PM eyes fetching tiara

Written By: - Date published: 6:14 pm, March 8th, 2009 - 61 comments
Categories: john key, national - Tags:

Inside sources report John has his eye on this very attractive pearl tiara

Inside sources report John has his eye on this very attractive pearl tiara

The world may be going to hell in a hand-basket and National may have been pretty derelict so far in coming up with any real plan to combat the recession, but clearly they’ve been busy focusing on the really important business of dragging us back into the past.

The British titles of Knights and Dames are to be re-introduced, no doubt to the great relief of those who need a colonial backdrop for our sense of national identity. I’d always appreciated the fact that those we chose to recognize received honours that didn’t include titles that placed them above everyone else, that didn’t need Mother England’s endorsement to make them special, and which instead echoed the egalitarianism many New Zealanders hold dear. But now it’s back to forelock-tugging deference to Sir This and Dame That. The decree will have retrospective scope so those eligible to pick up their freshly minted tiaras now include Jenny Shipley, Stephen Tindall, Pinetree Meads and Russell Coutts, on account of them having already received New Zealand honours.

With “get to be PM” now firmly crossed off, the Prime Minister will be pleased he can put ‘get to be called Sir John’ back on his list of Things I Really Want But Can’t Buy. Apparently ‘this is about celebrating success‘ –  I can’t help but think it’s more about celebrating the serfdom that comes from pompous institutionalized privilege. A brave and visionary step backwards in this time of need for real leadership.

61 comments on “PM eyes fetching tiara”

  1. I’m really not sure why so many New Zealanders feel threatened by knighthoods and damehoods.

    New Zealand adopted and adapted Britain’s language, laws and system of government. What’s wrong with adopting and adapting methods of recognising individuals for their achievements? I’m fully against the idea of hereditary titles, but if an individual can be recognised for a life’s work with a prefix, why not?

    I’d like to think we’re mature enough to handle titles in a modern context and not interpret them as if we’re living in bygone hyper-classist Britain – our egalitarian nature doesn’t disappear when confronted with a titled person. I’m sure we’re all still capable of rubbishing Sir Roger Douglas’ and Dame Jenny Shipley’s failed policies – though the selection process for honours recipients has something to answer for in those cases.

    • New Zealand adopted and adapted Britain’s language, laws and system of government. What’s wrong with adopting and adapting methods of recognising individuals for their achievements? I’m fully against the idea of hereditary titles, but if an individual can be recognised for a life’s work with a prefix, why not?

      Because aristocracy was one of the things we very explicitly rejected here. As was social heirarchy. We had a queen, but we didn’t have lords, or peasants – and when people tried to establish that system, we used our new democracy to prevent it.

      Egalitarianism has always been the kiwi ideal. Knighthoods and the aristocratic baggage that come with them directly contradict that ideal. And that is why Labour eventually got rid of them – and why the wanna-be aristocrats in the National Party want to reimpose them.

  2. sweeetdisorder 2

    And the funny thing is the left will now spend the next two weeks and 10 different threads discussing this, until the next misdirection that Key throws at you.

    • lprent 2.1

      Because it is funny discussing exactly how much of a brown-nose Key is. How long before he is responding like a poodle to the USA military? “When requested to jump on command, John Key asked how high and what he could lick on the way down”

  3. Graeme 3

    Why will you be tugging your forelock?

    I’m pretty sure I won’t.

  4. simon 4

    It seems such a step backwards, does natact incorporated have so little to do that it focusses on such baubles rather than economic issues !

    This comes from Brit whom is an empire loyalist at heart.

  5. gobsmacked 5

    News, October 2011:

    “Sir Paul Holmes and Dame Paul Henry today reacted angrily to critics’ suggestions that they had been soft on the National-led government. Sir Paul pointed out that only last month he had pressed the Prime Minister with searching questions about his favourite breakfast cereal and the colour of his tie. Spluttered Sir Paul: “I mean, really – just look at Britain, where politicians have been giving media barons these baub – er, sorry, these traditional honours – for many years, with no effect whatsoever on their independence and integrity.”

