New Zealand has voted to keep its current flag by 57 percent to 43 percent in a nationwide poll.
More than 2 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 results were announced on Thursday.
The current flag has been the national symbol since 1902. It was up against a new design that was winnowed from more than 10,000 entries submitted by the public.
Those advocating change argued the flag was a relic of the nation's colonial past and too similar to Australia's flag. Those favouring the status quo said the new design was uninspiring or an attempt by Prime Minister John Key to create a legacy.
— Elle Hunt (@mlle_elle) March 24, 2016
A statement issued by Deputy Prime Minister Bill English said:
We have run a robust, democratic process that has allowed us to discuss who we are and how we want to be represented on the world stage.
I acknowledge there will be those who are disappointed with the outcome, but the majority of New Zealanders have spoken and we should all embrace that decision.
This process has engaged Kiwis in their homes, in their schools and in their workplaces, here in New Zealand, and right around the world – it is something we’ve all had a point of view on.
It’s been a good conversation to have – voter turn-out of 2,119, 953 shows how deeply passionate New Zealanders are about their national identity.
This process has been a good debate around patriotism.
Now a flag has been decided I encourage all New Zealanders to use it, embrace it and, more importantly, be proud of it.
The Twitterati, as they tend to, had their own say on the matter. Here's a sample:
New Zealand has voted to retain our current flag. I encourage all NZers to use it, embrace it and, more importantly, be proud of it.
— John Key (@johnkeypm) March 24, 2016
Looks like our commonwealth ties are here to stay. #NZFlag
— TJ (@brownoclock) March 24, 2016
It took something stupid like $26million to decide we are keep the old flag. It's not like that money could help the less fortunate.#NZFlag
— megan teaz (@megan_teaz) March 24, 2016
— Darryl Ward (@darrylward) March 24, 2016
— 51 Days Till LM GWT (@WSpark98NZ) March 24, 2016
— Karori Fry-Up (@troughbuoy) March 24, 2016
I think our future #nzflag should just be the map of NZ. Then every time we see it in the media we'll be like "Look! There we are! Go us!"
— Thom Adams (@ThomedyAdams) March 24, 2016
The real loser here is the rest of the world, who will no longer hear NZers melodious pronunciation of 'the fleg' on the airwaves #nzflag
— Kristin Hall (@kristinhallNZ) March 24, 2016
— David Dunn (@david_dunn) March 24, 2016
— Characters (@1_4_T) March 24, 2016
On to more important things...WE HAVE A FOUR DAY WEEKEND! #nzflag
— Jayde Meech (@JaydeyMeechey) March 24, 2016
With inputs from AP