Thank you for your thoughtful post Graeme.
But there is one thing I must disagree with. You write:
"...but Kyle Lockwood’s fern design has been a popular alternative flag for quite some time."
In all the public events I have been to in New Zealand in 30 years of living in this country, I have never seen this design been spontaneously displayed.
The alternative flags I have seen are the United Tribes, Tino Rangatiratanga, the Hundertwasser Koru, the 'Fighting Kiwi', the Silver Fern on plain black - never the Lockwood design in either its red/blue or black/blue versions.
I believe we haven't looked closely enough at the symbolic force of colour in this alternative flag selection process.
The most natural word association with 'black and blue' is domestic violence.This is a very unfortunate link, for a country with such appalling high levels of domestic and sexual violence.
Would we be happy explaining the symbolism of this flag's colours to their children?
(Yes, I am a designer/visual artist/writer who has devoted much of my career to the area of understanding the way visual language works)
Thanks for this explanation Graeme - could you please extend this with an appraisal of what a spoiled paper will do; and/or how best to register dissatisfaction the the process itself?