NZ to keep the flag - officially

The last flag flying
The last flag flying

Kyle Lockwood says he's happy with the outcome of the New Zealand flag referendums despite his design not being chosen by Kiwis.

The final votes have been counted in the flag referendum, but they haven't helped supporters of Mr Lockwood's design.

New Zealand will officially retain its current ensign, with the white flag being flown on the blue and black silver fern.

Preliminary results were announced on Thursday night, with 56.6 percent (1,200,003 votes) preferring the 1902 flag, and 43.2 percent (915,008 votes) favouring the alternative design.

The Electoral Commission tonight released the final results, with the outcome unchanged.

The final count has the current flag still on 56.6 percent, and the alternative on 43.2 percent. The current flag had a few thousand more supporters, ending up with 1,208,702 votes, though Mr Lockwood's support also received a small boost with 921,876 votes.

NZ to keep the flag - officially


Mr Lockwood told Newshub that despite his flag not winning, he was "ecstatic" about the outcome especially given polling before the vote had the margin a lot larger than the final count.

"I'm slightly disappointed, but I think it's been a very passionate debate but I'm still very happy about the result."

He said he didn't take the criticism of his design personally, preferring to focus on the nearly 1 million people who chose it over the current flag.

In all, it's taken two years for us to decide to change nothing at all. Prime Minister John Key wanted a new flag that would unite us as New Zealanders -- something we all chose and could be proud to wave collectively.

"I am proposing that we take one more step in the evolution of modern New Zealand by acknowledging our independence through a new flag," Mr Key said.

His want for modernisation and a flag that represented our Kiwi heritage was often portrayed satirically, most notably by one dubbed 'Laser Kiwi'.

NZ to keep the flag - officially

"The laser beam projects a powerful image of New Zealand. I believe my design is so powerful it does not need to be discussed," said the flag's designer, James Gray.

Then there was Red Peak, which more seriously considered the heritage of New Zealand culture. Suggestive colours told of landscape and Maori mythology and its shape told of the way the country was formed.

NZ to keep the flag - officially


"Designed to reflect powerful and fundamental visual elements from New Zealand culture this flag breaks down multicultural elements into simple, shared forms," Red Peak flag designer, Aaron Dustin.

In the end the silver fern design was voted the best of the bunch, only for it to lose out to the current flag.

"Obviously I'm naturally a little bit disappointed that the flag didn't change tonight," Mr Key said after the preliminary results were announced.

Two years and millions of dollars later, any last hope of change has finally been dashed.