Aaron D, is that you? :p
(Sorry, couldn't resist, this all sounds exactly like all the rhetoric that was so popular when "everyone" was up in arms about red peak not being included...)
I guess it might sound like rhetoric if you don't agree, but that's exactly how I feel! I think a lot of the arguments for change are rhetoric too ("it's a once in a lifetime chance!" uh, why exactly?), so maybe it depends on which side of the fence you're sitting.
Don't get me wrong, I don't think Red Peak was "the one" either. Points in its favour were that it looked like a flag (simple geometric design), was easily identifiable and reproducible, and didn't resort to bunging in a tacky national symbol. There were probably hundreds of others in the original longlist that had just as much merit. I didn't think much of it at first but as the field narrowed to a lineup of wonky silver ferns it stood more and more apart on those grounds. However it was a bit abstract and clearly didn't capture the imagination of the country at large - so be it.
I also know that design is subjective to some degree, but I strongly feel that shoving a fern or a kiwi on to the flag is the wrong approach. A flag is a national symbol in its own right, and we'll grow to be proud of it in time even if it's just a collection of coloured shapes. Making sure it's well-designed and aesthetically pleasing are more important than including our existing "national symbol" and "national colour" which, much as I love em, just aren't that well suited to go on a flag.
Basically my desire to change the flag is outweighed by my desire not to have a crap flag. Others either think the benefits of change outweigh the crappiness of the design or, god help them, actually like the Lockwood flag. I acknowledge those viewpoints but heartily disagree.