Prime Minister John Key says he favours a silver fern for New Zealand's flag.

Mr Key drew his preferred flag for TV One's Breakfast show this morning and picked a silver fern.

"I actually think it looks magnificent on a flag pole ... The simplicity works well for branding New Zealand, like the maple leaf for Canada and Japan's rising sun," he said.

The silver fern, already used by sports teams and recognised worldwide, would bring the country together, he said.

But the Government had no plans to change the flag at this time, he said.

Last Thursday, the Herald began a debate on getting a new flag for New Zealand, and found half of the country's order of merit members thought it was time for a change.

The Herald spoke to 18 of New Zealand's 22 order of merit members. Eleven said it was time for a new flag, five said it was not, one was unsure and another declined to give an opinion.

Former All Black captain Sir Brian Lochore said there was already a de facto national flag the silver fern that people recognised from international sporting events.

"Our flag is too much like Australia's and most people in the world don't know the difference.

"We should take notice of what people do who support us. The people have been giving us a message about the flag they want."

Last week, Mr Key said a new flag was "not on our agenda" and the Government had more important things to do.

"I think the thing with the flag is that it is a very emotional issue for a variety of reasons," Mr Key said.

"For the Government to set its focus on whether we need a new New Zealand flag I think would be a very foolish thing to do when you are trying to deal with big international economic issues."

- NZ HERALD STAFF