12 Dec 2015

NZ flag choice: Delight and disgust

8:27 pm on 12 December 2015

New Zealand's preference for the Black, White and Blue Silver Fern flag has been met with delight and despair on social media, with politicians and the public expressing their views on whether it's a success or flop.

Silver Fern: Black, White and Blue flag

The Black, White and Blue Silver Fern flag has been named the preliminary winner of the flag referendum. Photo: Supplied

The flag designed by Kyle Lockwood has been voted as the design to be put against the existing New Zealand flag at a referendum next year.

The Black, White and Blue design secured 50.53 percent of the preliminary results of the final votes, announced last night.

But this was only slightly ahead of the second-placed Lockwood design, which got 49.47 percent. A final result will not be confirmed until later in the week.

People have taken to social media to share their thoughts on the results, with some saying they "love" the preferred flag, while others said it was "embarrassing" New Zealanders had voted for it.

Some people were outraged at the decision, surprised the "cartoon-fern" flag was chosen, and said if it was to represent New Zealand in the future it would make the country look like a "start up company".

Donna Pearman wrote on Facebook that she hasn't "been this ashamed of our nation's lack of taste since Air New Zealand revealed the current uniforms".

The current New Zealand flag flies up a flag pole.

The current New Zealand flag Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

"Who voted for this? It looks like the Briscoes Lady and the Flight Centre guy got together over a 'dry white wine' to create a cheap corporate logo. Question: is this flag to be printed on cotton or polar fleece?

"As Simon Pound said: 'Can you imagine changing the national anthem and having no musicians?' That is what we did here. We tried to change the flag with no-one with a clue about flags or design anywhere in the mix and we got exactly what we deserved."

News of the results have made international headlines, with stories appearing in The New York Times, The Guardian, and on the BBC.

For some New Zealanders, it was a lost opportunity and for others the entire process was a waste of taxpayers' money. The government has spent $26 million on the process, including consultation and the referendum.

Journalist Mike McRoberts took the announcement as an opportunity to call on the government to accept more Syrian refugees.

Speaking to reporters outside Auckland airport this morning, Prime Minister John Key said he was "delighted" by the frontrunner choice.

There were 10,292 designs submitted and the top four flags were selected by the Flag Consideration Project.

No caption

Photo: RNZ

Three designs depicting the Silver Fern made the final cut, which also included a flag with a koru design and another called Red Peak, which was added to the final selection after a social media campaign.

The final results won't be in until Tuesday, and could easily change to the Silver Fern (Red, White and Blue) design securing first place.

The winning flag will then go head-to-head against the current flag in a referendum in March.

Some are pinning all their hopes on the second referendum and are urging New Zealanders to vote to ensure the flag doesn't change.

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