  6. grumpy 6

    Who wants to run a book on there being a :-

    Dame Helen Clark
    Sir Michael Cullen
    Dame Margaret Wilson???

    • I like the odds on that: my five cents says never.
      The titles will be accepted by more deserving types like Sir Rodney Hide and Dame Judith Collins

    • Wilson will be eligible to claim the title under the proposed changes. But I am hoping she – and the others – will refuse.

  7. Janet 7

    Helen Clark and Margaret Wilson will get top honours as speakers and Prime Ministers tend to through protocol. But I bet they would not opt for the use of the title Dame.

    What a joke and PR distraction this backward step is in a time when jobs are melting away as quickly as the glaciers.

    • Graeme 7.1

      Margaret Wilson already got her DCNZM. She’ll get the option of changing it to a Damehood (as will Jenny Shipley).

      If Helen Clarks gets the same one, she won’t have the option.

    • Tim Ellis 7.2

      I doubt Helen Clark will get the DCNZM or the PCNZM. Like Bolger, I think she’s more likely to get the higher ONZ, which doesn’t come with a title.

  8. Felix 8

    Firstly, I quite like the titles of Sir and Dame as the highest honours. The NZ ones (I can’t even remember what they’re called) just never seemed to have much prestige to them.

    Secondly, it’s good to see that the govt is totally focused on combating the recession.

  9. Concerned of Tawa 9

    So will Labour support this decision like they did with the repeal of Electoral Finance Act?

  10. vto 10

    so predictable

  11. TBA 11

    Its completely expected that those who dumped the old honour system to come out against this move but it should be remembered that they got rid of the old system without any sort of public consultation or support.

    Personally though I don’t care either way (probably as I don’t ever expect to have to worry about being knighted) however it is nice to return to a system where the titles are clear and understood by all.

    As for the titles Knight and Dame being not New Zealand etc, to me thats like saying the New Zealand flag is ours because it incorporates the Union Jack.

  12. Snail 12

    What’s it cost..?

    • @ work 12.1

      There’s quite a significant element of oppertunity cost, fiddling with petty irrelevant bull shit, easily solved by introducing the chance for recipients to choose for themselves which of the 2 they want, while the economy is in the state that it is…

    • BLiP 12.2

      The real cost is that this whole thing is, really, inconsequential to the actual goings on in Parliament. Yet, it will amount to acres of newsprint, hours of television, and days of talk-back filled with nonsense churned-up by indolent journalists who would be better employed investigating, researching, fact checking and writing actual news. Its a distraction to keep the villagers amused in the town square while the goblins sneak around the back doors of the empty houses stealing money.

      Another cost is the blow to New Zealanders from a government so cynical it would employ so devious a PR tactic for so venal an aim.

      Its important that it be dissected in the blogsphere so that the victims can begin to see the patterns and commence the three year process it will take to join the dots and catch up with the real agenda National has for us all. Is it too much to hope that the next PR sleight of hand might not be so cynical, devious and venal?

  13. National and their supporters like this, because it reminds us that there is a social order, and that there are people who are more special than us ordinary people.

    Labour’s move was a political one – not only did it represent a break from a system that had thousand year old class legacies explicitly built into it, but it was part of building a more egalitarian society, with social mobility rather than entrenched positions.

  14. Before any of you get too uppity about this. Lets remind ourselves why Jonathon Hunt got to sit at the same table as Edmund Hilary?
    Anybody?
    Didn’t think so.
    Surely it was not for services to the taxi industry?
    Or Cathay Pacific first Class?
    Or maybe for having the brass neck to apply for a British pension within a week of arriving in London as our highly paid high commissioner?
    Or perhaps for scampering back to his car to shelter from the rain leaving the Queen to stand at the cenotaph with our less feeble commonwealth allies?
    Pffft.
    He got the honour as a thank you from Helen Clark for mentoring her into Parliament.
    Hardly splitting an atom or knocking the bugger off.

    I hold no truck with titular honours by any label but making Hunt a MONZ debased that honour for all time.

