It can only be described as a monumental failure. The Flag Consideration Panel today released four options for our new flag - it has three silver ferns, but not the silver fern.
I'm sorry - but for New Zealand to consider a flag change without the plain silver fern defies belief.
The silver fern is the unofficial icon of New Zealand, and there's nothing more iconic than the silver fern on a black background.
It's plain, simple and instantly identifiable around the world. I understand the concern about the similarities with the Islamic State flag, but let New Zealanders decide.
John Key must be gutted. It was his early favourite, and now not even an option. The panel he setup has shown it is fiercely independent - I bet he'd do it differently now.
Not having a plain silver fern is the equivalent of making a pilgrimage to see the Pope only to discover it's a Ruby Wax statue standing in the Vatican balcony instead. Bitterly disappointing.
I sincerely hope the panel will have some kind of X-Factor wildcard entry and introduce the favourite 'The Plain Silver Fern'.
Yes, that's how bizarre and sad this decision is: Taxpayers are forking out $26 million dollars to leave the favourite on the rubbish heap.