New Zealanders decide not to change their flag
New Zealand's flag will not change, a referendum has decided.
The existing national flag won 56.6 per cent of the vote, compared to 43.2 per cent for the silver fern flag the New Zealand Herald reports.
The total number of votes received was 2,124,507 - a turnout of 67.3 per cent.
Is it time for Australia to ditch the Union Jack and create a new flag?
This poll ended on 25 March 2016.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
Of those, just 0.23 per cent were informal votes and 0.21 per cent were invalid votes.
Prime Minister John Key says he is disappointed with the flag result and that the National Government will not revisit the issue under his leadership.
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
Mr Key, speaking to reporters at Auckland Airport this evening, said he respected New Zealand's choice of flag.
He took some positives from the result, pointing out that nearly 1 million people will have voted for change by the time the final results came in.
Mr Key also defended the process, saying it was lengthy and considered.
Asked whether the referendum process had been worth $26 million given it led to no change, he said it had sparked an "enormous", healthy debate across the country.
"You can't shy away from a debate or a discussion about nationhood," he said.
Just because the referendum did not produce the outcome he wanted "doesn't mean it wasn't a worthwhile process".
"We ... as a country had a nationwide discussion about our flag, about nationhood, about what we stand for," Mr Key said.
"And I think that's been an important discussion we not only should have had, but must always have.
"I don't think we should shy away from ... contentious issues just because they are by nature contentious."
Mr Key said he would now be supporting the current flag.
"What this process has shown over the last three or four months is that we as a country can get out and fly our flag.
"We can use it, and we can show the world how proud we are of New Zealand.
"So my only request to New Zealanders now would be to rally behind the flag that's been chosen by the majority of New Zealanders.
"To go out and use it, to wave it, to be proud of it, and to celebrate the fact that we've got an amazing country."
Not even an hour after the referendum result was announced, 61 Kyle Lockwood flags are up for sale on TradeMe. However, many appear to be long-running auctions by official flag sellers.