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“Deadly serious” Gareth Morgan orders new national flag for $20k

Economist, self-styled big-thinker and lovable rabble-rouser Gareth Morgan is on a one-man mission to remove, improve and replace the New Zealand flag, offering $20k to the clever designer that can most closely match his specs.

His charity organisation, the family-run Morgan Foundation, today issued a charmingly-unassuming statement saying that the investment manager turned motorcycle adventurer is hell bent on changing the Kiwi banner, but “needs help” to get his project off the ground.

“I flunked art class every year,” Morgan says. “This stuff is hard.

“I have a deadly serious view of what the flag should represent but I couldn’t possibly draw a flag that meets that purpose.”

To back up a bit, Gareth Morgan hates the New Zealand flag.

In a blog post yesterday on his cringingly-titled soapbox site, Garethsworld.com, Morgan pulls zero punches, calling objections to changing our national emblem “ridiculous”, objectors “ignorant” and generally shooting down some of the weaker arguments to changing it. (Though one can’t help wonder whether he’s missing the most popular reason for resisting the change, namely that a certain Monsieur Key is for it).

Morgan’s $20,000 brief is simple, and asks participants to create a design that reflects three things:

1. Maori who invited their Treaty partners to share the land;
2. The heritage of British settlers; and
3. Our multicultural society – now and into the future.

“In terms of priority, acknowledging the spirit of the Treaty – that the partners agreed to share this land and ensure each other’s cultures thrive – is the critical element”, he says.

Seems fair.

And designs are already rolling in, some of them pretty darn good. 

But money’s tight. Is 26-million-taxpayer-dollars for a flag redesign too much? Of course it is.

But if Morgan’s happy to pony up the dough for my hastily drawn napkin-design, I’m just as happy to take it. $20k is still $20k.

Entries close midnight Monday July 13. Submit your design at designmyflag.nz.

Jonathan has been a writer longer than he cares to remember. Specialising in technology, the arts, and the grand meaning of it all, in his spare time he enjoys reading, playing guitars, and adding to an already wildly overstocked t-shirt collection.

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