Another Republican who supports titular honours

Like Dean Knight, I am also a Republican who supports the restoration of titles for our most senior honours.

You see the issue of titles, is separate to whether they are “British” honours or not. In the mid 1990s PM Bolger changed the main honours from the “Order of the British Empire” (which had been dead for some decades) to the “ Order of Merit”, but retained titles of Sir and Dame for the top two ranks (now called Principal Companions and Distinguished Companions). I supported this.

Then in May 2000 titles were abolished. Without titles for the most senior honours, they have become little more than confusing acronyms. Would more than 1% of NZ know a PCNZM is much much higher than a CMZM?

Now you could argue that NZ is a country that doesn’t believe in titles. But this is clearly not so. If one achieves the top university qualification you get the title of Doctor. If you are elevated to the top ranks of lecturers, you get the title Professor. So if we have titles for academic achievement, why wouldn’t we have them for national honours? This isn’t about bowing and scraping to our betters, but merely having a title to recognise achievement, as we do in academia.

As Dean points out the titles were abolished without even a vote in Parliament, and with no manifesto commitment. And they have dumbed down the honours system.

Anyway Dean has actually drafted a bill to restore titles to the senior most honours, and also to allow people to opt for the Maori versions being “Tā” and “Kahurangi”.

So if any MP is looking for a private members bill, here’s one already written for you.

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