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Honours Decision Confirms Govt's Arrogant Style

10 April 2000


United New Zealand leader, Hon Peter Dunne, says the Government’s decision to stop creating knights and dames is a further example of its arrogant style where it seems to think it can decide things without reference to anyone else and simply implement them.

“While today’s decision will be no real surprise, there has been no real public debate about the issue or recent consultation on it. After the 1996 revamp of the Honours system most people thought the argument was dead, and did not expect it to be revived so abruptly.”

“The fact that the Prime Minister wanted to scrap these titles was all the justification the Government needed to do it, it seems. However, Prime Minsiterial whim is no justification or sound basis for policy making,” Mr Dunne says.

Mr Dunne says that a clear and disturbing trend is developing whereby the prejudices of the Prime Minister and other Ministers suddenly become Government policy.

“Whenever they are challenged, they reply glibly and arrogantly that because they won the election, all things are justified, regardless of whether they promised them or not.”

“The Prime Minister does not like knighthoods – so they are scrapped without much warning. She does not like Te Papa – so it is to be reviewed.”

“Labour did not want F16s – so they were dumped, in spite of Derek Quigley’s recommendation that a smaller number be acquired. Labour is soft on drugs – so cannabis is likely to be decriminalised.”

“Helen Clark does not like smokers – so fascist new laws are to be imposed on the tobacco industry. The Minister of Broadcasting has clear likes and dislikes about what is on television – so the TVNZ Board is being restructured to reflect those prejudices.”

“A Timberlands worker criticised Government policy – and was hounded out of his job,” he says.

Mr Dunne says many liberal, middle class New Zealanders are starting to recoil against Labour’s paternalistic “we know what is best for you, and we are not interested in what you think about that” arrogance and will see today’s announcement is just one more in that increasingly long line of personal prejudices becoming Government policy without consultation.

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