New Zealand prime minister proposes removing Union Jack from flag

The New Zealand flag.

The New Zealand flag.  (AP)

New Zealand may be trading its Union Jack logo for a silver fern on the country’s national flag.

Senior government ministers are set to meet next month to discuss holding a referendum on making a major change to the nearly 150-year-old blue ensign flag design, the Australian Associated Press reported.

Right now, the mostly blue flag features the red, white and blue British flag in its left corner and four red stars on the right. It’s very similar to the Australian flag.  

Prime Minister John Key proposed the idea of a referendum last week, in an attempt to gauge national sentiment on a change. One idea for a new flag would have a black background with a silver fern, like many of the country’s sports teams. The fern is a national emblem of New Zealand.       

The referendum would allow New Zealanders to choose whether they want to keep the present flag, or choose a new design.

Key says he wants to consider many opinions on the significant move. ”I've had some advice on it; I'll be getting more, but that's just been about the process and how things could be done," the prime minister told reporters.

"I'd like to see a change," Key said. "But firstly, it's not the single biggest issue that we, as a country, face. And secondly, even with those who want to change, there's not universal support for what we should change to."