  15. Pascal's bookie 15

    “however it is nice to return to a system where the titles are clear and understood by all”

    So what is the diffrence between an OBE MBE KCMG’s and all the rest? Which one’s gets you knighted/Damed?

    No googling.

  16. Pat 16

    Hunt got it for being speaker. Just like PM it seems to be automatically bestowed. Maybe someone can explain why.

    All hail Sir Lockwood Smith!

  17. Karl Marx 17

    Can I be a Sir?

  18. RedLogix 18

    Deck chairs. Titanic.

  19. Felix, I know what Ed Hilary said. I used the term bugger deliberately .

  20. Janet 20

    Roger Douglas, Bob Jones, Ron Brierley et al show that knighthoods are generally for rich business men, not leaders who have earned public respect.

  21. Chris 21

    Bill Birch getting knighted destroyed the whole system for me.

    However, I retain the right to ‘knight’ my own choices – so it’s Sir Paul, Dame Helen, but Mr Birch for me.

  22. QoT 22

    I don’t suppose they’ve even bothered going through the motions of looking at granting Dames’ husbands a title comparative to Knights’ wives’ “Lady Suchandsuch”?

    OH WAIT NO THAT WOULD REQUIRE THIS BEING A WELL-THOUGHT-THROUGH, SERIOUS MANOEUVRE AND NOT KOWTOWING TO THE OLD BOYS’ CLUB.

  23. Quoth the Raven 23

    I personally think that we should scrap the whole honours system altogether. People do not need their achievements recognised by the the state. Being recognised by their peers ought to be enough without some state sanctioned aggrandizement. Anyone who takes the title Sir or Dame is in my book an utter cunt worthy of no recognition.

    • I totally agree with you, although I would describe them as arseholes. Cunts are generally wonderful things, and produce goodness. Arseholes, on the other hand…

    • Graeme 23.2

      Come on, that’s a little over the top, isn’t it?

      Was Sir Ed really that bad?

      • Tigger 23.2.1

        You know George, for someone who got all prissy about my supposed ‘malicious outing’ (an oxymoron if I ever heard one) you certainly have a potty mouth. To use your words – “not cool”.

      • George Darroch 23.2.2

        Sir Ed received his knighthood in 1953. That was a bloody long time ago.

  24. Lew 24

    It’s just the usual suspects saying the usual things on here. Including Graeme, though his usuals are better than many. Look, I can do it too:

    John Key is trying to restore a little bit of social confidence – a wee bit of much-needed colonial grit; a quiet appeal to a bygone era where things were much harder than they are now, and yet we pulled through. From that perspective (and bearing in mind that most of the electorate are not hyper-critical and slightly paranoid iconoclastic partisans with an entrenched fear of authority, it seems a fairly good use of limited resources in the name of team spirit.

    L

  25. bobo 25

    How about renaming to “New Zealand Order of Jedi”, how much will the renaming process cost the tax payer? Will they be making new medals or sending out rebate Sir/Dame gift certificates. Sounds like more bureaucracy and double handling to me for nothing more than ego massaging.

  26. Tigger 26

    This distraction from the FTA deal going pear-shaped is about as stealthy as a freight train. This move is all over the news while the death of the FTA is getting lost in the shuffle. Nice spin.

    That said, the FTA was a loser but as others have pointed out we lost most of what we were going to give away anyway so we might as well have benefitted from that.

  27. DavidW 27

    Would those expressing their faux outrage, claims of serfdom and class division just take a deep breath and put Marx down for a minute. Then calmly, without any bile or bitterness tell me how Sir Colin Meads, Sir Peter Blake, Sir Ed Hillary or Dame Kiri te Kanawa represent class division, elitism, cronyism retrodrade colonialism, or any other neo-wankerish -ism!

    Someone might actually take you seriously if you can!

    • QoT 27.1

      Darn right, DavidW! Opera singers, rugby players and people able to partake in professional yachting and mountaineering are TOTALLY on a par with checkout workers in Porirua! The fact that three of your examples are upper-middle-class white men, and the other is a Maori woman whose fame is built on being talented in a traditionally upper-class entertainment form, is a total coincidence.

