The results are in for the final referendum for changing New Zealand’s flag, and it looks like about 57% of votes were for the status quo. Consequently, New Zealand will not be changing its flag for the foreseeable future.
Given how the polling has been going for the last few months, this wasn’t a huge surprise. What I find a little disappointing is how partisan politics had started to take over the process. It would seem that many on the left opposed the change because it was an initiative promoted by John Key, which combined with the fact the right are more likely to want to support the current flag helped contribute to the flag change being defeated.
Having said that, there was more than just partisanship behind this result. The final 4 (which became 5) flag designs were very samey, and having two near-identical designs in a list of 5 was utterly ridiculous. So as much as I am frustrated by people who voted against the flag change to get back at a Prime Minister no one will remember 20 years from now, I can understand why a lot of people who wanted a flag change decided not to vote for the options we were given.
Honestly, I wonder if the entire process was misguided from the beginning. A committee was unlikely to produce an inspiring set of options, and a popular vote was practically guaranteed to produce something generic. In any case, this vote has likely put the flag issue to rest for decades at least.