The Electoral Commission has released the preliminary result for the first referendum on the New Zealand Flag. The referendum asked the question:
“If the New Zealand flag changes, which flag would you prefer?”
Based on the preliminary result, the most preferred alternative flag design chosen through the first referendum is Option A: Silver Fern (Black, White and Blue).
The next most preferred flag design is Option E: Silver Fern (Red, White and Blue), followed in order of preference by Option B: Red Peak, Option D: Silver Fern (Black and White) and Option C: Koru.
The total votes received were 1,527,042, which includes 148,022 informal votes (9.7%) and 2,476 invalid votes (0.16%).
Voter turnout is 48.16%. Turnout is calculated by taking the total votes received as a percentage of the total number of voters enrolled as at 19 November 2015 (3,170,726).
The breakdown of the iterative count process of the votes received is available online at www.electionresults.govt.nz. Information on the turnout by each electorate is also available at www.electionresults.govt.nz.
Informal votes are those where a clear first preference could not be determined. This can be because the voter leaves the paper blank, the voter takes deliberate action to spoil the paper, or an error by the voter means that their intention is not clear.
Invalid votes are excluded from the count and include, for example, voting papers that cannot be processed because the voter has made the QR code unreadable, or voting papers that have been cancelled as a result of replacement voting papers being issued.
The official result will be announced on Tuesday 15 December (target 5pm). The official result will include those votes date-stamped by NZ Post before voting closed on Friday 11 December and received by the Electoral Commission by noon on Tuesday 15 December. The official result will also be notified by media release and at www.electionresults.govt.nz.
The second binding referendum on the New Zealand flag will be held from 3-24 March 2016. Voters will be asked to choose between the most preferred flag design selected in this referendum and the current flag. The flag that receives the most votes will be the official flag of New Zealand.
Voters should ensure that they are enrolled and their enrolment details are up to date well before voting begins in the second referendum at www.elections.org.nz/enrol.