The formal process for the New Zealand public to consider the national flag has been announced.
The Flag Consideration Project will.include a roadshow, community meetings and engagement hui as well as avenues made available for online participation.
The meetings will begin on Saturday the 16th of May in Christchurch and points of discussion at the hui will regard what the flag should signify about New Zealand.
According to the Flag Consideration Panel, two postal referendums will be held by the government and the process is subject to legislation currently processing through Parliament. It is proposed that one will be held this year and another will be held next year in which voters will be asked to rank a shortlist of four flag alternatives.
The choice will be between the current New Zealand Flag or to change to the preferred alternative determined by the first referendum.
The government announced the estimated cost of the process over two years would be $25.7 million. It said, "most of the cost in is holding two postal referendums ($17.3m) and public consultation ($6.7m). To have a process which is seen as legitimate, and for the outcome to endure, it is important to do it properly."
Flag Consideration Panel chair, Emeritus Professor John Burrows says whether the flag is changed or not this will be the first time in history the public has had the opportunity to discuss options and have a say in the future of the New Zealand flag.
He says, “it is important that we, the Panel, provide as many opportunities as possible for New Zealanders to get involved. Anyone can attend a community workshop, hold their own discussion or share their thoughts online.”