Former Prime Minister John Key is now Sir John and heads the list of 186 New Zealanders recognised for their service, sacrifices and successes in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
To be a Knight Grand Companion of the said Order:
The Right Honourable John Phillip Key, of Auckland. For services to the State. . . .
Services to the state doesn’t really sum up what any PM does. Theirs is also services to the people.
That demands a great deal of hard work and sacrifice and their families have to make sacrifices too.
That all living former PMs have been recognised with a similar honour (Order of New Zealand, Damehood or Knighthood) doesn’t mean that the honour was perfunctory.
Sir John led New Zealand through a particularly difficult period which included having to deal with the global financial crisis, the Pike River mine disaster, the Canterbury and Kaikoura earthquakes and their aftermaths.
He led a team in which current Prime Minister Bill English played a vital role.
They turned a forecast decade of deficits into surpluses and allowed current Finance Minister Steven Joyce to present a Budget this year.
That provides choices over the provision of services and infrastructure that must be the envy of every other country.
The team forged important new trade deals which will contribute to on-going economic stability.
Another of the new knight’s legacies is the cycleway network that is leading to the creation of jobs, providing exercise opportunities for locals and bringing domestic and international tourists.
The flag referendum is regarded by many as a failure but I think it sowed the seeds for inevitable change.
Sir John was, and remains ambitious for New Zealand and New Zealanders. Unlike one of his predecessors he was determined to leave the country and its people better for his service, and he has.
Others to receive titular honours are:
To be Dames Companion of the said Order:
Mrs Julie Claire Molloy Christie, ONZM, of Auckland. For services to governance and the television industry.
Emeritus Professor Peggy Gwendoline Koopman-Boyden, CNZM, of Hamilton. For services to seniors.
To be Knights Companion of the said Order:
Mr Graeme Dingle, ONZM, MBE, of Auckland. For services to youth.
Mr Michael Niko Jones, MNZM, of Auckland. For services to the Pacific community and youth.
Professor Timoti Samuel Karetu, QSO, of Havelock North. For services to the Māori language.