        Sometimes all this public participation is just an excuse for junkets and inability or unwillingness to make a decision. Just pick one of these (designed by an actual professional, not the PM's unemployed graphic artist cousin) and move on.

        Notice how it's all the unimportant decisions that are mired in "public process" and drag on for years. There was never a voting process for invading Iraq was there?

      3. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
        Childcatcher

        Re: Roll out any version of Fern

        Canada now does have two official flags.

        At least the Canadians didn't go the route that Oregonians chose to follow: one flag with two sides*. Canadians may have the maple leaf, but Oregonians got the beaver.

        * Yes, Paraguay has a two-sided flag, too, but it is completely devoid of beaver.

    2. Anonymous Blowhard

      Re: Roll out any version of Fern

      "I think the Black Fern versions look great, with or without the Southern Cross"

      Sounds like a good reason for another episode of "Fun With Flags"...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quite nice

    I like the flags.

    We will, however, have to send an armada of The Queen's warships to bring them back into line should they go ahead with it.

    If we have any, that is.

    1. Graham Dawson

      Re: Quite nice

      We've still got the HMS Victory in drydock. She could probably be made seaworthy again without too much fuss.

      1. Graham Marsden
        Unhappy

        @Graham Dawson: Re: Quite nice

        Alas the Victory is currently in rather a sorry state :-( (A young lady of my acquaintance is one of the Tour Guides at the Dockyard)

    2. WaveyDavey

      Re: Quite nice

      Re the armada: could I cadge a lift please? I'd love to emigrate to NZ, amazing place.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Quite nice - cadge a lift

        Might be a shortage of space I'm afraid, if all we have available is HMS Victory.

        Perhaps if the Mary Rose can be repaired ...

        1. Hellcat

          Re: Quite nice - cadge a lift

          HMS Trincomalee, ready for service and I don't think HMS Warrior would take too much before she was ready.

          1. Little Mouse

            Re: Quite nice - cadge a lift

            I don't see a problem. I seem to recall that we did a fairly good job of populating the West Island using only sea transport...

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @Hellcat - Re: Quite nice - cadge a lift

            Good, so that's three at least we can scrape up.

          3. Laura Kerr

            Re: Quite nice - cadge a lift

            I'm sure a quick refit would see HMS Belfast good to go, as well.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Quite nice - cadge a lift

              MTB102? Room for a couple on board.

            2. MrT

              Re: Quite nice - cadge a lift

              Hang on - does that mean that all mothballed battleships are not kept fully armed and fuelled up, staffed by elderly ex-sailors, ready to go at a moment's notice? I feel somewhat misled by a documentary film reel I recently saw, presented by notable historians such as Dr 'Weps' Rhianna and someone called Sam...

              1. moiety

                Re: Quite nice - cadge a lift

                Can we send the SAS in first to put netting over major harbours so they don't throw our tea in? That was a bit traumatic last time.

              2. The First Dave

                Re: Quite nice - cadge a lift

                To be fair, from what I recall, that ship only had a few shells on board, and I believe they were magic ones anyway that could be fired without need of any propellant...

    3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Quite nice

      Not yet.

      That was just the referendum for the alternative design. That is still _NOT_ the referendum for the actual replacement. That is the next vote (if El Graunidad is to be believed).

      The fern ones are really cool though :)

  4. wolfetone Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Research

    The Union Jack is what the Union Flag is called on a ship. If it's on land, it's called a Union Flag.

    1. Velv Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Research

      Yes, research indeed.

      While the full etymology of term "Union Jack" remains unknown, one possibility is from the small "jack" flag flown from the bowsprit of a ship, jack being an old term for "small".

      A full size Union flag flown elsewhere on the ship would still be called a Union Flag, and there's nothing stopping a small flag (or Jack) being flown on land.

      1. Kevin Johnston Silver badge

        Re: Research

        I think you will find that jacks fly from jackstays which are the ropes running up a mast, normally for the inner end of a yard or for the edge of a sail. Also used for raising flags for signalling or for 'jacks' to indicate status (OK that's a sub-set of signalling by how pedantic do I need to be here?).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Research

        jack being an old term for "small". So, how should we interpret jack off?

        1. Graham Dawson

          Re: Research

          Off can mean deactivated, functionally an equivalent of death. La petite mort?

    2. Tom Wood

      Re: Research

      http://www.flaginstitute.org/wp/british-flags/the-union-jack-or-the-union-flag/

    3. Hollerith 1

      Re: Research

      Yes, but it's not common or popular usage. I mean, do you really go around saying 'internet' when 'intertubes' is the common or popular commentard usage?

    4. glen waverley

      Re: Research

      The irony of a commentard called wolfetone commenting on the UK flag...

    5. Marking Time

      Re: Research

      Such use was given Parliamentary approval in 1908 when it was stated that “the Union Jack should be regarded as the National flag”.

  5. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Yes please

    Australia: you're next.

    It's time we grew up some.

    1. Unep Eurobats

      Re: Yes please

      Next can we do something about all those near-indistinguishable European flags that are variations on red, white and blue stripes (or black/blue, yellow and red ones; or green, white and orange/red ones).

      1. Ledswinger Silver badge

        Re: Yes please

        Next can we do something about all those near-indistinguishable European flags

        Ahh, but what happens when the Scots decide to secede and form the Scottish Soviet People's Democratic Republic?

        The union flag would have to drop the saltire. Nobody really recognises the cross of St David anyway, but if we can get the Scots to shove off, then it'll make sense rebuilding Offa's dyke and giving the Welsh the perpetual single party state they want (and we in England will be better off because we won't be paying for these two public sector theme parks).

        Then when thinking about boring European flags, is the cross of St George sufficiently distinguished on its own?

        1. 8Ace

          Re: Yes please

          Cross of St. David ?? Looks like you need educating on your own flag matey. It's the Cross of St. Patrick .. it's Irish. There is no Welsh component on the Union Flag.

          1. Ledswinger Silver badge

            Re: Yes please

            Looks like you need educating on your own flag matey.

            Fair cop. But it still looks pants with a red x superimposed on a red +. And if we're letting the Scots take the high road, quietly making Wales a sovereign nation whether they like it or not, we'd have to let Ulster decide its own destiny.

            So, back to the sub topic of a flag for England, how about this distinctive and appropriate design.

            In heraldic terms: Black yellow and grey stripes, with a tenné roundle offset, and tenné zouche adjacent.

            1. 8Ace

              I'd quit now if I were you !

              "And if we're letting the Scots take the high road, quietly making Wales a sovereign nation whether they like it or not, we'd have to let Ulster decide its own destiny."

              Ulster is not part of the United Kingdom. Ulster is one of the 4 provinces of the whole Island of Ireland, along with Leinster, Munster and Connacht. Ulster contains 9 counties. 3 of those counties are part of the Republic of Ireland, whilst the other 6 form the country known as Northern Ireland.

              Northern Ireland is one of the 4 constituent countries of the United Kingdom.

              I mean, come on.. time you learnt about your own sovereign state, then you can start pontificating on flags !

              1. Ledswinger Silver badge

                Re: I'd quit now if I were you !

                I mean, come on.. time you learnt about your own sovereign state, then you can start pontificating on flags !

                Nope. I didn't come here for well informed debate, and in that respect I came full prepared myself.

                "Ignorance shall be my shield, vitriol shall be my spear."

                (The Book of Ledswinger, ch 14 vs 54).

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