With the silly season ‘gongs’ dished out yet again, it’s pertinent to reflect on something the last Labour Government got pretty right, namely the abolition of knighthoods and damehoods doled out to the rich and famous then inexplicably reinstated by Key’s National Government in 2009.
Those honoured this New Year include the obligatory Maori services group, fashion designer, ex- politicians (three), ex-rugby player, children’s storyteller and yet another lawyer, topping the list. Everything usually awarded for services to XYZ (i.e. self-interests).
New Zealand’s honours system should not embrace this anachronistic medieval British royal honours system to decorate those who have been more than amply rewarded for their careers, sports and pastimes. People who perform selfless acts, volunteers and whose sole motivation is to help others should be recognised, but that is not a factor in many cases and rarely so with politicians, business leaders, professionals and sportspeople.
If we must reward for services then simply dish out the relatively benign and meaningless NZ Order of Merit honours (often also undeserved) and everyone should be reasonably happy.
I readily accept that many Kiwis generously give their time and services gratis for very good causes and, of course, it’s appropriate that this unselfish altruism be recognised in some way.
R Paterson, Mataphi.