The five alternative New Zealand flag options could be flown in Wanganui ahead of the first flag referendum.

Wanganui mayor Annette Main wants to see all five alternative flags flying after an approach from the Flag Consideration Panel.

Other councils, including Wellington, are doing the same.

Ms Main said the council just needed to find an appropriate spot with five flag poles.


"Absolutely we'd like to be able to do it."

She said it wasn't about favouring a flag but the referendum was a process the community would be participating in and it was appropriate to put the options on show.

Meanwhile Palmerston North mayor Grant Smith reportedly declined to fly the flag in The Square, saying it was about being neutral. Two referendums are to be held on the flag. The first, to be held later this year, will ask voters to rank five alternative flag designs chosen by the Flag Consideration Panel, while the second will ask voters to choose between the top-ranked of the five designs and the current flag.

And a survey has found rich male university graduates and Wellingtonians are the only groups showing any sympathy for changing the New Zealand flag.

The postal survey of 838 people was part of an international social survey. Auckland University sociologist Dr Barry Milne said a question on the flag was added to test whether attitudes on it were related to other political attitudes and socio-economic status.

Surprisingly, he found that support for changing the flag was strongest among people with right-wing views on other issues and among people on lower incomes - even though people on lower incomes generally support left-wing parties.

Support for change was also stronger among men (16 per cent) than among women (8 per cent).

But the survey matched other polls in finding a strong majority overall (61 per cent) against change, while 27 per cent said it "depends on the design" and just 12 per cent supported changing the flag on principle.

"There was not a single group bar one, which is male university-educated high-earners where it's touch and go, that's in favour of a flag change," Dr Milne said.

Support for change increased with household income from 9 per cent of people in homes earning below $40,000 a year to 24 per cent in homes on more than $150,000. But even in that top group, 44 per cent favoured the current flag and 31 per cent said it would depend on the design.

There was a similar gradation with education, with support for change rising from 4 per cent of those with no qualifications to 16 per cent of the university-educated.

Majorities supported the current flag in all regions except Wellington, which also had the highest median income and the highest share of university graduates in the 2013 Census. Even there 42 per cent favoured the current flag, with 17 per cent backing a change in principle and 41 per cent saying it would depend on the design.

Surprisingly, support for change in principle was lowest among young voters aged 18 to 25 (9 per cent) and rose with each age group up to those aged 46-65 (14 per cent), dropping back to 13 per cent over 65.

By ethnicity, none of the 18 Pacific people in the sample supported change in principle, compared with 12 per cent of both Maori and Europeans and 13 per cent of Asians.

And even though the poor and less educated tend to vote for left-wing parties, support for change was much stronger among those who placed themselves on the "right" (17 per cent) than on the "left" (10 per cent).