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  • 24 March 2016

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New Zealanders have voted to keep their existing flag after a national referendum, preliminary results show.

The referendum asked whether the flag which includes the Union Jack should be replaced by a design called Silver Fern, which won an earlier ballot.

The results show 56.6% voted for no change, while 43.1% opted for the new design. Just over 2.1m votes were cast.

PM John Key had advocated the new flag but called on New Zealanders to “embrace” the people’s decision.

He was speaking after the preliminary result was announced following the close of the postal vote at 19:00 local time (06:00 GMT).

A final result taking into account late ballots will be announced next Wednesday.

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