Saturday 20 January 2018

New Zealand unveils flag shortlist to mixed reviews

The four flag finalists that could replace New Zealand's current flag
The four flag finalists that could replace New Zealand's current flag Newsdesk Newsdesk

New Zealanders will be given a choice between three ferns and a koru for a possible new flag, after the government published its final shortlist of four alternative designs.

The shortlist was announced by the deputy prime minister Bill English at the national museum Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington on Tuesday morning.

Three show variations on the silver fern design known to be the preference of prime minister John Key: one in black and white, and two paired with the Southern Cross constellation.

The fourth option is a koru, or unfurling fern frond, in black and white.

Reaction to the shortlisted four at the hashtag #nzflag was by and large disparaging, reflecting a general sense of fatigue with the process.

All but one of the designs - which could replace the existing Union Jack-emblazoned flag - uses the national silver fern symbol.

The fourth shows the curving koru Maori symbol.

The 12-person flag consideration panel selected the four alternative designs from the longlist of 40 it announced on 10 August; it did not consult with the public on either decision.

The initial longlist of 40 was selected from nearly 10,300 submissions designed by members of the public and uploaded to a government website, the more outlandish of which attracted global media attention.

Members of the public will be able to vote on their preferred design in November.

The winner of that vote will be pitted against the incumbent flag in a second referendum that will take place in March next year.

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