Breathe through your nose – UPDATED

August 14, 2009

The advice to breathe through your nose given to new MPs should also be taken by former MPs.

Sir Douglas Graham lost a lot of the respect many had for him with his comments on former MPs’ travel perks.

Helen Clark isn’t doing herself or the party she used to lead any favours by trying to continue her influence. Last week’s Listener reports she’s still very free with advice to the labour caucus and today’s Herald reports she tried talk one of her former colleagues, Dame Margaret Shields, out of accepting the title.

If she’s not trying to sabotage her party and her successor she really should stick to her new job and leave her former colleagues to get on with theirs.

UPDATE: A comment by JC made me realise I’d given the wrong link to comments by Doug Graham. The one above is to a reasonable explanation with which I sympathise. It was you better keep paying your taxes which did the damage.

However, any MP knows that governments give and governments take away and what might have seemed reasoanble and affordable in one set of circumstances might not in another.

Celebrating success, allowing choice

August 1, 2009

John Key has announced that 72 of the 85 people eligible to become knights or dames have accepted the invitation to take a title.

“This is a real celebration of success and I am very pleased that 87% of those eligible for a title thought so as well.

 “When I first decided to bring back titular honours I was confident that many people would embrace the opportunity, but even I am overwhelmed at the large numbers who chose to do so.

“I also respect those who chose not to change their status. This is about people exercising their choice”.

 Both celebrating success and allowing people to exercise their choice are to be commended.

The titles will be bestowed at a ceremony at Old St Pauls in Wellington on August 14.

If South Canterbury people are successful, there will be another new knight in the New Years honours.

Hundreds of people are supporting Timaru gynaecologist Albert Makary in his campaign to recognise Allan Hubbard’s years of community service with a knighthood.

He is a humble and generous man who has not just given money to worthy causes, he has also used his expertise and wealth to create businesses, promote economic development and has given many young farmers the chance to own their own land.

He spoke to a farming group I’m a member of this year and was both entertaining and inspiring.

Recognising merit

June 3, 2009

The ODT has a suggestion for honouring honours:

Whereas people carrying the titles of “sir” and “dame” have a permanent public brand or trade-mark of their achievements simply in the titles, and are far more likely than most to be given opportunities to wear their decorations at formal occasions, there is little encouragement to enable the public routinely to know that their less highly honoured fellow citizens have also been recognised by the Queen.

Virtually all countries with honours systems in Europe, for example, also give recipients a gratis and discreet lapel badge or ribbon, which recipients may wear on an everyday basis if they so choose, and without embarrassment.

In this country, similar badges were made available for past and present recipients from 1996, but they are hardly widely worn and the Government ought to do what it can to encourage the custom.

At the same time, it should be routine for all official correspondence to honours recipients to carry their proper title in the address.

By such small, but symbolically important measures, our honours system might be regarded in the broader community as being much more than the “one-day wonder” it is in danger of becoming.

This is a good idea.

The people I know who’ve received “lesser” honours are hard working, selfless individuals whose efforts more than earned their award.

They are all modest people too and may prefer not to display their award, but a discreet badge or broach would give them the choice.

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