New Zealanders have spoken: 57% of Kiwi voters decide to stick to old flag

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.

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:

Quite right!

With inputs from AP

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Updated Date: Mar 24, 2016 16:38:54 IST

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