New Zealand's acting prime minister has accused Australia of copying his country's national flag and demanded that Australians come up with their own design.
"We had a flag that we've had for a long time, copied by Australia, and they should actually change their flag and honour the fact that we got there first with this design," Winston Peters told broadcaster TVNZ on Wednesday.
Peters is serving as acting premier while Jacinda Ardern is on a six-week maternity leave following the birth of her daughter in June.
The New Zealand flag was adopted in 1902, while Australia adopted its current flag design in 1954 - more than 50 years later - but after going through three previous iterations since the first 1901 design.
The design and colour of the two flags are similar in appearance and are often confused. Both are a "defaced blue ensign" - a blue field with the stars of the southern cross and the Union Jack in the upper left corner.
The Kiwi flag has four red stars, while the Australian flag has five white stars and another large "Commonwealth star."
Two years ago, New Zealand spent about US$18mn to hold a referendum on changing its flag, but the government's push to change the design fell flat, with 56.6% voting to stick with the current flag.
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