Fewer than 50 per cent of New Zealanders voted for a new flag design - but Prime Minister John Key believes there is support for change.
Key, speaking to the Herald just before he went into to chat to Newstalk ZB's Leighton Smith, said the issue was important for the country.
"I don't think it's a legacy project for me, I think it's an important issue for New Zealand."
Key was speaking the day after official results showed Kyle Lockwood's silver fern flag with black, white and blue won the first round of the flag referendum.
He said Canada wouldn't remember the Prime Minister who changed their flag back in 1965, "but they can certainly remember the flag changed".
"I certainly hope we change, and I think that if we do change to the fern flag, I think we will use it and it will be an international flag that is known.
"That's really important from a New Zealand point of view."
Mr Key thinks the chosen design has a good chance of taking on the current flag once people get over their natural gut reaction against change.
"I just can't help but wonder whether as people get used to it, they see it, they realise actually it's quite similar to the old flag, but it effectively has the fern, it's instantly recognisable, it's the symbol we've used around the world."
He said despite the cost of the referendum it was better than the alternative of just changing the flag without giving the public a say.
When it comes to the argument of men fighting and dying under the current flag Mr Key said a new flag would not erase the values these men held dear.
He added many of these men were buried under graves decorated with the silver fern.
Mr Key said he'd already met people who'd once been adamant they wanted the current flag to remain and were now looking to change it.
"I think it [the flag] will grow it's own momentum."
He said if the flag didn't change now, it might be the last chance for many years.
Key also spoke on climate change saying while he accepted it was an issue he was doubtful it would get as dire as predicted.
"I accept that climate change is a significant issue...the scientific advice is that by 2100, 85 years from now the temperature will rise by five and a half degrees, maybe as much as 10.
"My point would be it's not going to get there."
He said half of New Zealand's emissions came from animals in the agricultural sector, when it came to oil, we were 80 per cent renewable when it came to energy generation.
He said in ten years it was likely that everyone would be driving an electric car which would have zero emissions.