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We must honour Kiwi heroes

Monday 10 April 2000

We must honour Kiwi heroes

The Government is robbing New Zealanders of the chance to recognise their heroes, Opposition Leader Jenny Shipley said today.

"It is impossible to conceive of New Zealand's identity without a Sir Edmund Hillary, a Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, a Sir Richard Hadlee or a Dame Susan Devoy.

"'Mr Hillary,' 'Ms Te Kanawa,' 'Mr Hadlee' or 'Mrs Devoy,' with a few letters behind their name, just don't have the same ring.

"National believes we must honour our heroes, from sport, business, medicine, arts or anywhere else, to show our pride in their achievements.

"Knighthoods may be traditional, but some things from the past are worth preserving.

"In the 1990s National reformed our honours to create a system that is uniquely Kiwi and a blend of the traditional and the modern. The steps we took then - after public submissions - showed it's possible to pick and choose the best from the past.

"This time the Government has seized on the five-year-old Honours Advisory Committee to satisfy its own agenda without any public discussion.

"Must we sacrifice everything special about New Zealand for the sake of the Labour-Alliance Government's bland, politically correct world where it's frowned on to celebrate great achievers or tall poppies. Talented people who we recognise as special inspire the rest of us.

"A National Government would restore New Zealand titles honours so once again we could honour our heroes in the way that New Zealanders know.

"In doing so, we'll take a fresh look at the system to ensure our honours capture and celebrate the best of New Zealand in the new millennium.

"One step we will be taking is the creation of a wider group including politicians, Kiwis from many walks of life and possibly the Governor-General to oversee the selection of heroes who deserve this special recognition," Mrs Shipley said.

Ends


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