Should the honoured be honourable?


Would a convicted criminal be given a knighthood?

It’s unlikely unless the crime was in the distant past.

Should someone keep a title if s/he is subsequently convicted of a crime?

Alister Taylor reminds us that people have been stripped of honours:

Albert Henry was the first Premier of the Cook Islands from 1965. In 1974 he was made  a knight in 1974 and subsequently stripped of this honour by the New Zealand government (then in charge of honours for the Cooks) after his conviction of a criminal offence.

What is a matter of greater significance that has been overlooked is that Sir Douglas Graham was made a member of the Privy Council in 1998. The Privy Council is a a highly esteemed honour among politicians. The Council theoretically advises the Queen, however it it is more honour than substance. Is it appropriate that Right Honourables convicted of criminal offences be members of the Privy Council?

There is an easy way out for the government — strip Doug Graham of his “Right Honourable” but allow him to retain his knighthood.

Another of the convicted men, Bill Jefferies, also holds an honour which is much more pertinent. He is an “honourable”, as was Doug Graham before he became a “Right Honourable” Jeffries retains the right to be addressed as “the honourable” for life. He was accorded this honour in 1990 as a result of his appointment, as a Cabinet Minister, to the Executive Council. Doug Graham had earlier been accorded the same honour. “Honourables” retain this honorific for life. 

The OED defines “honourable” as”implying respect; deserving, bringing or showing honour.”.

The third of the convicted men who has an honour is Lawrence Bryant. He holds the high honour of LVO, or Lieutenant of the Victoria Order. This was awarded him by the Queen in 1974 for services to Her Majesty as Assistant Press Secretary. . .

Sir Bob Jones thinks Sir Doug Graham should keep his knighthood because he was unlucky and gullible.

Sir Bob has been convicted himself, but is brushing that under the carpet.
“That doesn’t count because it was for hitting a journalist and that’s accepted, it doesn’t count. They’re to be hit often,” he says.

He’s probably not alone in that sentiment but that’s not the point.

People have lost money and Graham has been judged culpable.

Last night 3 News reported he would withdraw his title himself before it was stripped. Today John Banks hinted that would be the case.
“Sir Douglas is a very very honourable man and outstanding New Zealander. I’m very very saddened with the turn of events,” says Mr Banks.

That would be the honourable thing to do and I think people who are honoured should be honourable.

Directors and investors beware


It will be cold comfort to the people who lost fortunes in Lombard Finance that Sir Douglas Graham also lost a large amount – a couple of million dollars.

The sentence of fines and community service handed down to him and other directors won’t help those who lost money either.

But it is a warning to other directors of their responsibilities and to investors that there’s a correlation between risk and return, no matter who’s running the company.

Directors beware


Four directors of Lombard Finance have been found guilty of making untrue statements in the      company’s offer documents.

Judge Robert Dobson said the Crown had proven beyond      reasonable doubt aspects of four charges, including failure to properly disclose the company’s liquidity risks and deteriorating cash position.    

They were found not guilty of distributing an advertisement  that included an untrue statement by sending a letter t0  investors in March 2008.   

There may be an appeal.

Two of the directors were former government ministers – Sir Douglas Graham and Bill Jeffries.

Whether or not there is and regardless of the outcome if there is, this case is a warning to all directors that they must understand what they are doing and the responsibilities of their role.

It’s also a warning to shareholders that people who’ve run the country might not necessarily have the skills to run a company.

Breathe through your nose – UPDATED


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.

Customary title explained


The foreshore and seabed issue ought to have been a simple one of property rights but it was complicated by racism , politics and ignorance over customary title.

The ministry review panel has  recommended that the Act which took the right to go to court from Maori be overturned.

Racism and politics will try to complicate what happens next. But Sir Douglas Graham has done his best to remove some of the ignorance with his lay person’s guide to customary  title in today’s Herald.

Just one thing . . .


If I was asked to name some of the ills Labour has foisted on us I’d be spoilt for choice.

But if I had to name just one thing it is the way they have turned so many people into beneficiaries because of policies based on their view of “fairness” rather than need.

Doug Graham summed up the reasons for this in yesterday’s Star Times:

Labour seems to believe the more of our money it spends on us the better it is and the more thankful we should be. It seems to enjoy the sight of long queues of Oliver Twists with a begging bowl asking for more. Most of us would say that if increasing numbers of us have to rely on the government for our very survival, then we’re heading for disaster and it won’t be long before people who really need help will suddenly find the cupboard is bare.

It’s better socially and economically to leave those who can look after themselves to do so and restrict tax payer funded assistance to people in genuine need.

Governments give and governments take away and if they give away too much in good times they’re forced to take it from those who need it most in bad times.

On the Swag


I came across this Friday’s poem in Dear To Me 100 New Zealanders write about their favourite poems, a fundraising project for Amnesty International.


On the Swag was chosen by Sir Doug Graham because, he said, “it reinforces and indeed won’t let us forget, that one of the most fundamental duties we all have is to put out a helping hand to those in need”.



On the Swag


His body doubled

       under the pack

       that sprawls untidily

       on his old back

       the cold wet dead-beat

       plods up the track.


The cook peers out

       ‘oh curse that old lag –

        here again

        with his clumsy swag

        made of a dirty old

        turnip bag’


‘Bring him in cook

        from the grey level sleet

        put silk on his body

        slippers on his feet,

        give him fire

        and bread and meat.


‘Let the fruit be plucked

        and the cake be iced,

        the bed be snug

        and the wine be spiced

        in the old cove’s night-cap:

        for this is Christ.’


– R.A.K. Mason –

%d bloggers like this: