John Key hears Justin Bieber's flag plea
Pop star Justin Bieber has made a plea to the Prime Minister for New Zealand to keep its current flag.
"Hey John Key this is Justin Bieber here, I don't mean any disrespect at all I just want to say that I love the flag how it is and I would really appreciate if you didn't change it," Bieber said in a video played to Mr Key on the Paul Henry programme today.
"I know I'm from Canada and we changed our flag a while ago, but it was a long time ago."
However, Mr Key said Bieber didn't actually know Canada had changed its flag until recording the video for the Paul Henry programme.
Though, the Prime Minister acknowledged it did happen long before the singer was born, which was the "whole point".
"When we change the flag and we have one of those beautiful new ones, there will be a whole generation of New Zealanders that won't know had an old one, but what they will know is that they're so proud of that new flag."
Mr Key admitted quite liking Bieber's music and said he had tried to crush him "gently" given his legion of social media followers.
"He's great at singing, he's not quite so good at vexillology."
Canada changed to its current maple leaf flag in 1965, from one depicting the union jack and a coat of arms.
A referendum to rate five possible New Zealand flags – three with silver ferns, a koru flag and red peak one – takes place between November 20 and December 11.
Another referendum in March will pit the top-ranked design against the current flag.