Outcome of New Zealand Flag Change
By majority vote of 56.6% against the flag change, and 43.2% for the flag change, it was decided by public referendum in 2016 to keep the original New Zealand flag.
Background of Proposed Flag Change
In 2015 it was decided that many New Zealanders believed it was time for a flag change. The current flag of New Zealand was thought to no longer adequately represent our country - who we are and what we stand for.
Around the world, many people do not know where New Zealand is, and believe it to be a state of Australia. Our flag is very similar to the Australian flag, and even though the New Zealand flag was designed first - adopted in 1902, the New Zealand flag is often and easily mistaken for the Australian flag.
Although under New Zealand law, the government has the right to change the flag by simple majority of Parliament, it was decided that New Zealanders should have the final say. In 2015, the National Party, under the leadership of Prime Minister John Key, undertook 2 referendums across New Zealand. Kiwis were invited to submit their flag designs, and the government picked the top 4 - later changed to 5 - flags that New Zealand voters could then choose between.
The first referendum in 2015 decided which of these new flags was the most favoured. The second referendum in 2016, decided whether Kiwis wanted to keep the original flag, or the favoured new flag.
Result of the 2016 Flag Referendum
The result of the 2016 flag change referendum was:
Keep the Original New Zealand Flag
Total Votes: 1,208,702
Change to the New Design Silver Fern Flag
Total Votes: 921,876
The result confirmed that the majority of New Zealand - at 56.6% - wanted to keep the original flag. 43.2% of New Zealand wanted the flag change to the Silver Fern flag.http://www.electionresults.govt.nz/2016_flag_referendum2/
What was the Cost of the Proposed Flag Change?
Even though the new flag change did not go ahead, the cost to New Zealand was estimated at around $25 million dollars. This was spread between public consultation costs, and holding the two postal referendums that allowed kiwis to have their say.