New Zealand's preference for the Black, White and Blue Silver Fern flag has been met with delight and despair on social media, with politicians and the public expressing their views on whether it's a success or flop.
The flag designed by Kyle Lockwood has been voted as the design to be put against the existing New Zealand flag at a referendum next year.
The Black, White and Blue design secured 50.53 percent of the preliminary results of the final votes, announced last night.
But this was only slightly ahead of the second-placed Lockwood design, which got 49.47 percent. A final result will not be confirmed until later in the week.
People have taken to social media to share their thoughts on the results, with some saying they "love" the preferred flag, while others said it was "embarrassing" New Zealanders had voted for it.
1.1 million votes for Kyle Lockwood options on first preferences. People 1, vexillologists and assorted self proclaimed experts, 0. #nzflag— Christopher Bishop (@cjsbishop) December 11, 2015
The feeling I have to the Lockwood design winning over #redpeak is the same feeling any sane person would get if Trump won the presidency— Taylorr (@dtspace) December 11, 2015
Some people were outraged at the decision, surprised the "cartoon-fern" flag was chosen, and said if it was to represent New Zealand in the future it would make the country look like a "start up company".
Seriously?THAT is the flag we chose? We're now on course to look like a start up company selling cut price rash suits instead of a country— Greg Boyed (@GregBoyed) December 11, 2015
Dear New Zealanders, Please, PLEASE vote in the next referendum so I don't have to sing our anthem in front of cartoon-fern-flag. #NZflag— Lizzie Marvelly (@LizzieMarvelly) December 11, 2015
Donna Pearman wrote on Facebook that she hasn't "been this ashamed of our nation's lack of taste since Air New Zealand revealed the current uniforms".
"Who voted for this? It looks like the Briscoes Lady and the Flight Centre guy got together over a 'dry white wine' to create a cheap corporate logo. Question: is this flag to be printed on cotton or polar fleece?
"As Simon Pound said: 'Can you imagine changing the national anthem and having no musicians?' That is what we did here. We tried to change the flag with no-one with a clue about flags or design anywhere in the mix and we got exactly what we deserved."
For some New Zealanders, it was a lost opportunity and for others the entire process was a waste of taxpayers' money. The government has spent $26 million on the process, including consultation and the referendum.
Flag ain't gonna change. Such waste. At least if they'd *literally* burned the $26m it would have kept someone warm for a bit. #nzflag— Rob Salmond (@rsalmond) December 11, 2015
wtf, seriously?! Is NZ lacking taste? No way I am voting for the new flag, stupid and ugly! come on NZ, lets kick John Key out for wasting $— Mark Berry (@tweetsfrommark) December 11, 2015
Journalist Mike McRoberts took the announcement as an opportunity to call on the government to accept more Syrian refugees.
Speaking to reporters outside Auckland airport this morning, Prime Minister John Key said he was "delighted" by the frontrunner choice.
Watch as I outline why I think we should change the flag and tackle some of the arguments against change. http://t.co/PweOTwEsz2— John Key (@johnkeypm) August 13, 2015
There were 10,292 designs submitted and the top four flags were selected by the Flag Consideration Project.
Three designs depicting the Silver Fern made the final cut, which also included a flag with a koru design and another called Red Peak, which was added to the final selection after a social media campaign.
The final results won't be in until Tuesday, and could easily change to the Silver Fern (Red, White and Blue) design securing first place.
The winning flag will then go head-to-head against the current flag in a referendum in March.
Some are pinning all their hopes on the second referendum and are urging New Zealanders to vote to ensure the flag doesn't change.
That makes the vote at the next referendum easy. I wanted a better flag, not just a different flag. #RedPeak— Andrew W (@aw_nz) December 11, 2015
I look forward to voting the hell out of that flag in March. #nzflag— Bayden Harris (@BaydenHarris) December 11, 2015
Well, that settles it, old flag, you've got this in the bag. #nzflag— Lizzie Marvelly (@LizzieMarvelly) December 11, 2015