New Year: Doing the honours

Written By: - Date published: 8:01 am, December 31st, 2012 - 72 comments
Categories: capitalism, community democracy, The Standard - Tags:

The New Year Honours have been announced. (Sir) Bob Harvey has his faults, but he was the best option, and so I voted for him as mayor of Waitakere.  I look back on those days, of a democratic and community minded city council as the golden years, before the rise of  Rodney’s undemocratic Auckland Council CCOs.  Sir Mark Solomon, has contributed much in service to the communities he represents.   Sir Julian Smith of Allied Press. The Otago Daily Times continues to be one of the best dailies in NZ. Some very good sportspeople are in there with honours: Sir Mark Todd, always a likable sportsman.

For services to the corporate-dominated media, and the white guy establishment: Sir Paul Holmes.  Sir Owen Glenn?  In a way they suits that old, outdated British empirical title.

Then there’s several people with other honours, who I’m sure have contributed worthy and valuable services to their communities.  Dr Alan Bollard – CNZM. And a guy called Slater.

Top sportspeople do what they are dedicated to, well, and provide some good entertainment and inspiration for many people.

Many of the people who do most service to the community, go unnoticed and unnamed to the wider public.  To all the nurses, community workers, poverty activists, family carers, friend supporters, party members, left wing political activists, and those who work paid or unpaid for the benefit of the community and society: I honour you.  This year, as special thank-you to Labour Party Members.

And a special honour to Lynn Prentice for keeping this blog running so well.  Thanks also to Antony, Redlogix, Bill, Lynn, IrishBill, Mike Smith and all the authors here, and to all the commenters who help make this blog what it is, and especially those who I learn much from.

And a Happy New Year to Colonial Viper, where you may be.

May the New Year be a great one for all in these times of adversity.

72 comments on “New Year: Doing the honours ”

  1. Amen to that Karol and a happy new year to you too.

    My impression of the new year’s honors list is that it is bland and unrepresentative. Some token Maori Party selections, Bob Harvey to show that Key is a good bloke and will support even his political opponents and Owen Glenn to make doubly sure he will never again give money to Labour.

    And it is strange that Glenn avoids paying tax through the use of tax havens and donates part of what he should be paying in tax to charities. If an ordinary person tried this no doubt the full force of the law would be thrown at them.

    • The Al1en 1.1

      I like Sir Owen and what he does with his money.
      I wouldn’t send mine offshore, and only he can justify why he does so, but as an ignorant bystander, I’d rather see him than Bill English dishing it out.

      He can email me, any time.

      • mickysavage 1.1.1

        Do you prefer Alien that the payment of tax by the wealthy is voluntary and they can spend it on whatever charitable or, in the case of Alan Gibbs, crackpot scheme they wish?

        • Napkins 1.1.1.1

          Owen Glenn gets major credit for spending a lot of his own personal time, energy and money on the needs of ordinary people. If only our politicians had the guts to do the same, and to close the loopholes that financial capital takes advantage of every day.

          • Mickysavage 1.1.1.1.1

            Something I posted in open mike in June of this year …

            There was a very interesting review on Sunday’s Mediawatch program on Owen Glen’s recent public activity. Excerpts of interviews with Owen Glen were played.

            He is an unusual figure. He used to provide significant financial support to the Labour Party. More recent activity includes partially funding a University Lecture hall that proudly bears his name, buying into the warriors, and setting aside $80 million to address child poverty in New Zealand. It is clear that he enjoys the publicity.

            His approach could be contrasted with another philanthropist Hugh Green who, although wealthy, was very discrete with his philantrophic activity and never sought publicity. Green is quoted as saying, “I made a lot of money and I can’t spend it. So I decided to give it away and do something for somebody else.”

            As was rightfully pointed out in the Mediawatch program there was something jarring about Glenn’s generosity. He had taken active steps, including the setting himself up in Monarco, to minimise the amount of tax he paid. His generosity could be no more than what he should been paying in tax.

