The Flag Consideration Panel has released a "long list", chosen from more than 10,000 public submissions.
Chairman John Burrows: "A potential new flag should unmistakably be from NZ and celebrate us as a progressive, inclusive nation that's connected to its environment, and has a sense of its past and vision for its future."
The chosen 40 will now be subject to further scrutiny, including whether any breach intellectual property law. [Oh yes, mustn't forget that some maori think they have rights over a koru, and the NZ Rugby Union reckons it can claim the silver fern!]
Mid-next month, the panel will announce four of them, to be put to a national referendum. The winner will then go head-to-head with the current flag in another referendum in March 2016.
Prime Munster Johnno Key is trying to permanently stamp his legacy on this country by changing the flag, claiming ours is often mistaken for Australia's. But the cost of merely deciding whether to change the flag - up to $26m! - has come under heavy fire.
The Top 40 List is dominated by designs featuring koru, stars and ferns. Spokesman for the 'Silver Fern Flag' group Kyle Lockwood: "Like the maple leaf to Canada, the silver fern screams 'New Zealand', and it's not just a sports symbol. It's on our army and navy logos, our firefighters', police and sportsmen's uniforms, our money, passports,
national airline, and soon it'll be on NZ rockets sending satellites into space...it's our national symbol and it's time we put it on our flag." Hmmm, as you can tell, Kyle is quite OTT about the fern!
As for me, there's not ONE on the "long list" that smokes my tyres. I say: flag 'em all and keep what we've got!