Pacific

New Zealand will find out Thursday whether flag will change

This undated illustration provided by the New Zealand Government shows a proposed new national flag, Silver Fern (Black, White and Blue) by Kyle Lockwood. New Zealanders will find out Thursday, March 24, 2016, whether they will keep the British Union Jack on their flag or replace it with the silver fern after more than 2 million people voted in a nationwide ballot. Voters were asked to choose between their current flag, which has been the national symbol since 1902, and a new design that was winnowed from more than 10,000 entries submitted by the public. (New Zealand Government via AP)

This undated illustration provided by the New Zealand Government shows a proposed new national flag, Silver Fern (Black, White and Blue) by Kyle Lockwood. New Zealanders will find out Thursday, March 24, 2016, whether they will keep the British Union Jack on their flag or replace it with the silver fern after more than 2 million people voted in a nationwide ballot. Voters were asked to choose between their current flag, which has been the national symbol since 1902, and a new design that was winnowed from more than 10,000 entries submitted by the public. (New Zealand Government via AP)  (The Associated Press)

New Zealanders will find out Thursday whether they will keep the British Union Jack on their flag or replace it with a silver fern after more than 2 million people voted in a nationwide ballot.

Opinion polls indicate the South Pacific nation will choose to stick with its current flag, although proponents for the new design say they have momentum on their side.

Those advocating change say the current flag is a relic of the nation's colonial past and too similar to Australia's flag. Those favoring the status quo say the new design is uninspiring or an attempt by Prime Minister John Key to create a legacy.

Organizers say that deciding the issue by popular vote represents a world first, with other countries changing flags by revolution, decree or legislation.