Graham retains his Knighthood

November 1st, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The PM has announced:

Prime Minister John Key today announced he has decided Sir KNZM will retain his knighthood following his conviction as a director of Lombard Finance.

Last week the Supreme Court turned down the application of Sir Douglas and his three fellow directors of Lombard Finance to appeal their convictions for making false statements in a company prospectus. The Court granted the directors leave to appeal their sentences.

“Now that Sir Douglas has exhausted his legal options to appeal his conviction, it is appropriate that I make a decision on the matter of his knighthood,” Mr Key says.

“I have given this matter a lot of thought in the period since it first went to court in 2011.

“I took into account the on-going financial hardship that many Lombard investors suffered as a result of the company’s collapse.  Many people through no fault of their own have lost some, or all of their future financial security and that is an awful position to be placed in,” Mr Key says.

In deciding that Sir Douglas should retain his knighthood, Mr Key says he was persuaded by three key factors. 

“First, Sir Douglas received his knighthood for his leadership role in treaty settlements. 

“Second, Sir Douglas was convicted of a strict liability offence, where dishonest or criminal intent is not required for conviction.”

 Mr Key noted the High Court found that Sir Douglas and the other defendants acted honestly at all times, genuinely believed the statements in the amended prospectus were true, and that careful attention had been given to the contents of the amended prospectus, including taking legal advice. 

“Third, in both New Zealand, and in the United Kingdom, it has been very rare for honours to be cancelled. In those cases where it has occurred, it has often been because the actions that led to the cancellation were in the same area as that for which the original honour was awarded. This is not the case with Sir Douglas,” Mr Key says.

I think they key is No 1. It isn’t like the situation in the UK where a bank chairman got his knighthood for his services to banking. Some of those who lost money in Lombard won’t be happy with the decision, but Sir Douglas has gained a criminal record for his failings on the Lombard Board – and that is a permanent stain on his record – along with the eventual punishment of the court.

Also of interest is this NBR story in which former Appeal Court Judge Ted Thomas labels the convictions of the directors a miscarriage of justice,

 

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46 Responses to “Graham retains his Knighthood”

  1. Alfred (52 comments) says:

    A good decision from John Key. While there will be the usual detractors and crys for blood, if people want to actually learn about what really happened then they should read the NBR story by the former Chief Justice Sir Ted Thomas. Very very interesting and shows all is not well with the justice system.

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  2. kowtow (8,439 comments) says:

    He got his knighthood for giving away taxpayer’s money.

    On that basis he should have never got it in the first place.

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  3. Chuck Bird (4,880 comments) says:

    What does former Judge Ted Thomas have say about far greater miscarriages of justice to ordinary folk everyday? How about Peter Ellis and Tania Pora a couple of high profile cases?

    The so called justice system is about law not justice.

    Some people invested money on the strength of the politically gifted knighthood of Doug Graham. They have lost a lot of money because of it.

    If knighthoods are going to have any meaning they should not be given to politicians and judges.

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  4. Pete George (23,559 comments) says:

    I think any meaning for knighthoods was lost long ago, if there was one in New Zealand in the first place. They are given to a wide variety of people for a variety of reasons, often obscure to most people. It’s more of a sign of an old boys club than anything.

    I doubt many or any NZ knights would be regarded favourably by the snob society that the honour/favour system originated from.

    These days most knights probably wouldn’t know how to use a sword.

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  5. projectman (224 comments) says:

    Good on John Key for having the political courage to make this decision. It could well have been expedient to take the opposite stance (but perhaps he realised that those who shout from the rooftops are not necessarily right just because they make more noise).

    RE Chuck Bird: “The so called justice system is about law not justice.”

    And how do you thing anything at all is done in society if it is not using taxpayers’ money? As an argument, this is totally specious.
    It sounds like your gripe is actually with taxpayers’ money being given to Maori for Treaty settlements.

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  6. flipper (4,051 comments) says:

    Kowtow…
    Put your head up you arse. There, you will find something in accord with your mind :-)

    ***

    oug Graham, like his silly pompous brother, and green lister Kennedy, is someone who should never have gone into politics. Doug, at least, is honest in his beliefs.

    But the clamour to now kick Doug Graham in his balls, when he has lost everything (in both money and respect), is sick.

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  7. Manolo (13,746 comments) says:

    Lord Montrose (as John Banks used to call him) deserved to be stripped of his knighthood.

