NZ flag referendum likely next year - John Key

Prime Minister John Key has pointed to a likely referendum on the New Zealand flag in 2015.

New Zealand flag. Source: 1 NEWS

The surprising remarks were made this morning. Mr Key had previously indicated a non-binding vote on the flag was likely only "before 2017".

"I'd like to get on with it, to me I'd like to do it as a 2015 issue," Mr Key told Radio Live.

"I'm obviously a big supporter of the change, I think there are a lot of strong arguments in favour of the change."

Mr Key had previously told Victoria University in March a cross-parliamentary working group would recommend the best way to hold the referendum.

"We want a design that says 'New Zealand', whether it's stiched on a Kiwi traveller's backpack outside a bar in Croatia, on a flagpole outside the United Nations, or standing in a Wellington southerly on top of the Beehive every working day."

By law the flag can be changed by parliamentary majority but the Prime Minister says it is a decision for all Kiwis.