A popular design in the competition to design a new New Zealand flag will not be added to the shortlist despite nearly 30,000 people signing a petition to support it.
The Red Peak design, by Aaron Dustin, has been attracting support online after it was left off the final list of four designs that will be voted on by the New Zealand public.
But, according to the BBC, New Zealand prime minister John Key says Dustin’s design will not be added into the contest.
Key says that there had been “a well set-out process,” adding: “To accept any other flag… we would have to change the law, and we’re not going back to parliament to change the law.”
Dustin’s design was one of 40 submissions that were longlisted earlier in the process, but it didn’t make it through to the shortlist of four.
Dustin says of his design: “The Red Peak flag was intended to be a ‘new’ symbol that expressed our NZ identity while avoiding the use of Southern Cross, Koru, Kiwi and Fern motifs (that many others have explored).”
The four final designs have been created by an architect, a graphic designer and a flight attendant. They were chosen following a crowdsourcing competition that attracted 10,292 designs.
The selection panel for the shortlist featured a number of people from different walks of life, including an advertising executive, a tech entrepreneur and a former All Black rugby player.
Although the panel didn’t feature any professional designers, it says it has worked with design experts – as well as cultural and flag experts – to select the designs.
The four designs will now be put to a public vote in November and the winner will go up against the current New Zealand flag design in a second referendum to decide which design should be used.
New Zealand’s current flag has been in use since 1902 and is derived from the maritime British Blue Ensign.
The stars of the Southern Cross were added and, similar to other Commonwealth countries, the Union Jack remains in the first quarter to recognise that New Zealand started as a British colony.
The New Zealand government says: “At times New Zealanders have talked about change. Designs have been put forward but there has never been an official public discussion about the future of our flag.”
It adds that if a new design is chosen then it could start to be flown as early as next year. It says the estimated overall cost of a flag-replacement project would be NZ$25.7 million (£11 million).