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  8. F E Smith (3,305 comments) says:

    The issue of Graham retaining his knighthood should never have been up for consideration at all. Personally, I think that the only time a knighthood should be removed from a person is if they are convicted of treason.

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  9. flipper (4,051 comments) says:

    FES…
    Thank you.
    En passant, I am no lover of Graham.

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  10. kowtow (8,439 comments) says:

    put your head up your arse!

    Well, piss flaps, keep flag waving for your Nat friends who sold NewZealand down the river and gave Ngai Tahu perpetual top ups.

    That’s treason.

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  11. Scott Chris (6,133 comments) says:

    Good on John Key for having the political courage to make this decision.

    I agree. Graham has been punished for unwittingly endorsing a fraudulent document so why punish him further – regardless of whether you think he deserved his knighthood or not, or indeed whether or not you approve of knighthoods in general.

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  12. Yoza (1,872 comments) says:

    Any rich crook can buy a knighthood, so letting another rich crook retain his shouldn’t be a problem.

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  13. dubya (235 comments) says:

    “Graham has been punished for unwittingly endorsing a fraudulent document”

    No he got the knighthood for that…

    Jokes aside, Key’s decision makes sense. Might cost him a few votes, but greedy pensioners who didn’t understand the risk of 9% returns are probably more Winston’s voter base, anyway.

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  14. flipper (4,051 comments) says:

    Kowtow…

    When did you escape from the Mason Clinic???????

    You are somewhat like the late Sir Peter Tapsell’s daughter, who cut off her grandmother’s head, and placed it in an oven…… after having foresworn her medication.

    So Kowietowie, take advice, and your silly ideology and go back, quickly.

    You need your medication. Or do I issue an alert?

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  15. unaha-closp (1,164 comments) says:

    He got his knighthood for being an outstanding politician and has proved to be as honest as any outstanding politician.

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  16. BeaB (2,123 comments) says:

    Excellent decision.

    Was it George V who said a murderer could wear his VC on the scaffold?

    There’s a nasty, vengeful streak in some NZers – one that Labour encourages, sadly.

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  17. lastmanstanding (1,293 comments) says:

    Judge Ted Thomas should stick to the law and STFU about business. The fact is Graham Jefferies et al were celebrity directors who were just there because of they were well known names. They knew FAll about business and commercial governance and the laws and regulations they were bound by. They were out of their depth ( unlike other promoters and directors who knew the law very well and skated around the edges of it) and shouldn’t have held their directorships.

    Ignorance of the law ( which is the excuse Thomas et al are using) is no excuse. if you are a blue collar worker from Otara try telling the judge you didn’t know the law and see how far you get.

    Fact is until very recently white collar crims in NZ were favoured by forelock tugging Judges who found every and any excuse to let them off or slap them with a wet bus ticket.

    I feel for the people many elderly with no hope of regaining their lost savings. They were conned and duped by Graham Jefferies et al who knew or ought to have known they were taking deposits when the Lombard was insolvent. That’s the fact that no one can deny.

    Even now white collar crims in NZ get the softest sentences of any comparable country. BTW in terms of population size Madoffs Ponzi is dwarfed by the Ponzi schemes we have seen in NZ think Hanover Blue Chip et al. Madoffs was chicken shit compared to these in terms of the dollars per person lost. And as for the Wellington Ponzi mastermind. His is the biggest if them all.

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  18. Azeraph (604 comments) says:

    C’mon guys, get past your hero worship and party affiliated nature and look at this for what it is.

    National should never have brought the relic of the Knighthood back. Once you have a title it should have a document with it with your signature beholding you to fulfill your duties for that title, break them and you lose you title otherwise it’s just a joke on the country.

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  19. Chuck Bird (4,880 comments) says:

    The knighthood was brought out for John Key’s benefit.

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  20. Richard Hurst (855 comments) says:

    SIR Douglas Graham was the name used in Lombard Finance advertising material when naming the directors. Of course I’m sure that had no affect on people making investment choices…..

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  21. Random Punter (72 comments) says:

    Isn’t there another point here? Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t Graham one of four defendants found equally guilty and similarly punished? Wouldn’t it be unjust for him to be the only one to receive an additional punishment by being stripped of his knighthood?

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  22. Jack5 (5,137 comments) says:

    Politicians looking after themselves!

    They often take directorships when they retire or are booted out by voters. Companies being launched or floated on the stock exchange have often sought them for boards to add cachet and an illusion of rock-solidity for potential investors.

