Wellington, Dec 15: New Zealand authorities on Tuesday confirmed that the black, white and blue silver fern design won the first referendum to become the country’s new flag, replacing the existing one. The winning flag, designed by architect Kyle Lockwood, will be put against the existing New Zealand flag in a second referendum in March 2016, Radio New Zealand reported. The Electoral Commission said 1,546,734 votes were received, including 149,747 informal votes and 3372 invalid votes.
Voter turnout was 48.78 percent. A similar design in red and blue came in a close second. New Zealanders were asked to choose from five designs. The government is estimated to have spent 26 million New Zealand dollars (US$18 million) on the flag change project. (IANS)