Criticism over panel chosen for flag referendum

Criticism over panel chosen for flag referendum

It seemed everyone was fine with the start of the flag process -- anyone could submit a design.

But there's been constant grumblings about the fact the flag consideration panel did not include a designer.

Academic Malcolm Mulholland was one of 12 panellists who decided the final 40 and then, later, the final four flag designs.

He's not a designer, no one on the panel was. Instead politicians opted for a former Olympian, a former Mayor, a former All Black, writers and chief executives.

"Perhaps in the future it would be useful to have a designer or two," Mr Mulholland says.

"No kidding", says Winston Peters, who believes the decision not to include designers was fatal.

"I hope next time that the politicians keep out of it, serious designers get involved and they understand if we are going to go for a change it better be something good that would dismiss what we've got now," he says.

So they are the views of a panellist and a politician, what about the public?

Newshub approached 10 people at random on Auckland streets -- not one voted for the new design and 80 percent thought a designer or two would have made a difference.

But artist Dick Frizzell, who voted for the old Union Jack design and hated the alternative, actually backed a designer-free panel.

"I quite like the idea that the panel was a straight out jury. If designers were on the panel then they are bringing their own agenda right to the forefront," he says.

What everyone agreed was the start of the process was brilliant, open and fair. Anyone could come up with a design, and in the end more than 10,000 were submitted.

Ultimately, though, all of them were flagged.