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Front Up - Don't Blame The Honours Advisory Cmttee

Belinda Vernon
National MP

MEDIA RELEASE

10 April 2000

FRONT UP - DON’T BLAME THE HONOURS ADVISORY COMMITTEE

National MP Belinda Vernon says the abolition of titles is a sop to the tall poppy syndrome.

Ms Vernon says the Prime Minister is trying to hide behind an outdated recommendation of the 1995 Prime Minister’s Honours Advisory Committee when the experience of the last 4 years has shown that titles can sit easily with a modern, New Zealand Royal Honours system.

Ms Vernon who was a member of the Honours Advisory Committee says that the consensus “finally achieved” by the committee came after much debate and many of its reservations about retaining titles have since been shown to be unjustified.

“The Prime Minister should just admit that she doesn’t like success or individualism. She wants New Zealanders to be a bland group of identical dolls falling off the end of a production line.”

“To add insult to injury she has deleted the word “Royal” from her references to the New Zealand Royal Honours System. Our Honours system is both New Zealand and Royal.

“Whether she likes it or not, titles are a part of New Zealand culture. The fact that they originally came from England is not relevant to the debate. What else of our English sourced culture will the Prime Minister snuff out next?

“The New Zealand Royal Honours System as revamped after the 1995 review clearly has its own distinctive character. Deleting titles now adds nothing.

“The Committee made it clear that New Zealand Royal Honours should not be conferred on the basis of office or longevity – but for recognition of contributions made to New Zealand beyond the call of duty.

“If she is concerned about titles overshadowing the highest New Zealand honour, the Order of New Zealand, then education and information should address that issue.

“The abolition of titles is yet another example of the Prime Minister imposing her culture and prejudices on the people of New Zealand,” concludes Ms Vernon.

- ENDS -

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