Voters in favour of a flag change have been urged "don't give up yet", after poll results showed only 25 per cent of voters want a change.
A 3 News Reid Research poll released last night showed 25 per cent of people want to change the flag after seeing the four shortlisted options while almost 70 per cent said no. Six per cent did not know.
The four shortlisted flag options were revealed at the start of September and the poll began a week later. The poll of 1000 eligible voters was taken from September 8 to 16 and had a margin of error of +/- 3.1 per cent.
This morning Prime Minister John Key dismissed the poll as "not terribly sophisticated", and urged supporters not to give up on the idea of a new flag.
"With the greatest respect, it's not a terribly sophisticated question because I could produce polls that look close enough to that, when it's a yes or no question," he told TV3's Paul Henry this morning.
"The point is within all of those numbers there will be some people who will say they will never change, there will be some people who say, 'no I'm not going to change', but when you press them they say, 'oh I might change', it depends how it feels on the day."
You could not say the debate was over "from a yes or no question out of 1000 people", he said.
"For a start off, I think it's worth remembering this is a debate that's been going on a very long time, I mean Norman Kirk was talking about changing the flag.
"Secondly, I go to public meetings every week, someone puts up their hand more often than not and says, 'why don't you change to a four year term, everyone else has four year terms'. Very sensible, four years, people don't want elections every three years. We have had two public referendums, they've both lost 66-33.
"My point is, when we embarked on this process - and I still back the process because I think we can get there - there was a huge amount of people saying, 'yes actually I think this is worthy of debate'. So don't give up yet, there's a long way to go."
He recognised it was "always going to be a hard slog to change a flag via a public referendum".
"There's no getting away from the fact that that's difficult, because you've got to get people to engage, to understand the story to look at all the things."
Mr Key was happier with other results of the poll, which showed National's support remains on 47 per cent - level with its 2014 election results and Mr Key remained streets ahead as preferred Prime Minister with 39.5 per cent support - up by 1.2.
"It's seven years on. If you look at that, I've had five Australian prime ministers, goodness knows how many Japanese ones, so to be at that level of support after seven years - and nine years of being leader of the party - is great," he told Paul Henry.
He put the support down to having a plan that was straightforward for people to understand, and said his Government listened to the electorate.
The 3 News Reid Research poll:
Now you have seen the final four flags, do you?
• Want to change the flag: 25 per cent
• Want to keep the current flag: 69 per cent
• Don't know: 6 per cent