Green Party MP Gareth Hughes is refusing to fly the Red Peak flag at half mast just yet.

The Red Peak placed third in yesterday's first referendum preliminary results.

This means it has little chance of going up against the existing national flag in the second voting round in March.

Hughes was instrumental in getting Aaron Dustin's popular design added to the referendum when he tried to table a bill in Parliament backing it in September.

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He thinks the Red Peak is here to stay.

"I believe the public will vote to stick with the current national flag and this whole debate will come up again," he said. "Other countries have found it can take several attempts and many years to get a change of flag and the same thing could happen in New Zealand.

"Red Peak still gathered significant public support. It finished a respectable third choice and I am proud of the result."

Hughes believed the Red Peak design will continue to grow in popularity and it is still a viable option to become the new national flag of New Zealand.

"Half of the people did not bother to vote in the referendum, anyway, which means the whole existing process has to be called into question," he said. "Red Peak still has a strong future."