As anticipated, the country voted overwhelmingly to keep the current flag.

The preliminary results of the second flag referendum, announced last week, showed 56.6 per cent of New Zealand - 1,200,003 voters - wanted to keep the current flag.

Bay of Plenty was among only six electorates which voted with a slight majority for change - with 18,197 or 51.4 per cent voting for the Silver Fern flag,

The overall result had been widely predicted and, in my view, there were an array of reasons why the country stuck with the status quo.


Some believed a flag change would be disrespectful to those who fought for their country, others became disenchanted with the process or did not like the Kyle Lockwood design.

I found the Silver Fern Flag design uninspiring. It lacked the simplicity of say, the Canadian flag.

The process too, in my view, left a lot to be desired. From the outset, the bid to change the flag has been closely linked to Prime Minister John Key, who early on announced his preference for the silver fern.

The fact three of the shortlisted designs featured the silver fern - and that the only difference between two is the use of the colour black instead of red - created the impression that people were being guided to a favoured outcome.

Like many others, I was not opposed to change - and would have supported a flag that I felt represented our country.

However, it was an expensive exercise - costing the country $26 million in total.

Given the result, it is hard to argue with the view that the money would have been better spent on other issues such as addressing child poverty.