    Graham demonstrated how fucking stupid this approach is. He failed as a director. You can bet until a new wave of investors forgets (and that seems to take about 20 years), there will be skepticism when prospectuses and float publicists highlight ex-politicians on boards.

    However, Key says of letting Graham keep his knighthood:

    “First, Sir Douglas received his knighthood for his leadership role in treaty settlements …

    For that, Graham should never have received a knighthood. He signed over to Ngai Tahu (whose legal counsels included now-Treaty Minister Finlayson), first and second rights to purchase South Island Crown property – FOR EVER!

    With this, and with its trust privilege of being exempt from company tax, Ngai Tahu is, of course, flourishing. Honorary tribal chief should have been Graham’s reward, not a knighthood.

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  23. fruitshop (45 comments) says:

    Sir Michael Fay

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  24. hj (6,991 comments) says:

    John Key’s rationale was that the knighthood was for a different endeavour than was his transgression; what if he was caught fiddling little girls?

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  25. kowtow (8,439 comments) says:

    Many ,many ordinary people lose priveliges ,pensions,honours awards etc on conviction

    It really is nice to be part of the New Zealand political elite class where friends in high places keep an eye out for their mates.

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  26. tvb (4,416 comments) says:

    Sir Douglas has taken a big hit to his reputation. He gained nothing personally from his Directorship (apart from fees). The decision is a finely balanced one especially as the Knighthood would have added to Sir Douglas’s reputation and induced investors to invest.

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  27. F E Smith (3,305 comments) says:

    Many ,many ordinary people lose priveliges ,pensions,honours awards etc on conviction

    Really?  Like what? Who?

     especially as the Knighthood would have added to Sir Douglas’s reputation and induced investors to invest.

    Anybody who invests anything in a venture because one of the directors has a knighthood (or used to be an All Black, TV presenter, etc, etc) is an idiot.

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  28. Dennis Horne (2,403 comments) says:

    If Graham was worthy of a knighthood he would hand it back. It’s that simple.

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  29. kowtow (8,439 comments) says:

    FE ,as so often you’re being a complete dick,sometimes I wonder if you really are a lawyer esp when you ask a question like that…..but you’re just being your difficult self

    oh well here goes,I’ll humour you.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/disgraced-soldiers-sentence-includes-loss-of-rank-medals-severance-pay/article1380625/

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  30. Longknives (4,737 comments) says:

    I am a fan of Key but looking after his old mate Graham like this is a really,really bad look…

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  31. Nostalgia-NZ (5,191 comments) says:

    ‘Anybody who invests anything in a venture because one of the directors has a knighthood (or used to be an All Black, TV presenter, etc, etc) is an idiot.’

    Probably. From which it follows that Doug Graham took advantage of ‘idiots’ who simply trusted his reputation and didn’t know he would be signing or approving things he didn’t know all the details of.

    Ted Thomas was indiscreet when ‘attacking’ Bill Wilson and exaggerated a position in the media, just as in this case he plays down one.

    ‘Montrose’ as some one called him above turned aspects of the Royal Prerogative into a dog’s breakfast which continues to cost the country money today. However, it probably means little to the general public whether he has a ‘Sir’ before his name or not, but I guess the investors, some of who FE widely called ‘idiots’ have strong reason to think otherwise.

    Did he lose his MP ‘perks?’

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  32. F E Smith (3,305 comments) says:

    Kowtow,

    Seriously? You are giving one instance involving military discipline and expecting us to accept that as being the norm? You said that “many, many ordinary people” had honours etc withdrawn.

    Try using argument rather than abuse, but, regardless, your point remains invalid.

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  33. Johnboy (16,496 comments) says:

    Most chaps that fiddled the mess funds usually took the decent way out with the old Webley. :)

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  34. nasska (11,473 comments) says:

    Shows the difference between the services & the clergy JB. Any fiddling done by the latter was punished by a move to another parish. :)

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  35. Scott Chris (6,133 comments) says:

    Geddis’ take:

    But having said that, Sir Douglas was accorded the honour for doing something very good for the country. His work on the initial Treaty Settlements with Ngai Tahu and Tainui in the face of some considerable disquiet from his own side of the political aisle laid the path to where we are today: a place where an end to settlements of historic grievances is in sight, and we can move on to the question of how we are going to live together in the here and now. That was a display of the best that we want to see in our political leaders; real Statesmanship, in which the long-term interests of the country were put ahead of short-term political advantage.

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  36. kowtow (8,439 comments) says:

    narsekisser brings his pathetic prejudices everywhere.

    Actually he’s a troll ,like kea.