            Labour’s experience with him has made my personal views on state funding of political parties even stronger. It has to happen. Our political system should not be left to the whims of the wealthy and the attention seekers.

            It is a shame that when in power last time Labour ducked the issue and did not take the opportunity to establish it. I understand that Helen was actually keen but was talked out of it by others.

            • Alanz 1.1.1.1.1.1

              Monbiot, arguing in the UK context, on funding for political parties:

              “This, I think, is what a democratic funding system would look like: each party would be able to charge the same, modest fee for membership (perhaps £50). It would then receive matching funding from the state, as a multiple of its membership receipts. There would be no other sources of income. (This formula would make brokerage by trade unions redundant.)

              This system, I believe, would not only clean up politics, it would also force parties to re-engage with the public. It would oblige them to be more entrepreneurial in raising their membership, and therefore their democratic legitimacy. It creates an incentive for voters to join a party and to begin, once more, to participate in politics.

              The cost to the public would be perhaps £50m a year, or a little more than £1 per elector: three times the price of a telephone vote on The X Factor. This, on the scale of state expenditure, is microscopic.

              Politicians and the tabloid press would complain bitterly about this system, claiming, as they already do, that taxpayers cannot afford to fund politics. But when you look at how the appeasement of the banking sector has ruined the economy, at how corporate muscle prevents action from being taken on climate change, at the economic and political distortions caused by the system of crony capitalism, and at the hideous example on the other side of the Atlantic, you discover that we can’t afford not to.”

              http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/29/capitalism-bankrolls-politics-pay-price

            • Crimson Nile 1.1.1.1.1.2

              Let’s also remember about Glenn that he didn’t earn the bulk of his money in NZ, so his tax avoidance did not deprive the NZ Treasury of revenues.

              • Somewhere in some country there is a kid whose education or health has been adversely affected because a very wealthy person avoided paying tax.

                Glenn is rumored to be worth $1b.

                I wonder if he ever thought about how much wealth was sufficient and that he did not need any more.

                Kim Hill had an interesting phrase for some of the uber wealthy. She called them “psychotic kleptomaniacs” …

              • Morrissey

                Glenn is clearly a saint–a self-serving saint.

            • muzza 1.1.1.1.1.3

              University Lecture hall that proudly bears his name

              Interestingly OG was only the third name on the building in terms of monetary donations, behind the Govt $23m (that would be the taxpayer), some group referred only as anonymous $14m (not the hackers I dont expect), then Glenn $7m.

              Scratching my memory banks over the exact numbers, but in any case, he is not the major contributor, so then why does OG get his name *in-lights*

              You don’t get that rich being an honest man, period!

          • Morrissey 1.1.1.1.2

            Owen Glenn is a tax-dodger.

          • David H 1.1.1.1.3

            Well I do suppose the Warriors do keep some amused. as for his other contributions they always seem to come with conditions attached. There just seems to be an element of “Whats in it for me” from him. And he got it, this time. A useless title, that is as outdated as he is.

        • The Al1en 1.1.1.2

          Like I wrote, Micky, he has to justify that, not me.
          I bank with Kiwi bank to keep it all onshore, so I wouldn’t ever dip out on paying what’s due in taxes and stash it offshore, but then I’ve got sod all to hide away in the first place. 😉

          But I’m glad he’s putting his hand in his pocket and splashing it around for the common good.
          He can still call me.

        • Rogue Trooper 1.1.1.3

          like your thoughts ms, yours too Alanz; mozza 😉

      • Morrissey 1.1.2

        One thing in your post was true, Al1en: when you admitted you’re ignorant.

          • Morrissey 1.1.2.1.1

            Actually, Al1en, I know you’re not ignorant. Your posts are always thoughtful and interesting. When you started praising that muddle-headed Glenn fellow, however, I thought you were coming over all NewstalkZB on us.

            I’m glad to see you are better than that, though.

  2. Dr Terry 2

    Thanks for everything karol, and a very happy New Year to you! I don’t go for old, outdated empirical titles, as regrettably reintroduced by Key. I wonder why people should be rewarded in these ways for simply doing service to others in the spirit of altruism. To serve is reward enough in and of itself, as I see it.

