15 Mar 2016

Double the votes in second flag referendum

11:26 am on 15 March 2016

Turnout in the second flag referendum is more than double that of the first, at the same point in the process.

The proposed flag, left, sits alongside the current flag.

The second referendum determines whether the current New Zealand flag remains or the Silver Fern design takes over. Photo: RNZ

The first referendum, held in November, allowed people to chose a flag design from five to be pitched against the current flag in the binding second vote, which will decide New Zealand's future flag.

At the end of the first week of voting in the current referendum, 1,183,670 have cast their ballot, compared with 587,821 at the same point in the first referendum. Voter turnout for the first referendum was 48.78 percent.

The latest UMR research poll, of 750 people from 25-29 February, showed 59 percent wanted to keep the current flag, 32 percent voted to change it and 9 percent were not sure.

That's despite the alternative flag flying at more than 250 sites nationwide, including on the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

The government is estimated to have spent $26 million on the flag change project, and Prime Minister John Key is firmly in the change camp.

Initially there were four alternative choices but public pressure following a vocal social media campaign led to a fifth option being included. But that design, Red Peak, failed to fire in the first referendum, finishing third out of the five.

Voting closes on 24 March, with a preliminary result available that evening.


The five flag choices from the first referendum. Photo: RNZ

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