Key has advocated for changing the flag since 2014. In May 2015, a 12-person panel allowed anyone to submit a design for a new flag. Over 10,000 submissions were received, which were narrowed down to 40 and then down to four. A controversial fifth option was added to the final lineup at the very last minute by popular demand.

Last December, the question was put to the people: Which of these designs would you like to have if New Zealand does decide to change its flag? Silver Fern won by just a hair, with 50.58% of the vote. But that ended up being beside the point: the results from the latest referendum show most people are content to keep the flag as it is.

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