    Anyway, my award goes to you karol for your splendid and informed contributions. This New Year message is much appreciated (“for all these times in adversity”, as you say) You are generous and inclusive and I am the better for having read your post.

    Terry

    • TiggerViper 2.1

      Agreed. These archaic titles belong in the 19th century, not the 21st. But concur, Karol deserves an award!

      • My grandmother used to say ,way back in the 1930’s that the only title that really mattered was lady and gentleman in the true meaning. \
        Looking at these so called honour’s it is obvious that most receivers are rich beyond reason /I must ask how do these types make so much money when the minimum wage is so low?

      • David H 2.1.2

        I agree. but sorry Karol, I for one am broke, but would a framed gold or silver top from a milk bottle do?? They do say it’s the though that counts 🙂

    • LynWiper 2.2

      Couldn’t have said it better myself Dr Terry! “You are generous and inclusive and I am the better for having read your post.” And yes TiggerViper she does deserve an award, for sheer output alone! Karol carry on the excellent job with all your posts and know that you are very much appreciated.

      Will also copy Karol’s accolade…

      “And a special honour to Lynn Prentice for keeping this blog running so well. Thanks also to Antony, Redlogix, Bill, Lynn, IrishBill, Mike Smith and all the authors here, and to all the commenters who help make this blog what it is, and especially those who I learn much from.

      And a Happy New Year to Colonial Viper, where you may be.

      May the New Year be a great one for all in these times of adversity.”

      Again, couldn’t have said it better myself!

      HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!

      • karol 2.2.1

        Thanks, all.

        I was going to mention all the authors by name/pseudonym, but was afraid I’d leave someone out. So I tried to mention all those I’m aware of who work on keeping the site running, do the moderating and/or were founders. Sorry if I missed out anyone crucial.

        I think my output of posts has been quite high lately because most of the regular authors seem to be on holiday.

        But I think, as well as the people I’ve already mentioned, we had some great posts this year from Eddie, James Henderson, Zetetic, QOT, as well as from various guest Posters…. anyone I left out?

        • r0b 2.2.1.1

          I think my output of posts has been quite high lately because most of the regular authors seem to be on holiday.

          We’ve always slowed right down on posts at this time of year. Like most of the rest of the country, the writers have families, and holidays, and things to do with the summer break that takes them far from computers. Speaking only for myself, I always try to take at least 3 weeks off writing and commenting over the summer. The break is very good for me.

          This comment is a very rare exception to my rule. But I wanted to thank karol for keeping things ticking over here so well while the rest of us are goofing off. Much appreciated!

          • rosy 2.2.1.1.1

            And a well deserved break it is too. I look forward to reading your posts when you return.

            We’ve just had a fine and frosty night ringing in the new year with fireworks, ‘the blue danube’ and ‘amadeus’. The champagne getting colder in the glass as we waited. Prosit Neu Jahr / Guten Rutsch to you r0b and all posting and commenting on The Standard.

    • Tracey 2.3

      ++++++1

      By far the majority of folks doing genuinely great altruistic work in NZ do not get honoured.

  3. Chris 3

    Great to see Wendy Pye there.

  4. If we’re dishing out honours, I’d like to give an Oscar to Peter Dunne.
    Ghostbusters was on tv the other evening, and the line “Yes, it’s true. This man has no dick” made me think of him.

    For the no doubt pre prepared and well rehearsed retort on Backbenchers, in reply to “Where were you?” re: The asset sales vote.

    Something else for him to polish in his long overdue retirement.

    • Sosoo 4.1

      Oh come on. As Pete George would tell you if he were here, Peter Dunne is the most well endowed man in parliament, if not on the planet. Let’s face facts: our wives are all lying back and thinking of Peter Dunne.

  5. marsman 5

    Thank you for your great posts Karol. May you have a Joyful New Year.

