The truth behind the latest flag referendum conspiracy theory

The truth behind the latest flag referendum conspiracy theory

There's nothing sinister in the layout of the second flag referendum voting paper, despite a conspiracy theory circulating the internet, the Electoral Commission says.

It's a simple piece of paper with a very important question: "What is your choice for the New Zealand flag?" and has the alternative blue and black silver fern flag placed above the current flag.

Posts on social media have criticised the placement of the flags, claiming it could give the Kyle Lockwood-designed flag an advantage and making it more likely people will tick its box.

The truth behind the latest flag referendum conspiracy theory


But the Electoral Commission says the order of the flags was determined by a random draw as required by the Flag Referendums Act and was witnessed by a district court judge.

Around 3,153,000 voting forms are making their way across the country, with postal voting open until March 24, however it is recommended the papers are posted back by March 21 to ensure it is received in time.

The form also has a QR code on it which enables voters' names to be marked off the electoral roll when the papers are returned and also keeping the secrecy of the ballot.

That code is also required by law to identify any cases of dual voting.

For those wanting to put a little more than just a tick on their form could be making their vote invalid or informal and not count.

The latter is defined as the paper not clearly indicating the voter's choice of preferred flag. Invalid votes are ones which are received after voting closes, where someone has voted more than once or if the paper is damaged in a way that it can't be processed.

The Electoral Commission says to make sure each voter's choice is clear, they need to follow the instructions on the voting paper and tick which design they want to be the New Zealand flag.

Preliminary results for the binding referendum are expected at 7pm on March 24, with the final result on March 30 after all votes have been processed.