31 December 2008

New Zealand Order of Merit: Restoring Titular Titles

> LAWS179: "New Zealand Order of Merit (Titular Titles) Bill" > LAWS179: "New Zealand Order of Merit (Titular Titles) Bill: My New Year Honours List" > LAWS179: "Queen's Birthday Honours" > LAWS179: "New Zealand Order of Merit: new Knighthoods and Damehoods" With the release of this year's honours, time to update the project to restore some form of titular titles to our indigenous honours system. First, below is a list of the most recent honorands - described as they would have been under the proposed system of titular titles: P.C.N.Z.M. Professor Tā (Sir) Ralph Herberley Ngatata LOVE, Q.S.O., J.P., of Porirua. D.C.N.Z.M. Dr Kahurangi (Dame) Claudia Josepha ORANGE, O.B.E., of Wellington. Professor Sir David Christopher Graham SKEGG, O.B.E., of Dunedin. Sir Murray John WELLS, of Auckland. The Honourable Dame Margaret Anne WILSON, of Tauranga. I note that Ngatata Love was ambivalent about the titular title Sir. I wonder if he would have been less ambivalent if the Order came with a titular title in his indigenous language? Secondly, there's been some suggestion on the radio that the new government may be interested in reverting to a system of titular honours - although I haven't yet seen any unequivocal statement or policy on the honours system. That sounds encouraging though. Thirdly, if a change is supported, a possible template is the Member's Bill I previously drafted: > New Zealand Order of Merit (Titular Titles) Bill (pdf) (A text version is also set out over the break.) If the change is supported by the new government though, it would not be necessary to give effect to the change through legislation passed by the House. As the system falls within the purview of the Sovereign's prerogative authority, the system can be varied merely by Royal Warrant. That is, the government - relying on their Executive power - can advise the Queen to vary the system. There's no need for the change to be implemented in the format of a Bill, although the nature of the provisions would basically be the same. One other thing we might want to think about is whether we want to codify the present system in the form of legislation passed by the House, rather the prerogative legislation. There may be some value in the people of New Zealand taking ownership of the system through the adoption and endorsement of the system by their elected representatives as a whole.

1 comment:

Dean Knight said...

New Zealand Order of Merit (Titular Titles) Bill
Member's Bill
Explanatory Note
In May 2000 the New Zealand Order of Merit was changed to remove titular titles, that is, the recipients of the highest honours were no longer entitled to use the appellations of "Sir" and "Dame" before their names.
The previous Knight or Dame Grand Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit were refashioned to be Principal Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit. Knight or Dame Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit were refashioned to be Distinguished Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
This change has led to confusion about the honours and fails to honour the members of the Order in a manner readily understood by the public.
This Bill restores the previous position. This Bill converts awarded since the change, but allows individual members of the Order to decline the conversion.
It also makes one further change, allowing Knights and Dames to also use a Te Reo Māori form of appellation, "Tā" and "Kahurangi". This reinforces the indigenous nature of the Order.
____________________
[Member of Parliament]
New Zealand Order of Merit (Titular Titles) Bill
Member's Bill
Contents
1 Title
2 Commencement
3 Purpose
4 Reinstatement of titular titles
5 Conversion of honours awarded under the Additional Statutes of the New Zealand Order of Merit
6 Exceptions to conversion
7 Te Reo Māori Titular Titles
____________________
The Parliament of New Zealand enacts as follows:
1 Title
This Act is the New Zealand Order of Merit (Titular Titles) Bill 2007.
2 Commencement
(1) This Act, except for section 5, comes into force on the day after the date on which it receives the Royal assent.
(2) Section 5 of this Act comes into force 60 days after the date on which the Act receives the Royal assent
3 Purpose
The purpose of this Act is:
(a) to reinstate titular titles, namely "Sir" and "Dame", for the highest honours awarded under the New Zealand Order of Merit;
(c) to amend the Statutes of the New Zealand Order of Merit to provide for titular titles in Te Reo Māori, namely "Tā" and "Kahurangi".
Conversion of honours
4 Reinstatement of titular titles
The Additional Statutes of the New Zealand Order of Merit are hereby revoked.
5 Conversion of honours awarded under the Additional Statutes of the New Zealand Order of Merit
(1) A person admitted to the membership of the Order between 18 May 2000 and the commencement of this section shall have their membership altered as follows:
(a) A Chancellor of the Order shall be styled Chancellor of the Order or Chancellor and Principal Knight or Dame Grand Companion of the Order.
(b) A person admitted into the first level of the Order shall be designated a Knight or Dame Grand Companion of the Order.
(c) A person admitted into the second level of the Order shall be designated a Knight or Dame Companion of the Order.
(2) To avoid any doubt, any person referred to in subsection (1) may use the post‑nominal letters and appellations set out in the Statutes of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
(3) The Chancellor may perform, in relation to any person referred to in subsection (1), the ceremony of investiture referred to in clause 16 of the Statutes of the New Zealand Order of Merit and confer the Accolade of Knighthood on Knight Grand Companions and Knight Companions to recognise the conversion of their membership.
6 Exceptions to conversion
(1) A member referred to in section 5 may decline to have their membership converted by giving written notice accordingly to the Chancellor before the commencement of section 5.
(2) The provisions of the Additional Statutes of the New Zealand Order of Merit 2000 continue to apply to any person who gives notice in accordance with subsection 1.
Te Reo Māori Titular Titles
7 Te Reo Māori Titular Titles
Clause 20 of the Statutes of the New Zealand Order of Merit is revoked and the following clause is substituted:
"20. Ordinary and Additional members of the first and second levels of this Order may use the following appellations before their forenames from the date of their appointment:
(a) in the case of a man of, "Sir" or "Tā"; and
(b) in the case of a woman, "Dame" or "Kahurangi"."

Course Outline

Lord Justice Lawton in Maxwell v Department of Trade and Industry [1974] 2 All ER 122 said:

"From time to time ... lawyers and judges have tried to define what constitutes fairness. Like defining an elephant, it is not easy to do, although fairness in practice has the elephantine quality of being easy to recognise. As a result of these efforts a word in common usage has acquired the trappings of legalism: 'acting fairly' has become 'acting in accordance with the rules of natural justice', and on occasion has been dressed up with Latin tags. This phrase in my opinion serves no useful purpose and in recent years it has encouraged lawyers to try to put those who hold inquiries into legal straitjackets.... For the purposes of my judgment I intend to ask myself this simple question: did the [decision-maker] act fairly towards the plaintiff?"


This course examines the elephantine concept of fairness in the law, along with other contemporary legal issues.

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