New Zealand has voted to keep its current flag
by a margin of 57% to 43% in a nationwide
More than two million people voted in the ballot to decide
whether to keep the British Union Jack on their flag or replace
it with a silver fern.
The current flag has been the national symbol since 1902. It
was up against a new design which was chosen more than
10,000 entries submitted by the public.
Those advocating change argued that the flag was a relic of the
nation's colonial past and too similar to Australia's flag.
But the alternative design failed to gain the momentum it
needed to win. Some said it looked garish, a design better
suited to a beach towel, while others said the whole process
was politically motivated.
The vote had been pushed for by Prime Minister John Key,
who was an eager proponent of change. But some saw the
endeavour as an effort by him to create a legacy. Others were
put off by the cost - 26 million New Zealand dollars (£12.3
In the end, the vote represented a rare political defeat for Mr
Key, who has won three straight elections and led the country
for eight years.