      • George Darroch 27.1.1

        Ed Hillary got his knighthood very promptly because the news came on the day Elizabeth Windsor was made queen. It was a wonderful feel-good/propaganda moment for the monarchy, whose subjects had conquered the previously unconquerable.

        He was pretty lower class, actually, but just saying it would have taken longer if not for that consequence.

        But these counterexamples DavidW uses prove the rule – that these are for people who are in the elite of society (merchant bankers, establishment politicians), or have been accepted into it.

  28. Rosa 28

    Does anyone know where the push for this came from ?

    Or how it has any relevance to an increasingly democratic distribution of economic difficulty in a crisis which knowledgeable commentators have described as being ‘worse than the Great Depression’ ?

  29. Kerry 29

    there are no words to describe the gross stupidity in going back to this british system.

    Aparently you are only successful if you get a knighthood….how sad and pathetic!

    Keys only doing this for himself and all those ex nat cronies who need a title to validate their existance….keys gonna do a Muldoon…wait til hes given the boot by the NZ people and then put himself forward for a “sir”.

    PATHETIC and shows what the nats consider important!

  30. Snail 30

    Lew, Bobo, Rosa, Tigger, Kerry and doubtless others above them in this thread.. one point of sir-dom and dame-don is/are the fees-for-appearance and remunerations generally..

    Perinent today is a reported remark by the late Labour PM, David Lange, who, having been told of his former colleague, Roger Douglas’ sir-dom, said: I guess he’s one who’ll take bigger fees.. speaking rights..

    Not too long ago we learned of the aforementioned picking up 10 grand with all travel and other expenses paid to boast the wonders of office in NZ’s Ministry of Finance. Couldn’t say what the fellow gets today, but I’m of little doubt that all such ‘recognitions’ will shift upward..

    This in mind when I asked earlier: what does it cost? Only to have ‘these things are priceless’-type responses not register here.

    ps: some of my acquaintances suggest that another cost is the sir-dom and dame-dom code of silence. So to say, the other side of the coin, nee medal.

  31. Tigger 31

    Snail, a friend just mentioned to me that apparently it gets you ‘traction’ (money/opportunities) overseas (especially in the US)…and better seats on planes. Not sure about the latter but the former sounds right.

  32. noleftie 32

    It’s a great move and yet another blow to the previous regime’s sad legacy.

    One of the reasons I laughed so loud during last year’s election campaign was the Trust theme disastrously run by Labour.

    What election was it that New Zealanders voted to removed Knighthoods, The Privy Council, the Air Force, Lightbulbs?

    I guess this is what happens when a handful of socialist tragics decide to impose their will on the rest of the country….the country eventually pushes back.

    • QoT 32.1

      It’s masterful, noleftie, the way you go from WHEN DID WE VOTE FOR THIS, HUH? into implying that a “handful of socialist tragics” “imposed their will” on the country … as if to say they seized power without the benefit of several elections or anything.

  33. BLiP 33

    Anyone who takes up this obseqious option will be subject to ridicule.

    Was this one of the “other” ideas that came out of the Goober’s Gab Fest? Something about the coountry needing to better recognise its success stories. Or is it because Key made a fool of himself by not knowing who among his fellow gabbers had received an honour.

  34. Tigger 34

    And are they to remain sexist? The wife of a Sir becomes a Dame but the husband of a Dame doesn’t get Sir.

    • QoT 34.1

      Graeme up-thread has a link to a document which mentions this, but only to say husbands of Dames still don’t get titles and it’s in the “too hard” basket.

  35. bobo 35

    Change for change sake costs money, still no mention of the cost to tax payer on this.. I thought the initial step of moving away from knighthoods and Privy council was in readiness at some point in future for a republic, I personally liked the Privy council and didn’t agree with Labours move on this as it was a valuable impartial court of last resort. This whole issue I agree is a smokescreen which doesn’t effect the everyday person unlike other national planned policies, any rumours on the student loan interest freeze going the same way as the ice caps with this downturn most likely to increase student numbers?

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