New Zealand prime minister mulls referendum on changing flag

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key on Wednesday raised the possibility of holding a national referendum on changing the national flag to one that would not easily be confused with that of Australia, according to local media.

"I'd like to see a change," Key told reporters.

He said the former British colony's current flag, which features a Union Jack in the upper left-hand corner just like that of Australia, as well as other similarities, "sometimes gets confused with the Australian flag" in international circles.

Key said changing it to something like a silver fern on a black background -- his personal preference -- would be "part of the modern new look of New Zealand."

"In my view, the silver fern is something which is applied to our greatest sporting teams...It has international recognition and cache," he said.

Players of New Zealand's national rugby team, the All Blacks, wear a silver fern on their black jerseys, for example.

Key said he would consult with his senior ministers on whether to pursue the matter, and would not rule out a referendum on it as part of this year's general election.