Final result a win for Kyle Lockwood, but not for a new flag
Kyle Lockwood is taking the flag referendum as a win, despite losing to the current flag.
The final tally, released on Wednesday afternoon, put Lockwood's silver fern flag at 43.2 per cent (921,876 votes), well behind the 56.6 per cent (1,208,702) for the current flag.
However, prior to the official count being released, Lockwood said having almost a million people vote for his design was amazing.
"There were polls that came out saying it would only get 25 to 30 per cent. To get 43 per cent, I was quite ecstatic about it," he said.
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"It got very close, closer than any one was expecting and it shows that there were a million people that wanted the conversation about changing the flag."
The budget for the process was $25.7 million and the final costs will be confirmed in May.
A handful of countries have changed their flag in recent decades, most notably South Africa in 1994 and Canada in 1965.
In the past 18 months many have criticised the process, and arguments have become heated and often personal.
That hadn't affected Lockwood, though. He said he had enjoyed the process and didn't take any notice of personal criticism.
"Obviously there have been all sorts of reasons people have been talking about it and criticising the design, but all of that is subjective.
"People have been passionate about it - the silver fern and the existing flag - we've had a good discussion on it."
The design was born when Lockwood doodled it in a university class in 2000. In September, two versions of that doodle were short-listed for the first referendum, with the blue-black one coming out top.
After the final results the Crown will relinquish the copyright of the silver fern flag back to Lockwood. He hasn't received any money from the process or from the sale of his design on pins, bumper stickers or as a flag.
However, flag consideration project spokeswoman Suzanne Stephenson said any one now wanting to reproduce any of the flags submitted during the process would need to be in touch with the designers and it was up to them what arrangements were made.
So did he vote for it?
He was an old-fashioned kind of guy, he said. Not the kind to vote and tell. But in this case he makes an exception - of course he voted for his design.
"It would have been funny if I didn't!"