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Three quarters of Kiwis against changing flag - poll

Published: 6:30PM Tuesday February 25, 2014 Source: ONE News

There's overwhelming opposition to changing the New Zealand flag, according to the latest ONE News Colmar Brunton poll.

When asked if New Zealand should stick with the status quo or design a new flag, 72% of people said keep the current flag, while only 28% wanted a new one.

The result means there has been a big swing against change in the last decade. In 2004, 58% said keep the current flag and 42% wanted a new one.

But Prime Minister John Key is still backing a change.

"My view of changing the flag is it's about nationhood. It's about who we are and how we portray ourselves in a globally-connected world," he says.

All Blacks Number 8 Kieran Read says the Southern Cross on the current flag, and the Silver Fern, are both special.

"You grow up with the identity that we've got, you know, the Southern Cross and what have you. So it'd be a big call," he says.

The Silver Fern on black is the Prime Minister's preference for a new flag.

But, asked who should pick the new design, 85% of voters believe it should be the public's decision. Just 12% are happy to leave it in the Government's hands and 3% said they don't know.

Blues Coach Sir John Kirwan suggests the flag incorporate two New Zealand motifs.

"Put the fern in there and maybe the four stars like we're used to. So maybe we can do a combo," he says.

However the poll also shows the flag is not a pressing election year issue, with 40% of voters putting education at the top issue of a list of five issues. Just 2% of people raised the flag.

Forty percent put education at the top, 37% health, 30% jobs, 27% child poverty and 23% wages.

"My view is that's all true, but it doesn't stop you actually having a debate about other issues which over time have some significance to New Zealand," Mr Key says.

Despite the opposition, it seems John Key is ready to hold a referendum on the flag.