In December, Silver Fern (Black, White and Blue) won the first nationwide postal referendum, and the support of Mr. Key, who had floated the idea of a new flag in an election campaign speech in March 2014. At the time, Mr. Key said that if his National party won the elections in September, he would hold a referendum on the flag.
But the referendum in December asked people which of the five finalists they preferred — not whether they wanted a new flag at all. Mr. Key said that decision was best made in a vote putting the existing flag against a single challenger.
Also read: Green Party drops Pennsylvania recount bid