The New York Times has thrown its weight behind a change to the New Zealand flag.

Yesterday's editorial, titled "Maybe One Less Union Jack'' backs Prime Minister John Key's stance for a different flag design.

''(The) flag proclaims New Zealand as a South Pacific outpost of the British Empire, which is precisely why Mr Key wants to abandon it,'' the piece said.

"He thinks it shackles his country to its colonial past and is unrepresentative of the racial and cultural diversity of 21st-century New Zealand.


"Those on Mr. Key's side argue, too, that their flag is nondescript and derivative; it looks very much like Australia's flag, for which it is often mistaken.''

Mr Key has said he favoured the design of a silver fern on a black background.

According to a Herald-DigiPoll earlier this week, a majority of New Zealanders did not believe it was time to change the national flag.

But if a new flag was chosen in a public referendum, the silver fern was by far the most popular design, the poll showed.

Read: Kiwis back Union Jack flag

Asked if they felt the time had come for New Zealand to design a new flag for itself, 52.6 per cent of those surveyed said "No'' and 40.6 per cent said "Yes''.

The New York Times' article also pointed to a New Zealand Herald editorial, which urged Mr Key not to leave momentous aesthetic decisions in the hands of a committee of politicians, but to a panel of vexillologists, artists and designers.

Editorial: Key needs to be bolder on flag change


"That makes sense. For practitioners of vexillology - the study of flags - an opportunity like this does not come often, and they are surely eager to make the most of it,'' the New York Times said