Should our greatest be good?

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.

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15 Responses to Should our greatest be good?

  1. pdm says:

    HP – I support your views 100%. As you say her politics and personal life are irrelevant to the aversion as is the fact that she was a control freak.

    The actions you have listed are disgraceful and should have precluded her from any honours.

  2. gravedodger says:

    And should Ms Clark have already held the honour just bestowed, I see more than one of the actions she performed while P M that should have precipitated a withdrawal of the honour. Yes it further debases the high regard in which we should hold others so honoured.

  3. Anonymouse says:

    More than just one:

    MOORE, The Right Honourable Michael Kennet

    LANGE, The Right Honourable David Russell, ONZ, CH

    BOLGER, The Right Honourable James Brendan

    Basically if you’re a Labour Prime Minister (of whatever party)
    you get made ONZ.

    But not Douglas. Not Richardson.

    and of course everyone’s favorite:

    *UNT, The Right Honourable Jonathan Lucas

  4. DyannT says:

    All that’s needed is one of the other 19 to hand back their honour in protest. Maybe that would put the cat among the pigeons.

  5. Inventory2 says:

    The fact that Clark has been elevated to the same status as the Minister for Wine and Cheese, Jonathan Hunt is indicative of the worthlessness of the supposedly “exclusive” club she herself created. The death of Sir Edmund Hilary robbed the ONZ of much of its mana.

    That said, I would far rather that John Key and QEII had offered Clark a titular honour. She would have then had to make the choice between nothing, and being a hypocrite. That would have been poetic justice!

  6. JC says:

    Being realistic Clark was always headed for a gong, and the ONZ is a good grab bag of politicians, parsons, Prime Ministers, unionists etc that reflect position rather than personal qualities.

    She’s correctly placed in this slightly oddball list where her CV can be read as “contribution to NZ politics over 40 years”.. and that, hopefully, is the end of it.

    JC

  7. pdogge says:

    I guess all the previous good persons commenting have no mote in their eye in order to trot out this spiteful little bit of judgement. Guess that would imply that those on the honours committee would be not so good.I cringe at the unbalanced viewpoint that is being articulated. All of you perfect eh? Judge not blah blah…

  8. KG says:

    pdogge–the essential difference you miss, either deliberately or through ignorance is that those of us with the mote in our eye were not responsible for running a country and therefore expected to be held to a higher standard.
    Of course, if you’re suggesting that the lowest common denominator should rule, then the award is totally appropriate…

  9. Andrei says:

    Its a big who cares – ex Prime ministers get honors, always have, always will.

    When John Keys time comes he will get his, and whoever bestows it upon him will get theirs in the fullness of time and so forth.

    Don’t mean nothing

  10. Deborah says:

    What Andrei said.

    This is a very sour post. The election is over, the electorate made its judgement, National won, Labour lost. Move on! There really is no need to keep on fighting the last election campaign.

    Helen Clark was a three term prime minister. She deserves her honour, and it would be churlish and venial of the current government to deny it. Of course they haven’t done so, because John Key at least isn’t the petty man you seem to want him to be in this regard.

  11. homepaddock says:

    I said and meant I wouldn’t have objected to her getting another honour and it wasn’t about the politics.

    I’m not sure why Jim Bolger and Jonathon Hunt got their ONZs. But I understand why Mike Moore and Don McKinnon got theirs – for what they did for the WTO & Commonwealth respectively after their domestic political careers.

    If the award was given in a few years if/when she has achieved something in the UN I wouldn’t feel so strongly.

    But that still doesn’t change my view that our greatest ought to be good.

  12. Andrei says:

    Well Ele my guess is that the ONZ goes to those who do not like the titles (e.g. Sir, Dame) that go along with the traditional titles.

    Certainly true of Helen Clark – Jim Bolger as I recall was also a Republican – that possibly has something to do with it?

    But that still doesn’t change my view that our greatest ought to be good.

    If only sigh

  13. Neil says:

    Certainly I believe that HC should have got that award. Just about every PM has got a gong when their time is over. Like her or loathe her HC was one of our country’s more successful leaders.
    She could read public opinion well, probably only second to Holyoake but certainly a lot better than Muldoon,Lange and Bolger.
    What we “Tories” see as bad can be adored by other political forces.Life is more than politics – life is about personal life and family.Look at how Eastern Europe folded up so quickly. The great thing is that we can change things peacefully. We live in a “good” country.
    Let Helen have her day in the sun.

  14. Neil, you claim that Clark was a successful PM. You need to define success my friend. It was not a success for this country. A small look at our finances and outgoings will clearly demonstrate that she was a disaster for NZ.
    If success is defined in terms of cheating, stealing, wasting, hating and telling lies constantly then you may well be right.
    I for one am still angry and that anger has been building since she was minister of health and wrecked the childbirth system in NZ. In a stupid piece of socialist girlpower scheming she effectively removed GP’s from the birthing process giving the midwives the power to persuade expectant mums that they did not need doctors. This has led to nearly two decades of preventable deaths for mums and babies, complications and heartache for many kiwi families.
    Giving Clark an honour after a lifetime of dirty scheming, smearing and deceiving is disgusting.

  15. Michael Wynd says:

    The award is already been devalued by Helen Clark by appointing Lloyd Geering, an indication of her stance towards Christians.

    I cannot think of any one thing she did whilst PM that would enable this award. One of our most successful leaders? I hardly think so and would suggest that in time we will come to see her performance as leader degenerated from 2004 after being spooked by Don Brash.

    A good reader of public opinion? Again hardly accurate. She was very poll driven but lost touch after 2003-2004 and especially after the Foreshore and Seabed fiasco. Calling people who were legitimately protesting as ‘haters & wreckers’ doesn’t reflect one in touch with public opinion.

    I could understand perhaps ten years on from her resignation that it could have been a consideration but this is too soon to be granting this honour by National. At least some time should have been allowed to pass.

    I would have loved to see her hoisted on her own petard over a titular honour – I would think she may have taken it and then come up with an interesting spin on why she did. You know at least Labour blogs would have had their talking points issued before she made the public announcement.

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