New Zealand PM John Key
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key wants a new national flag with a link to native culture Reuters

New Zealand's prime minister has started flexing his muscle by launching a bid to ditch the country's flag for its connection to Great Britain.

John Key wants the Antipodean country to adopt the silver fern on a black background, as made famous by the nation's all-conquering rugby union team.

His radical idea comes soon after Scotland voted on the possibility of shedding its own ties with Great Britain in last week's independence referendum.

But, according to polls, changing New Zealand's flag is even more unpopular with Kiwis than breaking up the UK was with Scottish voters, as 72% of people opposed ditching the current flag for a Union badge in the top left.

Nonetheless, Key told a local radio station: "I'd like to get on with it, to me I'd like to do it as a 2015 issue. I'm obviously a big supporter of the change. I think there are a lot of strong arguments in favour of the change."

Key - a centre-right politician - returned to power for a third term as prime minister in a recent election.

Advocates of the change claim New Zealand's flag gets frequently mixed up with Australia's, due to the presence of the Union's emblem and stars on a blue background.