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More recognition wanted for Justice Mahon

Jim Anderton The Alliance is welcoming the Government's intention to mark the twentieth anniversary of the Erebus crash by tabling Justice Peter Mahon's report on the crash. But Alliance leader Jim Anderton is vowing to renew efforts to confer recognition on Justice Mahon for his efforts.

'Tabling Justice Mahon's report is the least that can be done. He is owed personal recognition for his efforts. A law change is needed to confer a posthumous honour on New Zealanders who have given exceptional service to their country. It's a law change I have sought since 1990 and I intend to continue to fight to get it,' Jim Anderton said.

In 1990 and again in 1997, Mr Anderton attempted to persuade Parliament to adopt his Posthumous Honours (Exceptional Service) Bill. It would provide for posthumous recognition of New Zealanders who had given exceptional service to their country where they had not been honoured during their lifetime.

At present posthumous honours cannot be awarded except by specific Act of Parliament.

Jim Anderton's interest in the Bill was activated after it proved impossible to confer posthumous awards on Justice Mahon and the brilliant Gallipoli leader Colonel William Malone.

'Justice Mahon displayed extraordinary courage as well as perceptiveness in uncovering the truth about the Erebus tragedy. Petty politics were the only obstacle to him receiving the recognition which was his due before he died.

'The country still owes his memory a debt, and it should be repaid.

'In 1997 the Government would not even allow my Bill to proceed to a parliamentary select committee for hearings. In an act of spiteful vindictiveness, the Government refused to support any measure promoted by an Opposition MP.

'That Maurice Williamson now wants to try to honour Justice Mahon by tabling his report is worthy, but his record of opposition to honours speaks of pettiness and hypocrisy.

'I intend to move again next year for parliamentary recognition for outstanding New! Zealanders such as Justice Mahon, and I hope to have a parliamentary majority on side to achieve it,' Jim Anderton said.

ENDS

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