Thursday, November 5, 2015


The recent announcement by Malcolm Turnbull that Australia is to dump Knights and Dames from the Order of Australia has led to the rather predictable outcry from some (not all) in the chardonnay swilling set for NZL to follow suit.  We shouldn't.

The New Zealand honors system has been transformed in recent years and is recognized as unique and balanced.    It comprises the Order of New Zealand limited to 20 living persons; the New Zealand Order of Merit in five grades with the top grades (Knight and Dame Grand Companion) limited to 30 living persons and the second tier (Knight and Dame Companion) limited to 15 persons per year together with Companions (40), Officers (80) and Members (140) along with the Queens Service Order (50) and Medal (unlimited).    In 2000 the Labour Government amended the New Zealand Order of Merit to do away with Knights and Dames while in 2009 John Key reversed that decision.   The move had been widely foreshadowed as far back as the 2005 election and was a formal decision by cabinet.  

The announcement by Tony Abbott last year that he was amending the Order of Australia to provide for Knights and Dames came out of the blue.   It was justified as a 'Captains Call'.   It was not put to the cabinet nor did it have cabinet backing.   In the end only three were awarded; one to the Duke of Edinburgh (which attracted some controversy) a second to Quentin Bryce, the outgoing Governor-General and a third to Peter Cosgrove, her successor.

The one amusing thing about the decision to reintroduce Knights and Dames in New Zealand was that those who had been awarded the honor in the period 2000 to 2008 were given the option of accepting the title.   There was a rush to take up on the offer including such luminaries as Margaret Shields, former Labour Cabinet Minister (despite her receiving a letter from Helen Clark telling her not to) and of course Michael Cullen.

Winston Peters has laid into the debate concerning the award of a knighthood to Richie McCaw describing it as 'tasteless' ... this from a person to has elevated tasteless to an art form.

If you want to know what tasteless really is then I'll tell you.    When I received my own award back in 2009 I received letters from a wide cross-section of NZL society conveying their congrats.   One stood out ... it was from a charity which I decline to name.   It suggested that an appropriate way to celebrate my award was to send them a donation of $xxxx.    Now that was tasteless.


Anonymous said...

When you look at past recipients it is not at all tasteless for McCaw to be offered a knighthood. What would be tasteless is for him to accept it after his views on the flag debacle and being the public face of Keys push towards republicanism.

Yes I know it's a NZ honour but it is still equated with the monarchy.

After your dinner with Banks' you would be well advised to count the silver.

Lord Egbut Nobacon

Anonymous said...

PS......At what point in your meteoric rise as a blogger did you start using a Nth American dictionary??

Anonymous said...

PS....When, in your meteoric rise as a blogger, did you start using a US dictionary??

The Veteran said...

MiLord ... NZ honors/honours are royal honors ... it may have escaped your notice but the Queen is our Head of State.

Well done on your put down of McCaw. I suspect if you were stupid enough to argue that back here in NZL right now you might need police protection. Tell me, have you done anything in your life that comes near to rivaling what he has achieved. Thought not. Back in your box Noddy.

You know Banks do you? Rhetorical question because clearly you don't. I do. He is one of the most generous people I have met. I'm associated with a Trust which helps the children & grandchildren of Vietnam veterans live their dreams. A little while back Mr Speaker, in an unprecedented move, canvassed MPs for their support. All but one fronted up. Most gave in the tens of dollars. One gave a hundred. Banks gave many hundreds. As for your slur re stealing I will not dignify that with a reply ... sez more about you than him. I'll leave the stealing off the ratepayer to Len Brown.

Anonymous said...

On the contrary Veteran I intended no put down it is immaterial to me whether honours (note the U) are accepted or not. Nor is it of any concern that someone should run with the hare and the hounds. Tastelessness as you rightly point out is a matter of taste. As for Banks, yes I have met him but more importantly I have also talked with those in the business world who know him.

If a man is to be judged by his charitable donations then Dotcom must be elevated to the peerage.

As you have no idea of my charitable donations your argument is a bit thin and as I am in NZ I have no problem arguing the honours case without fear of being attacked.
Once a public figure or celebrity begins to have public political opinions then they must expect to be criticized. And the day that someone's opinions are regarded as more important than anyone else's on the basis of them being a sportsman then all is lost.

I notice that you canvassed people for your charity. In your post someone canvassed you after your good fortune and you considered it tasteless. It's all a matter of perception.

The Veteran said...

Anon ... crimdotcon gives to charity ... enlighten me pse (donations to mayoral campaigns and political parties are charities not).

Clearly the people that you speak to in the business world are not the people I speak to but I do agree he polarizes people ... much like Judith Collins. But at least you know where they stand and that's a big plus in my books.

Of course I canvas people for donations but not on the basis of their grant of a Royal hono(u)r. Spot the diff?

Thought you were in the UK (you were there last time we spoke) and were migrating to Aust.