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.