At a time in history when the relevance of the honours system is being questioned, New Zealand’s programme has been expanded to include a new category, for public servants.
On Monday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the new medal would recognise meritorious service in the public service.”Public servants rarely get acknowledged for the exceptional work they do that changes New Zealand society and lives for the better,” Ardern said.
This is a bit bizarre. I’m all for recognising good public service. There are already awards such as the IPANZ Awards. And public servants are already eligible for Royal honours for their work. I’m not sure why one needed a new medal just for public servants.
In the last Honours list there were the following honours for public servants:
- ONZM – 1
- MNZN – 1
- QSO – 2
So the concept of recognising good public service is good, but I don’t think one needs a special medal for it.