  6. Skinny 6

    The sooner New Zealand & Australia become republic’s the better. Replicating England with their monarchy and class structure shows we haven’t come of age as a nation. How captains of industry get knighthoods is beyond me.

    Helen Clark made the right move installing order of New Zealand titles.

    Also I can’t stand people referring to people as ‘Gentleman & Lady’ as these titles were designed by the wealthy elite class too separate the rich from the poor!

    Thumbs up too all the volunteers out there doing good deeds with no need of recognition 🙂   

  7. Peter 7

    Julian Smith deserves the knight hood, largely in my view for the way the ODT (and eventually, the Fairfax owned Southland Times as well) campaigned to keep neurosurgery services at Dunedin Hospital, in the face of a concerted campaign by Christchurch interests (and the Minister) to remove them.

    That alone will save dozens of lives of Otago / Southland residents each year.

  8. tc 8

    Hide and Holmes get another decoration from their masters for ably assisting the great kiwi swindle.

    Really drags down their value IMO when a shock jock and serial rorter get a gong, can’t say Tony astle rates but then he does run Shonkeys favourite overpriced frog food outlet.

      • Morrissey 8.1.1

        Antoine’s owner, Tony Astle, has been reported as saying he donated the money because he “loved” Mr Key, who was a longstanding customer at his restaurant.

        • tc 8.1.1.1

          Who wouldn’t love a repeat customer paying those high prices to rub shoulders with the other 1%’ers.

          Antoine’s is such an old school joint which his punters clearly love so good luck to him but a new years honour oh pleeaasse it’s hardly a risk taking venture breaking new ground in cuisine. Standard Frog fare done many times all over the globe.

          There’s probably a private dining room where they eat off servants a-la blackadder 3 it’s still the most expensive fare and sniffy service I’ve experienced in NZ right up the elite alley.

          • Morrissey 8.1.1.1.1

            Chalk up the Astle honour as another victory for crawling sycophancy.

          • David H 8.1.1.1.2

            Is that the Frog fare where you have to move the potato and pea to find the shred of ‘meat’. Where you need to stop at the local BK after, to get that filled feeling?

  9. Once again people here have to bring up race. in the new years honors list or who the person voted for.

    That shouldnt matter, it should be what they did for the community.

    • Crimson Nile 9.1

      Funny how you just brought up race

    • karol 9.2

      I was kind in my post to Holmes. I could have explicitly brought up his infamous reference to Kofi Annan, among other things. But, since you want to talk about the issue, Brett, I’ve just mentioned it.

      • Morrissey 9.2.1

        And you could have mentioned his instruction to television viewers to “prepare to go ballistic” about a Tauranga iwi’s land right claim—he was found to have yet again breached broadcasting ethics after that one.

        And then there was his chuckling about the torture and murder of captives in U.S. custody in Afghanistan: “Haw, haw, haw, they won’t like that, will they!” he chortled.

        And then there was his deranged Herald article earlier this year, to mark Waitangi Day, pouring out his scorn for and hatred of Maori.

        Then there was his enthusiastic reiteration of calls by the extreme right to assassinate Julian Assange.

        And, perhaps worst of all, there was the god-awful Paul Holmes C.D., where he managed to butcher “Wichita Lineman”, “Sundown” and “You’ve Got a Friend” and every other song on the album…
        http://www.last.fm/music/Paul+Holmes
        http://www.trademe.co.nz/music-instruments/cd/compilations/auction-141748013.htm

        • McFliper 9.2.1.1

          I gotta say, we disagree a lot, but I reckon you deserve credit for reading PH’s Herald opinion pieces. Someone’s got to keep an eye on the prick. A right to assassinate Assange? Shit.

          • The Al1en 9.2.1.1.1

            Sympathy knighthoods for racists? Whatever next?
            Arise Sir Paul Henry, but only if they pull the stake out of his heart first.

            • the pigman 9.2.1.1.1.1

              Not to worry – the Word on the Street is that Paul Holmes is likely to be one of the shortest-serving knights of the order. That’s assuming the Queen doesn’t send Sir Owen Glenn on a quixotic quest to defeat the Legendary Black Beast of Aaaaarrrrrrggghhh.

