World

New Zealand to take 2 votes over the next 2 years as country decides on whether to change flag

FILE - In this March 3, 2014 file photo, Victor Gizzi, left, and David Moginie, managers at flag manufacturer Flagmakers, pose next to flags of New Zealand, left, and Australia, in their factory near Wellington, New Zealand. New Zealand’s government announced Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014 that it will hold two national votes over the next two years to determine whether the country will change its flag. The government of the South Pacific nation revealed details of its timetable and plans for a referendum on the national symbol. Next year, voters will choose their favorite alternative flag from among several options. In 2016, they’ll vote on whether the alternative that wins should replace the current flag. (AP Photo/Nick Perry, File)

FILE - In this March 3, 2014 file photo, Victor Gizzi, left, and David Moginie, managers at flag manufacturer Flagmakers, pose next to flags of New Zealand, left, and Australia, in their factory near Wellington, New Zealand. New Zealand’s government announced Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014 that it will hold two national votes over the next two years to determine whether the country will change its flag. The government of the South Pacific nation revealed details of its timetable and plans for a referendum on the national symbol. Next year, voters will choose their favorite alternative flag from among several options. In 2016, they’ll vote on whether the alternative that wins should replace the current flag. (AP Photo/Nick Perry, File)  (The Associated Press)

New Zealand will hold two national votes over the next two years to determine whether it will change its flag.

The government of the South Pacific nation revealed its timetable Wednesday for a referendum on the national symbol. Next year, voters will choose their favorite alternative flag from among several options. In 2016, they'll vote on whether the alternative that wins should replace the current flag.

Some in New Zealand consider the current flag to be an unwanted relic from a colonial past and too similar to Australia's flag. Others, including many combat veterans, feel a deep attachment to it.

The current flag features the Southern Cross star constellation in the field and Britain's Union Jack in the canton, or top left corner.