When four alternative flag options were unveiled last year, many were surprised a white fern on a plain black background wasn't included.
It was sidelined because the Flag Consideration Panel thought it was too aligned with the All Blacks and other sports teams.
We can reveal a third of Kiwis wanted the design in the mix for November's first flag referendum, based on new figures in our Newshub/Reid Research poll.
That's more support than the winning alternative design, which only received 31 percent support in the same Newshub poll.
It's more bad news for the Prime Minister's project, which hasn't gained widespread traction, despite huge publicity campaigns.
Mr Key claims support is building, citing Newshub's previous polls which show opposition dropping from 69 percent in September last year, to 65 percent in November, to 61 percent last week.
But he's running out of time, with the final referendum beginning on March fourth.