New Zealand′s acting prime minister claims Australia copied its flag | News | DW | 25.07.2018
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New Zealand's acting prime minister claims Australia copied its flag

New Zealand's acting prime minister wants Australia to come up with a new flag, claiming it copied New Zealand's. The Australian and New Zealand flags are often mixed up due to their similar appearance.

New Zealand's acting Prime Minister Winston Peters on Wednesday alleged that Australia had copied New Zealand's national flag and demanded Australia design a new one, local media reported.

Peters, who is holding the fort while Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is on a six-week maternity leave, flagged the issue on local broadcaster TVNZ.

"We had a flag that we've had for a long time, copied by Australia, and they should actually change their flag and honor the fact that we got there first with this design," Peters said.

Read more: German laws on burning the Israeli flag: What you need to know

The Australian and New Zealand flags are often confused due to their similarities. Both flags are blue with the Union Jack in the top left corner and the stars of the Southern Cross.

The New Zealand flag's Southern Cross has four red stars outlined in white, while Australia's Southern Cross has five white stars and an additional Commonwealth star with seven points — six for the Australian states and one representing its territories.

The New Zealand flag was adopted in 1902, while Australia adopted its current flag design in 1954 — more than 50 years later — but after going through three previous versions since the first 1901 design.

Two years ago, New Zealand spent about $18 million (€15.4 million) on a referendum to decide whether to change its flag, but New Zealanders ultimately voted no, with 56.6 per cent choosing to stick with the current flag.

The five potential flags New Zealand was considering for their national flag (Getty Images/H. Hopkins)

The five potential flag designs New Zealand was considering for their national flag

Deportation controversy

Peters' flag accusation comes after he criticized Australia for deporting New Zealand nationals without a trial.

"When you're in a foreign country you're expected to obey their laws," the New Zealand Herald quoted Peters as saying. "But someone should be tried before they're evicted from a country," he continued.

Read more: Multiculturalism: Australia is 'dismal' on diversity - report

Peters, who is also New Zealand's foreign minister, and Justice Minister Andrew Little appeared on the Australian Broadcasting Commission's "Foreign Correspondent" program last week, where he said there appeared to be a "venal, political strain" to them and "certainly not consistent with any humanitarian ideals that I thought both countries once shared." 

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