              • karol

                Yes. I did note that according to the 3News report, Sir Paul indicated that it was likely he wouldn’t be with us long. He’s actually relatively young to be in such poor health.

          • xtasy 9.2.1.1.2

            It may sound cruel, but it even goes on through my family, fate seems to hit back at some time down the line.

            Those who once were so self assured, mean even, or ignorant and hurt others, later in life sometimes at least, get struck by events and health issues, that will give them reason to review their whole lives and what they once may have stood for and said.

            So I am struggling at times, but I try to be kind to the people I may have been very much in dispute with, or even angry about, as later they may experience suffering and misery, that somehow seems to “balance” anything that happened before.

            It could one day even hit any of us, who may have been overly bold on some arguments, actions or whatever, life is a strange, interesting, but certainly “teaching” course of an “event” to all of us.

            Hence I have a lot of respect for the elderly and also very disadvantaged sick and disabled, who have little strenght to fight for anything, which though often is dished out to them, leaving them little reason to live a life of respect, dignity and purpose.

            Much to think about. Happy new year – 2013.

            I remember Winston Peters’ last speech in 2012, and he hit out at Banks, saying, the election will be before 2014. My worry is, is the left, especially Labour “prepared”, as he might once again be right on this?!

  10. Logie97 10

    … just a question of semantics perhaps, but how does one do service to philanthropy?
    Knight Companion ” … for services to philanthropy.”

  11. Tracey 11

    I believe honours ought to go to those who do something other than their “job”. Which is exactly what the “lower” honours are for. Suddenly at the top the honours are for things already amply rewarded.

    For example benig a successful sportsperson who has won medals or trophies, the medals and trophies, and for many men, the money, is reward enough.

    Allan Bollard was well remunerated for his job as was Brash before him, automatic honours like that belittle those who do genuine voluntary and selfless work.

    Mr Glen has shown accolades can be bought, but at least the 100m was spent in NZ.

    To be rewared for something you have already been rewarded for by ample remuneration or medals or cups you need, imo, to have done something well and truly beyond the call of duty.

    Go to government house one day and watch the people get their honours, the people at the bott of the triangle have often given far more of their time and money in proportion tot heir earnings etc than those at the top of the triangle.

  12. Murray Olsen 12

    Knighthoods belong in the 13th Century, where they actually had to hop on horses and run each other through with lances. These days they are political and cringeworthy, especially when given to the likes of Hide and Holmes.

    Happy New Year to all my fellow left wingers on here, no matter how left of that imaginary centre you are. My own political involvement tends to be run by passion and I am not as inclined to research details as some of you, maybe because that reminds me of my job. I appreciate those of you who are prepared to do real research and make the results available to us all, as much as I appreciate those who make this blog available.

    Forward to 2013 in solidarity! Kia kaha!

  13. coolas 13

    Knighthoods need to be abolished, again. They’re elitist crap. Hordes of people contribute positively to society in ways that don’t make headlines and millions of dollars. Our country thrives on the efforts of the many, not the achievements of a spotlit few.

  14. ak 14

    Jeebus aitch fracking cripes…I thought sir fay was the scum-scraping nadir of the montypythonisation of these poor isles, but glen? holmes? Just shoot me now before someone else rips off the taxpayer or wins the lottery, donates to the tories and we get sir paul henry and sir tau….or dame hekiaaaaaaaaaargh!

    On the silver lining side, that these poor wretches are forced to (literally) buy into the fatcat mutual jacking-off club to get their kicks, proves the desperate barrenness of their sad little existences…..gold plated viagra for the flaccid flotsam of torydom…public masturbation of the most cringeworthy kind, and a disgusting insult to all worthy achievers of the past.

    Nek development on the downward reputational spiral that has no end? NZ’s leading current affairs programme brought to you by the keyster’s piss-buddies, those talented sirs garner and espiner.

