New Zealand Labour Party

Flag design advice done and dusted in four hours

An advisory group, which included a designer for sportswear giant Nike, was cobbled together roughly a month before flag options were announced to provide just four hours of ‘design’ advice to the Flag Consideration Panel, Labour’s Arts, Culture and Heritage spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.

“This is just further evidence of this shambolic and costly exercise.

“There was not one designer on the Flag Consideration Panel, which was clearly a massive mistake. It meant the panel then had to try and fill that gap by pulling together an advisory group.

“That group included just two designers, one of who is a creative director at Nike.

“It met on July 29, and according to papers released under the OIA, gave advice on problematic designs, strong designs, and ‘recommended the panel revisit the range of designs with a view to include more geometric/reductive designs in the long list’.

“We don’t know the impact that this advice had, with the papers only noting that the group’s feedback was ‘taken into consideration’.

“The whole process could have been improved from the beginning, had Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Maggie Barry shown some leadership and nominated a designer or artist to the panel in the first place. She didn’t.

“This same Minister is now openly supportive of changing the flag to one of the fern and star options, wearing a lapel pin and displaying an ensign in her office.

“It’s no wonder Kiwis have overwhelmingly rejected this exercise. National had a chance to get this right and they made a hash of it, wasting $26 million in the process.”