The controversial alternative New Zealand flag design that had been flying on Tauranga's official flag pole has been taken.

A man, who would not be identified, told the Bay of Plenty Times he took the flag down because it was ''total manipulation''.

The Flag Debate - What are people voting for

The man removed the flag at 11.30am and delivered it to an address he believed was Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby's.

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Mr Crosby, who has moved recently, said it was only a matter of time before someone tried to remove the alternative flag.

Last month Tauranga City Council voted to fly the alternative design intermittently with the current New Zealand flag on the flag pole at the intersection of Takitimu Drive and Elizabeth St.

The decision drew heated feedback from current flag supporters, suggesting the new design should be burned down.