New Zealand has put forward a serious charge of Australia


Winston Peters, the acting prime minister of New Zealand, has taken another swipe at Australia, accusing it of "copying" the New Zealand flag.

The politician is sure that the re-design will help to restore the uniqueness of the New Zealand flag.

Both New Zealand and Australian flags are dark blue with the Union Jack emblem in the top right corner - the Australian version has six white stars, while New Zealand's has four red stars.

Peters, who is New Zealand's acting prime minister, seized upon this when asked by Television New Zealand why he opposed former prime minister John Key's referendums for New Zealand to change its flag.

Before 1901, New Zealand was considered a colony of Australia, and its name even appeared on the Australian Constitution. The only difference is New Zealand's design features four red stars, while Australia's is adorned by six white ones - a similarity that often causes confusion over the identify of the flags.

After the failed referendum, it seemed that the flag drama between the two countries had perhaps cooled down.

Around that time, New Zealand opted against becoming an Australian state; however visa arrangements allow citizens to easily travel and work in either country. And, according to the New York Times, at least 60 percent of those sent back to New Zealand in recent years identify as Maori and Pacific Islander. More New Zealanders are now in immigration detention in Australia than people from any other country.

In an interview with ABC earlier this month, New Zealand Justice Minister Andrew Little said Australia's deportation policy and treatment of certain New Zealanders is "certainly not consistent with any humanitarian ideals that I thought both countries once shared".

"They never raised with me changing the Australian flag".

New Zealand flag 50 years older than the Australian, he was admitted in 1902.

The two flags have sometimes been mixed up on public occasions.

It is a common belief among New Zealanders that their flag design was stolen by Australia.

An additional fifth star, with only five points, completes the constellation.