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NRT: Cash for honours

Written By: - Date published: 10:44 am, March 28th, 2014 - 17 comments
Categories: national, same old national - Tags:

no-right-turn-256Yesterday No Right Turn did a post on how Graeme Douglas became Sir Graeme Douglas by looking at his donations donating heavily to the National party after being gonged. But this other post on the same overall subject was more interesting. It is no wonder that National wanted the more lucrative royal honours reinstated.

Meanwhile, I’m wondering how this got so little media attention: last Wednesday, in the General Debate, Chris Hipkins outright accused National of selling honours:

This is a Government that has one rule for itself and another rule for everybody else. It is a Government that is interested only in furthering the interests of its mates and those close to it. Look, for example, at the number of National Party donors who have been given honours under this Government. Tony Astle—60 grand to the National Party was enough to make him an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit. Chris Parkin gave $66,000 to the National Party, and that made him a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit. Sir Graeme Douglas—twenty-five grand gave him an insignia of the Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit. Sir William Gallagher—$42,000 got him a knighthood. Lady Diana Isaac—$20,000 made her an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit. [Interruption] Oh, there is old “Maestro”, Jonathan Coleman, piping up at the perfect time, of course, because we know that Garth Barfoot gave him $5,000 for his campaign and he got made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in exchange for that.

The only mention of this I can find in the media is one small report on Newstalk ZB. Which is odd, given how explosive this allegation is (and how easily it can be checked by looking at the data). Party donation returns are public. Honours lists are public. Surely its not that hard to check the two for correlations? Or would they rather leave it to bloggers?

Meanwhile, Labour has its own dirty history here. But I hope we can take it from Hipkins’ speech that there will be no more honours handed out to Labour party donors in future, and that donations from those who have received honours while Labour is in power will be refused for the sake of political propriety.

17 comments on “NRT: Cash for honours”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    Well, the National Party sells everything else, it would be inconsistent if they drew the line at gongs.

  2. alwyn 2

    “Yesterday No Right Turn did a post on how Doug Graham’s became Sir Doug Graham”

    As a perfectly serious question, are you dyslexic? Without discussing the merits of the story I must point out that the NRT story was about Sir Graeme Douglas, NOT Sir Douglas Graham.
    Slight difference don’t you think?

    [lprent: Yes – always have been. Why do you think I like programming? Fixed it. Thanks ]

  3. Raa 3

    The technical term is ‘Bunyip Aristocracy’ after the mythical Bunyip.

    How many players did Colin Meads have to maim to get his gong ?

    Knighthoods were once given out for exceptional deeds in battle,
    but is this not a bit comic in our Asian-Pacific context in 2014 ?

    Are there not a few Tangata Whenua ancestors turning in their graves ?

    • RedLogix 3.1

      The technical term is ‘Bunyip Aristocracy’

      Which Tony Abbot in a peculiar moment of historical amnesia is proposing to restore.

  4. McFlock 4

    I suppose that’s why they brought back titles – their donations were going down?

  5. greywarbler 5

    I think there are too many with the name Douglas in NZ. Let’s have a break from Graham too.
    As the vip (very interested political-checker) Alwyn points out, there is room for confusion.

    Google –
    Sir Graeme Douglas eyes new ventures | Stuff.co.nz
    Feb 3, 2014 – Pioneering pharmaceutical boss Sir Graeme Douglas has stepped down from the company he founded more than 45 years ago.

    About Us – Douglas Pharmaceuticals
    About Us. Founded in 1967 by our managing director Sir Graeme Douglas MNZM FPS, Douglas Pharmaceuticals is one of the fastest growing pharmaceutical …


    Sir Douglas Graham retains knighthood – Business – NZ Herald News
    Nov 1, 2013 – Disgraced former finance company boss Sir Douglas Graham will retain his knighthood, the Prime Minister has announced. – New Zealand ..

    Sir Douglas Graham and the Cult of Privilege | The National …
    Doug Graham’s decent path – now that legal challenges to the Lombard Four convictions are over – is to surrender his knighthood. Further appeals are over …

    Doug Graham – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Sir Douglas Arthur Montrose “Doug” Graham KNZM (born 12 January 1942) is a former New Zealand politician. He was an MP from 1984 to 1999, representing ….

