An esteemed US newspaper has urged New Zealanders to take another look at some of the flag designs rejected by an expert panel - and has suggested an image of a deranged cat might be better suited as our new banner.
Washington Post writer Abby Ohlheiser picked some of her favourite alternative flag designs in a post titled: "Dear New Zealand, please reconsider these 9 rejected flag designs."
"Here are a few of the best - and the strangest - missed opportunities for the people of New Zealand," she wrote.
"To understand why each of these would make a good national flag, please imagine them flying proudly during the Olympics."
While she listed the flags in "no particular order", Ohlheiser suggested "the best one" was an image of a deranged cat raking its garden, aptly titled Deranged Cat Raking Its Garden.
Designer Jeong Hyuk Fidan from Canterbury explained the design: "Who doesn't love a cat that rakes its own garden?"
Other rejected flag designs that caught the newspaper's attention included a kiwi firing a laser from its eye; a Fons-style kiwi in a leather jacket; a sheep and a hokey pokey ice cream; and the Long White Cloud represented by a fluffy sheepskin.
New Zealanders won't get the chance to vote on any of these designs, however, as none made it to the top 40 that will be whittled down four favoured alternatives ahead of the referendum.
In November 2014 US comedian John Oliver had mocked the NZ flag debate on his show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.
Oliver suggested three flag designs after seeing John Key's preferred design of a silver fern on a red-and-blue background.
The first was a bungee jumping sheep, the second "a Kiwi bird having sex with a Hobbit" and the third a sheet with the words "we are not Australia".