Are honesty and integrity important?
Does the type of person someone is count at least as much as what s/he does? Should s/he be be judged not only on what s/he does but the way s/he does it? Do not just deeds but character matter?
Should our greatest people also be good?
If they are getting our highest honour they should and that is why I am disappointed that Helen Clark has been made a Member of the Order of New Zealand.
I wouldn’t have minded if she’d been made a Dame, although her aversion to titular honours would have precluded that.
My disappointment isn’t because of politics. I don’t agree with a lot of what she did but redistribution and encouraging dependency on the state are consistent with her socialist views.
It’s what some of her actions say about her character that’s the problem.
She didn’t just forge one painting. She admitted to signing “about half a dozen” works of art which she hadn’t produced “over 20 years” and then couldn’t understand what was wrong with that.
She didn’t support the police who drove too fast to get her from Waimate to Christchurch.
She used taxpayers’ money illegally to pay for Labour’s campaigns, changed the law to make that spending legal and passed an Act in an attempt to allow that spending to continue while restricting what other individuals and groups could spend.
She backed Phillip Field in the face of strong evidence against him and did her best to thwart the inquiry into his actions.
She continued to back Winston Peters as a minister long after he showed he could not be trusted.
The Order of New Zealand is restricted to just 20 living New Zealanders.
If one of our 20 greatest isn’t also good it reflects very badly on the rest of us.