New Year Honours

For some reason the New Year Honours are announced in the old year. I’m sure there are people who have deserved recognition, as there will remain many unsung (ungonged) heroes.

I’m not much into our honours system so I’ll leave it to others who like them to fly the Honours flag.

Ghahraman versus Finlayson

Since joining Twitter recently Green candidate Golriz Ghahraman is learning how fraught

mixing politics with quick fire tweeting can be. She has been given a lot of attention, and in some cases has given as good as she has got.

She seems to have come unstuck over a swipe and Attorney General Chris Finlayson.

She tweeted…

Remember Finlayson changed the rules so QCs don’t need to be barristers, then gave himself the honour? Classic Nats

…in response to Guy Williams: Arise, Sir John

It reminded me of National MP and solicitor Chris Finlayson who, after becoming National’s Attorney General, changed the rules so that solicitors could become Queen’s Counsel, and then proceeded to become a QC! It’s insane.

She virtually repeated what Williams said. This has attracted attention, including:



Graeme Edgeler has stepped in to put the record straight.

1. It was Parliament (at the behest of *Margaret Wilson*) who changed the rules to allow non-barristers to become SCs.

2. and then Parliament (at the behest of Finlayson) who *reversed* Wilson’s change, so that you had to be a barrister.

3. any change to allow non-barristers to be QCs is irrelevant to Finlayson anyway, because most importantly, Finlayson is still a barrister!

I figured the error was from ‘s column. And assumed he’d just mis-remembered what happened as the opposite of what happened.

In politics it’s easy for ambitions and agendas to live by the tweet, die by the tweet.


Awards and choking on a Minto

There’s been a lot of frothing over the New Year honours.

‘Natwatch’ at The Standard: Sir Lynton Crosby and Dame Paula Rebstock

The British Conservative Government and the New Zealand National Government have both rewarded their friends with titles.

Martyn Bradbury at The Daily Blog: Honours List is dishonourable – TDB Honours list 2015

We need a ‘People’s Honours’ list for those who have challenged the state – not those who have acted for the State.

And John Minto at The Daily Blog: What’s that? – choke, splutter! – Dame Paula Rebstock???

If you choked on your muesli at the news Paula Rebstock has been made a Dame in the government’s New Year’s Honours list then join the club.

Rebstock’s award is confirmation of the highly political nature of our national honours system.

In giving an award to Rebstock John Key is giving the finger to us all.

A look through the main awards shows a vastly disproportionate list of addresses from Remuera and Parnell and other well-to-do suburbs. National is hard at work rewarding its biggest supporters.

It’s curious that there have been no comments on Minto’s post and only two on Bradbury’s.

It may be true that the main party in power tends to favour people on it’s side of the political spectrum with honours.

But what we don’t know is who turns down honours offered to them, we only get to find out about people who are offered honours and accept them.

It may be that people from “from Remuera and Parnell” put more value on status symbols like flash properties and titles so are more likely to be offered them and accept them.

Bradbury lists his own ‘TDB Honours list 2015’ which includes:

  • Helen Kelly for services to humanity, cannabis reform, worker rights and being an incredible human being.

I think it would be fair enough for Helen Kelly to get some sort of honours recognition. I don’t know if she was offered anything or not but it wouldn’t surprise to me if she had greater priorities at the moment.

And I wonder if Bradbury, Minto, and others complaining about those who they think were deserving of honours missing out, nominated anyone. That’s how people get to be considered for honours.

Here’s how it works: NOMINATIONS FOR HONOURS

Nominations may be made by any person or persons by completing a nomination form.  Nomination forms and information on the honours system are available from the Honours Unit, Members of Parliament and Electorate Offices.

Herald making things up about Honours?

The Herald yesterday made a number of claims about public support of the New Zealand Honours system. Were they making things up or where their claims based on anything of substance.

The headline: Editorial: Kiwis OK with knighthoods

Which Kiwis? How many Kiwis? I’m sure some at least would not be ok with that claim.

More general claims in the editorial:

  • New Zealanders can hardly wait to see titles bestowed on their homecoming All Black captain and coach today
  • Annette King, yesterday said the party had not reviewed its policy on royal honours since they were restored by National in 2009 but she saw no appetite in this country for “chopping and changing” the system.
    She is right.
  • Without a few titles conferred, the annual New Year’s and Queen’s Birthday honours lost much of their focus and public interest. Their reinstatement was well received.
  • In New Zealand, though, the titles now sit fairly comfortably within an honours system that has been restyled our way.
  • Though knights and dames remain nominally royal appointments, New Zealanders treat them as the indigenous decision they really are.
  • New Zealanders like to elevate respected fellow countrymen and women with a title to their name.
  • Even formally, it is likely to be Sir “Richie”. We are fine with that.

I’m not fine with that. ‘Richie McCaw’ is appropriate recognition to me.

I call bullshit in the Herald’s claims. I don’t know if a majority of New Zealanders would agree with any of those points or not but I’m certain that not all New Zealanders would agree with any of those points. Probably far from it.

I guess a newspaper from Auckland calling itself NZ Herald thinks it speaks for everyone. It doesn’t, and shouldn’t.