Flag result a failure for PM and lost opportunity for NZ

The flag referendum result is a major failure for the Prime Minister who politicised the process and cost New Zealand an opportunity to change the current flag, the Green Party says.

“The Green Party thanks the two million or so New Zealanders who participated in the flag referendum and acknowledges that those who voted for the alternative flag will be disappointed tonight,” Green Party C- leader Metiria Turei said.

“John Key’s overt campaigning for his favourite flag tainted the referendum from the outset and cost all New Zealanders the opportunity to get a new flag.

“This result is a major defeat for John Key and its a lost opportunity for all of us.

“Lots of New Zealanders support a change of flag but voted for the current one because the Prime Minister’s interference ensured they weren’t given a proper choice.

“John Key alienated people by politicising the process and attacking those who didn’t like his choice of flag.

“The Prime Minister needs to accept that opposition to all the fern designs wasn’t because people didn’t like him - they didn’t like the three, similar fern flags.

“The Green Party attempted to make the process better by negotiating to get a fifth choice – Red Peak – on the ballot.

“We hope that the number of people who participated in the referendum bodes well for a broader conversation about New Zealand’s constitutional arrangements in the near future," Mrs Turei said.