Unjustified enrichment/‘gong’ fever

With the festive season ‘gongs' dished out once again, it's pertinent to reflect on one of the few things that the Labour Government of 2000 got absolutely right – namely the abolition of knighthoods and damehoods being lavished on the rich and famous. Inexplicably these honours were reinstated by John Key's National Government in 2009. Those honoured this New Year included the obligatory Maori educationalist, a professional shot-putter an ex- politician turned mayoress, a brain researcher yet another lawyer, premier of self-governing state (1600 citizens) and an SOE CEO (salary $1.3m-plus) topping the list. New Zealand doesn't need to embrace this anachronism representing part of the ancient medieval British royal honours system merely to glorify those who have already been more than amply rewarded for their business careers, sports and pastimes – there is no need for further unjustified embellishment. Even current media editorials question who if any should get honours concluding those who perform selfless acts volunteers and people whose sole motivation is to help others should be recognised. That is not a factor in many cases and is rarely the case with politicians, business leaders, professionals and sportspeople. If we must have rewards for public service simply dish out the relatively nondescript meaningless NZ honours (in many cases also undeserved) and everyone should be reasonably happy. I readily accept that many Kiwis generously volunteer their time and services gratis for very good causes and it is of course appropriate that this unselfish altruism be recognised in some way. Anyone who has a contrary viewpoint on the topic please let's hear from them.

R Paterson, Matapihi.



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Santa in Plover Place, Maungatapu. Photo: Scott MacLeod.

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