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New Zealanders will vote on whether New Zealand gets a new flag during the next Parliamentary term, Prime Minister John Key announced this morning.
Mr Key said in a speech at Victoria University that the design of the current flag symbolised a colonial and post-colonial era whose time has passed.
"I am proposing that we take one more step in the evolution of a modern New Zealand by acknowledging out independence through a flag," he said.
A cross-party group of MPs would be formed to recommend the best referenda process and an independent steering group would ensure that the public was consulted and was able to contribute design ideas.
He said it was important that a new flag design had input from the public and that a flag that united all New Zealanders was chosen.
"This decision is bigger than party politics," he said.
Mr Key said that it should not be presumed that the flag would change, and retaining the current design was a possible outcome.
He would like to see the referenda process completed during the next Parliamentary term so that it did not intrude with the 2017 elections.
Under the next government, all party leaders would nominate a MP to be part of the cross-party group.
Mr Key has previously stated his preference for a silver fern as the national flag.
- Isaac Davison of the New Zealand Herald