The two elements included in the new flag (displayed above) are the St Edward's Crown, which has been used in every Coronation service since it was crafted for the restoration of Charles II, and the shield of the Arms of New Zealand, as granted in 1911.
It replaces the former flag, also on a blue field, which featuring the crown and lion crest of the monarch, with 'New Zealand' printed on a scroll below. This template is used across the Commonwealth by various other Royal representatives, and was consider to lack a distinctive New Zealand influence. Interestingly, the new flag is very similar to the template used by the Governor-Lieutenants of the provinces of Canada. Well, all except one: the lieutenancy in Nova Scotia has retained the rather more historic governor's flag with the arms of the province defacing a Union Jack.
The design of the new flag - and indeed the Royal Arms of New Zealand - seems distinctly uninspired. Aside from the Southern Cross featured on the national flag, the elements represent the various early 20th century industries in the dominion, and lack any particularly enduring symbolism or aesthetic appeal.
In 1981, a similar move saw a change to the Governor General of Canada's flag, with the scroll disappearing and the crest used in the United Kingdom being replaced with the Canadian crest, also featuring the cheeky looking big cat, although now holding a Maple leaf in its paw. It seems rather unfortunate that Canada's enormously more attractive armorial bearings were not given similar treatment in its Viceregal flag.