Kiwis keep the Union Jack

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New Zealand has voted to keep the Union Jack as part of its national flag after a referendum.

Kiwis voted by 56 per cent to 42 in favour of keeping the traditional flag of their country rather than have it replaced by one dominated by a silver fern instead.

The country’s Prime Minister John Key had campaigned strongly in favour of making the change, but in the end less than a million people backed his call for change.

The results of the referendum are expected to be verified next Wednesday.

“Obviously I’m a bit disappointed there was no change but nearly a million people voted for change,” Mr Key said.

“Just because it’s not the outcome I wanted doesn’t mean it wasn’t a worthwhile process.”

Deputy prime minister Bill English said there had been a “robust democratic process” that allowed New Zealander “to discuss who we are and how we want to be represented on the world stage”.

“I acknowledge there will be those who are disappointed with the outcome, but the majority of New Zealanders have spoken and we should all embrace that decision,” he said.

“This process has engaged Kiwis in their homes, in their schools and in their workplaces, here in New Zealand, and right around the world – it is something we’ve all had a point of view on.”