A slight change in the Hindi translation of flag referendum instructions is “misleading”, claim NZ First. Therefore, party leader Winston Peters has called for all votes from Hindi-speaking people to be nullified. The pamphlet titled ‘How to vote’ accompanies the ballot papers, and sets out the first step in English: “Tick the flag you want to be the New Zealand flag”. However, the Hindi translation reads: “Tick the flag you want to be the new New Zealand flag” – the word ‘new’ had been inserted.
Peters believed the wording was an attempt to manipulate the vote towards the Prime Minister’s flag preference. “It can’t be a mistake. The fact of the matter is that this is a deliberate manipulation. And it’s not the first time,” said Peters. “For example, the first flag on the voting paper is not our flag, the existing flag. No, it’s the new one.
“What it does mean is…even though the Hindi voters are totally innocent, we can’t surely count this vote now.”
There are more than 60,000 Hindi speakers in New Zealand, according to the 2013 census. NZ First would now be checking all other voting instruction translations.