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  37. mikemikemikemike (324 comments) says:

    On the basis of point #1 he could become a kiddie fucker and not expect to lose his ‘knighthood’.

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  38. Kea (12,798 comments) says:

    Hilarious to see people defending this criminal, when they usually cry for blood when a poor person is convicted.

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  39. hj (6,991 comments) says:

    Scott Chris (5,256) Says:
    November 1st, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    Geddis’ take:
    …..

    Tariana Turia : Tribes Treaty Claims 1.5% of what was taken. Settlements can’t be full and final.
    Nati apa Treaty Claims. Our young people have taken that settlement through and because I have particular views about settlements I’ve had to remain [“ “] or I’ll put our young people off. But they have worked constructively with our government and they’ve got about
    1.5% of what was taken. TT says “no government cant expect people settlements to be full and final if justice isn’t served.”
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/national/ckpt/2008/09/05/waatea_news

    Geddis was banging on on one of those touchy feely constitutional review programs as though he was the Arch Bishop of Canterbury.

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  40. Fentex (971 comments) says:

    On one hand I don’t think a person convicted of a crime should always have their entire world destroyed, be put beyond the pale and isolated from society and find the constant clamor for increased punishment to buttress political ambitions abhorrent, while on the other hand I think it’s obvious the gifts between elites find protections seldom granted to the hoi polloi.

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  41. Shazzadude (529 comments) says:

    His knighthood was used to promote the product as a safe one, and on that basis I think stripping of his title is appropriate.

    I don’t know if it should matter what prompted the knighthood either; on that basis John Key should be handing Taito Phillip Field back his travel perks. After all, he earnt his perks through being elected by his constituents, and he lost those privileges for bribing and taking advantage of someone who wasn’t eligible to vote.

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  42. BlairM (2,339 comments) says:

    Any honour that knighthoods had was diminished the moment Michael Cullen got one.

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  43. Chuck Bird (4,880 comments) says:

    @Shazzadude

    Don’t you mean Phillip Fields? Taito is some sort of title like Sir.

    Grahams excuse is either pathetic or the don’t teach lawyer much at law school. His excuse might have has some validity if came from a sportsman with the title but not from a lawyer former Minister of the Crown. I agree with FES to a very limited extent that people investing in a company because of a sportsman or woman are somewhat negligent. However, he and Geddis are wrong on this one.

    Is it any wonder people have such a low view of bloody lawyers?

    http://www.readersdigest.co.nz/most-trusted-professions-2013

    FES helps reinforce the public’s low opinion of lawyers by trying to defend the indefensible.

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  44. David Garrett (7,271 comments) says:

    Lord Montrose didn’t lay a path “..to where the end of historic grievances is in sight” as Geddis claims at all…What he did was make “full and final” settlements – which no Maori accepts as such – with two tribes. In Ngai Tahu’s case it was their third such settlement; in Tainui’s the second.

    What he did was kick of the grievance industry which is NEVER going to end…Instead of a knighthood he should have been shot.

    As for the present situation, I agree with others above. If you use the “he got convicted for something unrelated to his knighthood” where does that end? Those who raise the issue of child molestors who might happen to have been knighted years before make a perfectly valid point.

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  45. Chuck Bird (4,880 comments) says:

    Grieving father cleared of blame
    TALIA SHADWELL

    “We thank God that we survived. If we didn’t, [our daughter] would have been left alone.

    “It was not easy. It was a big accident,” his wife, speaking through a translator, added.

    Already stricken with grief, Cherie begged police not to prosecute her husband but, after a six-month investigation, they laid charges.

    In an unprecedented decision that police said was not made lightly, Gebretsadik was charged with careless driving causing the death of an unborn child on top of charges related to the injuries sustained by his wife and the woman driving the other vehicle.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/9353880/Grieving-father-cleared-of-blame

    The argument for allowing Lord Montrose to keep his knighthood is that he has suffered enough.

    Compare that to the case above. The driver was not drunk but at worse careless. It is an outrage that he was charged with the death of his unborn son. There may have been a case for this if it involved a woman in another car. This is the case of someone who has really suffered enough being punished for not purpose.

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  46. Scott1 (549 comments) says:

    The issue with a knighthood is that it is a marker that we are supposed to show these individuals additional respect. And Douglas has shown that he may not deserve additional respect, or trust.

    It seems like a bit of a contradiction, similar to the situation with medals.

    Not that I ever had that much respect or trust for Doug… He was, in our opinion, a bit of a jerk.

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