After a nearly yearlong process that involved two national referendums and that cost taxpayers US$17.6 million, New Zealanders have finally voted to hold on to the flag their country has been flying for 114 years. Results from the final poll show that over 56.6% of Kiwis are in favor of keeping the colonial-era design, which features the Union Jack, over the alternative by architectural designer Kyle Lockwood, which features a silver fern — widely considered a national symbol.
The pretty anti-climactic results arrive after a lengthy and historic campaign spearheaded by Prime Minister John Key, whose Flag Consideration Project officially kicked off last year. An open call for potential redesigns had received many tasteful silver fern and koru-adorned flags but also some fantastic Microsoft Paint-based masterpieces, including an infamous kiwi shooting laser beams from its eyes.
“Obviously I’m a bit disappointed there was no change but nearly a million people voted for change,” Key said. “Just because it’s not the outcome I wanted doesn’t mean it wasn’t a worthwhile process.”
Sorry, Key, better luck next time — although considering the price-tag of this process, a push for a new flag may be far off in the distant future. As somewhat of a consolation prize, perhaps, at least one of those new banknotes, which many considered over-designed, has been nominated for the International Banknote Society’s Banknote of the Year.
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