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Ye olde royal titles

Written By: - Date published: 9:57 am, March 11th, 2009 - 28 comments
Categories: national - Tags: , , ,

Brian Rudman has a good piece this morning on the Earl of Auckland’s backwards-looking decision to reinstate a “ridiculous regime of titles dating back to feudal times”.

The best quote’s from Sister Pauline (herself a Distinguished Companion of the NZ Order of Merit):

I can’t believe the Government is tinkering around with this kind of thing when the world’s teetering on the edge of economic collapse.

Hear hear.

28 comments on “Ye olde royal titles”

  1. BLiP 1

    Rock on Brian – the one voice of reason at the New Zealand Fox-News Herald.

  2. vto 2

    I don’t see why people are all het up over this. It is a nod and acceptance of past culture and tradition, which clearly much of NZ wants. Maori have been doing similar for the last couple of decades, and good on them, so why the differential approach by some commentators between cultures and their traditions? This difference has a racist smell to it.

    • Pascal's bookie 2.1

      I for one am not het up, but a bit exasperated.

      Not quite sure what you mean by “Maori have been doing similar for the last couple of decades”, but ‘Maori’ are not the state, so that’s one reason for the differential treatment. Similar to how the churches hand out funny hats and titles to all sorts of people and no one really minds.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.2

      It is a nod and acceptance of past culture and tradition, which clearly much of NZ wants.

      Really, got any actual statistics for that assertion?

      Captcha: $200,000 anteroom – just what the Jonkey ordered?

  3. all_your_base 3

    Get over yourself vto. It’s got nothing to do with race and everything to do with class.

  4. Matthew Pilott 4

    Sure vto, it’s racist for people to disagree with going back to an archaic and aristocratic class-based honours system when you agree that indigenous people of New Zealand might want to honour their traditions.

    I don’t see it I’m afraid. Could also level that claim back at you, for trying to equate the two.

  5. vto 5

    Get over myself? For fucks sake, some of you lefties are getting abusive lately. Kiwiblog clone gimps.

    I do see a race issue tied up in this. Can I not express that? Only issues you deem appropriate?

    What is wrong with past traditions from one of NZ’s larger cultures? If it had been Maori firing up one of their past traditions everyone would be happy with it. And from a culture with similar levels of class and silver spoon traditions as the English.

    And if you are such an expert on all this then explain, if it is “everything to do with class” as you say, how classless kiwis can achieve such an honour with just a lifetime of work and effort for their communities.

    • lprent 5.1

      I can’t fathom why NACT is pissing about with this. I was born in 1959, was drafted into turning up at Eden Park to view the queen when I was in primary school. But the whole thing of the “British Empire” or the “British Monarchy” has absolutely no relevance to me.

      In fact the whole honours system either NZ or British seems archaic and a waste of effort. If someone is looking to contribute to the community with their time and effort, then having a meaningless title is hardly likely to be an incentive. So what are these things for? To get people who wouldn’t otherwise do anything to do something?

      I suppose we’ll have to wait until the people indoctrinated in the first half of last century to die out before this ludicrous process is terminated. Until then it acts as an interesting distraction for NACT to avoid working on real issues.

      • vto 5.1.1

        I agree lprent, it makes a great political diversion and assists with vote-cementing a further bloc I’m sure.

        I think you’re right re change only coming with generational change. As with so much in life.

        But a society always honours its achievers etc. This is one way our society has done it and wishes to do it a little longer. It has a certain quaint charm, as well as some beef behind it. It’s harmless.

        Where the resistance to its reinstatement comes from imo, as insider says, is a cultural cringe and a long established anti to anything pommy. Which I suffer from myself – bloody poms are overrunning the place!

        • Chess Player 5.1.1.1

          “it makes a great political diversion and assists with vote-cementing a further bloc I’m sure.”

          You mean like when Labour let the Greens push the smacking bill through, causing a huge furore in the media, so that no-one would notice that at the same time they were selling the West coast black-sand mining rights to the Chinese?

          Back on topic, my opinion is that most people will see this as an irrelevancy in the wider scheme of things, as they have better things to worry about. People I speak to get more emotionally het up about ‘who’ gets an award, rather than ‘what’ title the award actually has.

    • Quoth the Raven 5.2

      Vto – Have I not been complaining about Maori elitism here? Aristocratic Maori culture and aristocratic european culture are both terrible and we ought to deplore them both.
      Vto it’s not who gets the titles but the fact that there are titles. No one needs a state sanctioned title to raise themselves above the rest. They have their achivements for that and anything else is wankery. I thought all you right wingers had read Atlas Shrugged. Ayn Rand would be very disapproving.

      • vto 5.2.1

        QtR, I deplore elitism as much as anyone. But this differs a little – people seem to be happy to lift most of these sirs and dames up and hold them in higher regard for their efforts. Perhaps that is why it is accepted here – because it is awarded for “their efforts” not because of their lineage. As such it is elitism in appearance only and not in reality

        Ayn Rand? many ‘rightwingers’ are completely mixed up with ‘left’. Look at Act and Labour.

  6. insider 6

    so the argument is, becasue we are in economically troubled times the Government should do nothing else except deal with the economy. Brilliant! So that means we can disband the ministries of health and education then. Imagine the savings available for stimulatory tax cuts.