  15. stever 15

    Yeah, these people need to get some real class….I see Danny Boyle latest thing—the 2012 Olympics opening) turned his down (in the UK) and let everyone know…only way to undermine is for talented people to publicly ridicule the things.

    • Morrissey 15.1

      Most of the people who receive knighthoods get them after a lifetime of working in bureaucracies and charming their way to the top. In many cases—Tony Astle, Rodney Hide and “Sir” Paul Holmes are particularly egregious examples—they get rewarded for shameless, persistent groveling and toadying. Knights and Dames and CBEs and MBEs and QSOs and all the rest of them are just not constitutionally inclined to question, leave alone reject, such emoluments.

      Danny Boyle is very much an exception—he is not only a supremely talented director, but he is a thoughtful and serious person, and has a social conscience. The contrast with our own “Sir” Peter Jackson could not be greater.

  16. Rogue Trooper 16

    New Model Army
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0iN4Ql-x1Bs

    Top New Years “honours”
    Lawyers, Guns, and Money
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPlMmwOq7U8

    (when johnny strikes up the band)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8j06Hmd6P0

    He’ll come gunnin for you and leave ya rollin’ in the aisles
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dyUzUxE_2w

    Tomorow Wendy’s going to Fly
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqpYqTtIhVs
    it is complete now

    To all the unrecognised saviours of our communities.

    (no method, no guru, just teacher) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brS_V8hFUoQ

  17. KhandallaViper 17

    Labour got rid of theses stupid titles as soon as we had the new honours system ready.
    Labour will get rid of them again, when they are returned to the Treasury benches.
    Before lunchtime.

  18. Ian 18

    Medieval British titles here in NZ in 2013. Ridiculous.

    • Napkins 18.1

      A society needs to formally recognise those who have consistently contributed to it in outstanding ways. Therefore an honours system is very important. One which holds gravitas throughout the Commonwealth even more so. The fact that a racist like Paul Holmes have been chosen to receive knighthoods is an issue to do with who is administering the system, not the system itself.

      Ian, knighthoods are not “medieval” in the sense you are trying to imply (obsolete or barbaric I assume), quite the opposite they have stood the test of time. Like the Gregorian Calendar, arabic numerals and our major festival days. And more so than any other system of honours you might be able to suggest.

      • colonial locus 18.1.1

        I agree that a system which bestows recognition and respect … from the nation … for the services given to others is an important element of a good society.

        However, I would argue that there are many across the commonwealth who do not hold with the archaic monarchic system which distributes hierarchal titles.

        Enough of the forelock tugging hat in the hand bowing and scraping…

    • rosy 18.2

      +1 I tend to ignore them – the titles anyway. Congratulations to community workers awarded medals for selfless service, although it would be better if these medals were in thanks from New Zealand not the monarchy.

      Those who got titles were already rewarded for their jobs with money and status. A title is not something I acknowledge.

  19. xtasy 19

    Tonight I am wiping my bum with most of these “honours” that have routinely and customarily been spread around again, well predicted stuff really!

    I may give the odd one credit, but I will refrain from names, for good enough reasons.

    It seems to me that this whole process is done every year, to check through some lists of names, to see, who has been doing what for so many years, who got famous, a name, who did some good or prominent, who got profile and whatever.

    Yet awarding some “honour” of sorts to Rodney Hide (former ACT Party leader), that proved to me tonight, this is stuff for the silly season, as that man has deserved next to no genuine “honour” in the roles he filled in my eyes.

    Hence, ripe for printed toilet tissue, making a real good wash-away joke for much of this!

    • Mary 19.1

      Yes, I find many of the reasons some of these people receive these awards for as rather ironic. For service to “commerce” or “entrepreneurship” or to “business”. Bob Jones, Michael Fay – the list goes on. For “service”, yes, for service.

  20. higherstandard 20

    Congratulations to all those recognised in the New Years honours list.

    • colonial locus 20.1

      Definitely…..and also to the many unsung or unknown hard working generous altruistic people who deserve our respect and recognition

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