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Red Peak: New Zealanders rally behind 'fifth' flag design

Red Peak by Aaron Dustin Image copyright NZ government

Nearly 30,000 people have signed a petition demanding the New Zealand government allow a fifth entry in the contest for a new national flag.

Red Peak, designed by Wellington resident Aaron Dustin, was on the long list but did not make the final four.

The finalists were revealed to widespread disdain last week, with many saying said they were too boring, too corporate or unrepresentative.

But PM John Key has already said no to adding Red Peak into the contest.

Mr Dustin has made the case that his flag design is simple and meaningful.

He says on his blog it uses the shape of traditional weaving patterns, and "suggests a landscape of alpine ranges, red earth, and black sky", while referencing the Maori creation myth of Ranginui and Papatuanuku, also known as Rangi and Papa.

It also highlights New Zealand's position near the international dateline, which makes it one of the "first to hold the light of new day", he said.

'Appropriately symbolic'

By Monday evening, more than 28,000 people had signed a petition started four days ago by a C Wilson.

"The other options look like a random assemblage of clipart. This looks like a flag," said Auckland resident, Camryn Brown.

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Media captionThe four final designs are unveiled

"This is drawable, strongly and appropriately symbolic flag that looks like a FLAG. It will be something I could proudly display," said another signatory, Liza Bolton.

Oscar Hemingway in Auckland said Red Peak was "has the simplicity needed to be a memorable symbol and its colors and shapes represent the nation well. It deserves at least to be on the short lost and given its fair chance".

But Mr Key has shot down the petition, saying there was "a well set out process" and the cabinet had already accepted the four nominations.

"To accept any other flag... we would have to change the law, and we're not going back to parliament to change the law," he told a morning talkshow.

New Zealanders will have the chance to choose their favourite design in a referendum later this year. Then in 2016, another referendum will be held to decide whether to scrap the existing flag and replace it with the winner.

Mr Key has argued New Zealand needs a new flag as its current one, adopted in 1902, is too similar to Australia's, and the country needs one which better reflects its values.

But critics say the exercise is costly and unnecessary. It is expected to cost the New Zealand government more than 27m New Zealand dollars (£11m; $17m), according to news portal Stuff.

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