  6. Wyndham, George 6

    We should look for the opportunity here.

    There are people all around the world who would love to have a title. There is a lesser number who could afford to pay handsomely for a few letters.
    I’ve a male gay friend who would pay $1m to become a Dame.

    Option A: a price list.
    Option B: auction a title a day on Trademe for Kiwis And contract fancy New York, lLondon, Paris , Rome, Delhi Singapore, Hongkong, Beijing and Tokyo to hold weekly auctions.

    A source of serious addition revenues for the state coffers.

    • greywarbler 6.1


    • Once was Tim 6.2

      Why am I suddenly thinking about Sir Chris Finlayson and his UK ego-equivalent (affectionately known as ‘Dockyard Doris’) ?
      Either I’m a total arsehole or they’re complete egotists with delusions of grandeur (and/or – the options are not mutually exclusive)

  7. greywarbler 7

    Honours and royalty and the thirst for power, land, wealth, wine and women etc etc.
    I went to Shakespeare for quotes about releasing me from this pesky priest or whatever, thinking of Becket and seeing Pete George as a parallel subject. I fear he is going to hang around for ever like somebody’s ghost rattling his chains and moaning, PG that is.

    On the way I found there are some great quotes from the film Becket (I don’t know if they are Shakespeare’s originals) that you may find relevant or not. Diverting anyway.

    King Henry II: Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?

    King Henry II: Have you any idea how much trouble I took to make you noble?
    Thomas a Becket: I think so; I recall, you pointed a finger and said, “Thomas Becket, you are noble.” The Queen and your mother became very agitated.

    King Henry II: Am I the strongest or am I not?
    Thomas a Becket: You are today, but one must never drive one’s enemy to despair; it makes him strong. Gentleness is better politics, it saps virility. A good occupational force must never crush. It must corrupt.

    Useful social procedural advice.
    Thomas a Becket: Tonight you can do me the honor of christening my forks.
    King Henry II: Forks?
    Thomas a Becket: Yes, from Florence. New little invention. It’s for pronging meat and carrying it to the mouth. It saves you dirtying your fingers.
    King Henry II: But then you dirty the fork.
    Thomas a Becket: Yes, but it’s washable.
    King Henry II: So are your fingers. I don’t see the point.

    And perhaps as endpiece.
    King Henry II: Let us drink, gentlemen. Let us drink, till we roll under the table in vomit and oblivion.

    And refresher: Title card: In the year 1066, William the Conqueror crossed from France with his Norman army and conquered the Saxons of Britain at the Battle of Hastings. Henry II, his great grandson, continued to rule over the oppressed Saxon peasants, backed by the swords of his Barons and by the power of his imported Norman clergy.

  8. Having worked in the Horse Racing Business in the UK I was able to observe the “gentry” and very rich. I came to the conclusion very early that Titles and such were an insult to hard working people who never recieved
    titles regardless of the hard work they did/

    Most were paid for even the carried on military titles were often bought . The whole idea of titles is a farce and is a desire by some wealthy families to strengthen the class system .

    As for inherited title well what an insult to intelligent people . Just observe some of them useless parasites .
    My grandmother who was a wise elderly lady always said that the only title that was worth having was lady and gentleman innthe true sense .

  9. Richard McGrath 9

    Perhaps his decades of work at Douglas Pharmaceuticals might have had more relevance to his knighthood. However, it might be prudent in the future if members or funders of political parties were automatically disqualified from receiving honours.

    • McFlock 9.1

      disqualified from receiving honours from the parties that they donated to would be sufficient.

      And yes, this applies to all parties.

      • Murray Olsen 9.1.1

        Wouldn’t work. They’d do backroom deals to stick titles in front of each other’s lot. Better to just get rid of the anachronistic things.

    • miravox 9.2

      I’d rather disqualify honours.

  10. Jim Nald 10

    Well, among many things, there was the special inquiry this Government initiated just around Christmas in 2009 in relation to “improving New Zealand’s environment to support innovation through clinical trial”:


    Guess that is one piece that kinda makes sense in the bigger picture :-)

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