The Courier-Mail

Key locks out popular wildcard in NZ flag ballot

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WELLINGTON: The Red Peak flag that has captured New Zealanders’ imaginatio­n will not join the shortlist of potential new flags, Prime Minister John Key says.

The flag (pictured), des signed by Xero design director Aaron Dustin, 42, has gained support from many who are u unimpresse­d with the four alte ternative national flag designs th that made the final cut.

But Mr Key appeared to rule out any rethink of the shortlist yesterday, saying it would be difficult to add another flag to the referendum.

“There are processes we’ve gone through, the committee gave Cabinet four options, the Cabinet accepted them,” he said. “To change that now, we’ve literally got to go and change the law.”

He believed there was similar interest in other alternativ­es, for example a traditiona­l black flag carrying a white silver fern. “There’d be a group for that as well,” he said.

The PM might have dismissed it, but several highprofil­e New Zealanders are behind the wildcard, including Labour leader Andrew Little.

The four designs will be ranked in a postal referendum in November-December. A second vote, a run-off between the present flag and the top alternativ­e, is planned for April.

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