More than 2 million New Zealanders voted to keep the Union Jack on their national flag, ending a 10-month process and squashing a move Prime Minister John Key said would make it easier to distinguish from Australia’s flag and bolster national pride.
The current flag has been the national symbol for 114 years, according to The Associated Press. The rejected design, which featured a silver fern, was selected from more than 10,000 submissions from the public.
Some people called a flag on the play over the estimated price tag: NZ$26 million, which is about $17 million in U.S. currency.
“Naturally I’m a little bit disappointed the flag didn’t change tonight,” Key told reporters on Thursday. But he accepted the decision, tweeting:
And, strangely, American comedian and actor Andy Richter seemed to follow the whole thing really closely, even offering up his flag choice:
The preliminary voting result was announced on Thursday, and final numbers are expected next week.
As a reminder, here’s a taste of the flags New Zealand could have had — including the front-runners and some very, very long shots.