Published Wednesday, 21 May 2014
Basil McCrea and John McCallister formed NI21 after leaving the UUP. (© Pacemaker)
The party on Wednesday said it wanted to clear up any confusion over the issue ahead of this week's European and local council elections.
However the change in designation appears to have led to a disagreement between party leader Basil McCrea and deputy leader John McCallister, with Mr McCallister criticising the move.
In Wednesday's News Letter newspaper, he branded the decision "crazy" and said that it showed how "dysfunctional" the party had become.
In response, a statement from NI21's party Executive explained: "We have been aware for some time that the party's initial decision to designate as 'Unionist' is confusing for the electorate.
"Our experience on the door, suggests that although the issue is confusing it is relatively unimportant. The vast majority of the electorate are more concerned with jobs, mortgages, the health service and making ends meet.
"Our stance on the constitutional issue is clear; we are a Northern Irish party that believes the people of Northern Ireland are better off within the United Kingdom but we feel strongly that the labels of the last century are sectarian and prevent us building a common future.
"Our decision to declare as 'other' therefore more accurately reflects our position."
Mr McCrea told UTV he was "a little disappointed" with Mr McCallister's comments.
"It was news to me whenever he went to the News Letter; I didn't know he was going to talk about those things.
"Obviously that gives us some things that when the elections are over, we are going to need to talk about.
"The party is bigger than one or two individuals."
The local and European elections take place on Thursday.
© UTV News