Whoa — those crazy crowdsourced designs are all that's on the table for $28m flag consideration project

The panel has to widen its search.   Chris Keall talks about the latest flag designs on NBR Radio and on-demand on MyNBR Radio.

To build your own NBR Radio playlist and enjoy instant on-demand access to any audio, sign up for our FREE smartphone-only subscription to NBR ONLINE. 

Like others (hello Buzzfeed and Mashable) I’ve had a good laugh at some of the crowdsourced designs for the New Zealand Flag Consideration Panel.

The panel says its crowdsourced-design approach is a world-first for a country choosing a (potential) new flag. Around 5200 designs have been submitted so far (see the gallery here).

I actually thought fair enough. Setting up the website for entries would have cost only peanuts, and a handful of interesting designs have come through a long with the satire and derangement. The likes of Otis and Dick Frizzell have contributed. The odd design is even striking and wholly unworthy of making various worst-of lists.

But I’ve also always presumed it’s just one element to the process of collecting possible designs.

Surely flags are being commissioned from professional designers too as part of the $28 million process?

No. Or at least not so far.

“The panel has not commissioned designs from other sources,” spokeswoman Suzanne Stephenson tells NBR.

After entries close on July 16, “The panel will be reviewing designs from technical and practical perspectives as well as best reflecting the values and themes that New Zealanders have shared,” Ms Stephenson says.

“The panel does have the option to commission any designs or 'finesse' a suggestion if needed to meet the above requirements.”

I'd urge the panel to take that option.

Meanwhile, Gareth Morgan has taken matters into his own hands offering a $20,000 prize for whomever can design what he considers the best flag alternative, which he will then submit as his entry.

The Flag Consideration Panel must choose a shortlist of four possible flag designs ahead of two postal referenda.

The first, on November 20 to December 11 this year, will ask voters to rank the four alternative flags selected by the Flag Consideration Panel from most to least-preferred.

The second, on March 3 to March 24, 2016, will ask voters to choose between the current New Zealand flag and the preferred alternative design selected in the first referendum. The results of both referendums are binding.

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