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New Zealanders pan 4 remaining choices for new flag

The government of New Zealand has narrowed the choices for a possible new national flag to four candidates, but many are calling the designs "disappointing."

Over 10,000 designs submitted to government's Flag Consideration Panel

The government of New Zealand has narrowed the choices for a possible new national flag to four candidates, but many are calling the designs "disappointing." 

From over 10,000 submitted designs, the government's Flag Consideration Panel narrowed the candidates to 40 in August, and now to these four. 

But New Zealanders on Twitter are calling the designs "awful," "sad" and "mediocre." 

New Zealanders will rank these designs in a vote in late 2015. In March 2016, there will be a final vote between the preferred design from that vote and the current flag. 

Three of the four designs use the silver fern frond that is the symbol of New Zealand sports teams, particularly rugby's All Blacks. The fourth uses the the coiled "fiddlehead" of the same plant, an indigenous symbol called "koru" in the Maori language. 

While some didn't like the idea of a flag that resembles a sports logo, others objected on botanical grounds. 

The current flag of New Zealand is a blue ensign, featuring the British Union Flag in one corner and four red stars forming the Southern Cross. 

Some in New Zealand consider it to be a relic from the country's colonial past and too similar to Australia's flag. Others, including many combat veterans, feel a deep attachment to it.

The country's flag debate is reminiscent of the contentious process that led Canada to replace its red ensign with the Maple Leaf flag in 1965.  

If the final four candidates weren't enough to offend New Zealanders' design sensibilities, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand unveiled its new bank notes, too. 

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