The flag referendum looks set to be the embarrassment of the century for pro-change Prime Minister John Key.
The first poll since the public meeting roadshow got underway in Christchurch has found support for retaining the current flag has taken an unprecedented jolt.
Whilst more scientific polls suggest support for keeping the flag sits at about 70-75%, a previous TV3 poll of more than 10,000 voters found a whopping 84% were opposed to change.
Tonight’s poll trumps all results. Nearly 9 in 10 New Zealanders are opposed to a flag change if tonight’s poll is correct, with a record 88% opposing change.
Campbell Live presenter John Campbell said the number of participants voicing their opinion in this poll was a record-breaker, with well over 10,000 casting their votes before 7.30.
The Return Service’s Association has been the most fierce critic, leading the charge against Prime Minister John Key’s referendum. One veteran on Anzac Day lambasted the PM, saying that “the Pony-tail puller” should keep his hands off the flag.
Fresh critics have included the Auckland City Mission, which told Campbell Live it could provide up to 20 million meals for struggling Aucklanders with the money John Key wishes to spend on the referendum . The Salvation Army has also attacked, saying the $26m should be spent on helping the homeless.
Inside the house of representatives the Greens have been left angry on the amount of money being spent on the flag compared to vulnerable children. New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has led the charge, encouraging New Zealanders to write “KEEP OUR FLAG” on the first referendum paper – a move he says that, if he done by the majority, will force the second referendum to be canned.
Labour leader Andrew Little, meanwhile, says the government’s referendum plans show a lack of vision for the country.