Any NZ name change should be up to the public - Collins

Source: 1News

National Party leader Judith Collins says any change of the country's name should be up to the public.

"Before a name of the country is changed, New Zealanders should get a chance to say whether or not they agree with it," she said. 

"If you really want to change the name... put it on the ballot box," Collins said to the Government, adding that a referendum at an election would be a "good idea". 

It comes after a 1News Colmar Brunton poll on Tuesday revealed Kiwis' preferences over changing New Zealand's official name to Aotearoa.

The public were asked, 'What do you think the country should officially be called?'. More than half of the respondents voted to keep the name New Zealand at 58 per cent.

Others opted for Aotearoa to be in the mix at 41 per cent. Looking further into that figure reveals just 9 per cent of people wanted to replace the name New Zealand entirely with Aotearoa. A further 31 per cent wanted to see a double-barreled name - Aotearoa New Zealand.

"My personal preference is for New Zealand, but I can certainly live with Aotearoa New Zealand," Collins said. 

"I believe that before a name of the country is changed, New Zealanders should get a chance to say whether or not they agree with it, so a referendum at the end of the election would be a good idea."

She added: "If the Government thought that cannabis was worthy of a referendum, I figure the name of a country is as well."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern earlier voice her preference for using both names and hoped the country would follow suit.

"For me, I’d like to continue to see it used interchangeably and therefore whether or not there needs to be an official name change really becomes a bit of a moot point, because it just becomes part of the way we refer to our country," she said. 

It comes after the Māori Party launched a petition earlier this month calling on Parliament to change New Zealand's name to Aotearoa