    Thing that annoys me is the glib dismissal that something is old means it is not relevant. I mean the Bill of Rights is a throwback to feudal times Magna Carta anyone? so are jury trials, habeas corpus, the common law. Hell, let’s just dump them too as symbols of an imperial past that we have moved beyond because we are just so grown up now that we don’t need these remnants.

    If I said get rid of certain ancient Maori cultural practices that are valued for the cultural continuity they provide just because they are old fashioned, judging on past form, I’d probably be labelled a racist. But for Pakeha who might value such continuity, it’s a colonial cringe or a mediaeval throw back and can be sneered at with impunity. No it’s not cultural cringe it’s a double standard.

    • TightyRighty 6.1

      you can’t say that insider. the liberal fascists will accuse you of being a post-colonial colonialism-denier who harbours entrenched racist views that run counter-productively to the prevailing view. that to give titles to the fat-cat bourgousijsijs is to just encourage them in their relentless pusuit of providing jobs and stimulus to the economy as a cover for seeking massive profit.

    • Matt Holland 6.2

      You miss the point. All those things you mention require effort and action. Not re-instating these titles would have required no effort or action… in other words they could have been attempting to do something useful with their time as unlikely as that actually is…

      Actually come to think of it… maybe it is better for NACT to keep themselves busy with this drivel and stop mucking with the stuff that already works by pretending it doesn’t.

    • BLiP 6.3

      Health and education are integral to the economy – sitting around fiddling and looking for ways to slap mates on the back is a waste of time and indicative of a government floundering around looking for distractions to divert attention away from the massive theft from the public purse – ironically, by the same people it will seek to “honour”.

      Hanging people is also an old tradition – shall we brang that back too? How about making spousal rape legal as well?

  7. Insider

    Knighthoods are a cultural throwback to a time when the class system was alive and kicking and some people considered themselves better than others. We do not need to forever hold onto those cultural practices that cannot be justified or are just plain crazy.

    The Magna Carta was a good thing. It sought to put limitations on the monarchy and increase the strength of democratic institutions. Calling someone a “Sir” or a “Dame” runs counter to this.

    And the argument is that New Zealand is hurtling towards a huge pile of doggy do left by the shenanigans of Wall Street and GWB. Our elected government ought to be focused on coping with this. Instead of this we have a cycle way, some scab picking populist policies and cutting back on government expenditure and employees at a time when the Government ought to be opening up its wallet and spending, preferably on an environmentally sustainable future like Barack Obama is.

    Come back Helen …

  8. Ianmac 8

    John Key had a childhood dream that he would one day be PM.
    Tick.
    John Key had a boyhood dream that he would become a Sir. Tick.

    • Snail 8.1

      The one thing he won’t be doing is:—

      John Key has a dream that one day he would become a Dame.. huh

      silly me 🙂

  9. Kevin Welsh 9

    Obviously part of the Election payback.

    Any bets that every New Zealander on the political right who has the option to upgrade their gong does so?

  10. vto 10

    This reinstatement, I also thought, is part of a push back against the wave of changes that labour made to NZ. Such things as removal of Privy Council, removal of knighthoods, smacking legislation, civil unions, etc. Labour has a history of moving NZ forward/sideway/backwards. The voters voted for labour sure, but only just. Only a bare majority backed these types of moves and I think what you see now is the other bare majority saying ‘hey, we didn’t actually want to do those things so lets change them back. And lets be just as brazen as Clark was in making that change’.

    • VTO

      “what you see now is the other bare majority saying ‘hey, we didn’t actually want to do those things so lets change them back. And lets be just as brazen as Clark was in making that change”

      You may be right but they want to unthinkingly bring back all the wrong things in the name of reverting back to the way things were. At least Helen had a thought through and principled reason for making the changes she did.

      There are many other things they could bring back. How about child slavery, votes for males only, world wars and serfdom?

      • vto 10.1.1

        mickey, that other bare majority would consider that they too have ‘thought it through and have principled reasons for …’. It is a simple case of the clash of the partisans. I suspect all the argument in the world will not change the two main views on this subject at this point in time.

        What else could be brought back? How about uncrowded surf spots, that would be good. Or a Hauraki Gulf teeming with fush. Or no internal combustion engines?

      • Kevin Welsh 10.1.2

        Give them time mickey, give them time.

        • vto 10.1.2.1

          Bringing back voting restrictions? many arguments for that one. Unrestricted voting (one person one vote) can lead to the tyranny of the majority. Who says necessarily that one person one vote is the pinnacle of democracy? Give it time, give it time. It may be that one day, after a few centuries of this system, an as yet unknown flaw exposes itself and the system may require change.

          • Draco T Bastard 10.1.2.1.1

            Ah, bringing up the delusion of the tyranny of the majority. The non-argument used since time immemorial to keep dictatorships going.

  11. DS 11

    The USA has functioned very nicely without titles since its creation more than 200 years ago.

    Canada has not had knighthoods since 1867.

    Australia got rid of them in 1983.

    NZ’s little title fetish is just bizarre in an international context.

  12. randal 12

    I can think of a few counts that need dubbing

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