Mixed views on former PM’s knighthood, not so ‘Iceman’

EDITORIAL

It was a case of knighthoods in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for two men who many would feel are classic Kiwis of their particular type, former prime minister John Key and rugby legend Michael Jones.

Jones, the Iceman, will always be remembered as the scorer of the first try in the 1987 World Cup and for being one of the most dynamic loose forwards ever to wear the black jersey.

It is important to remember though that this award has little if anything to do with rugby.

Michael Jones has been a hard worker for the Pasifika community for decades, setting up community trusts and even a high school for disadvantaged Pasifika children, the Pacific Advance Senior School that has 100 students.

Jones has ascribed his commitment to the community to his upbringing. After his father died when he was four he was raised by his mother, aunties and uncles and older siblings in a small West Auckland house.

It is a classic Kiwi story for a man who says of his fellow Polynesians that “sport is in our DNA”. He is now widely admired and the award was a popular one.

Unsurprisingly there were mixed feelings about Key’s knighthood. Some of those who have been his opponents were almost deranged as they fired off on talkback radio since the announcement.

But Key comes from a classic Kiwi back story too, brought up in a state house along with two sisters by their mother. Even though he did go on to make a fortune as a currency trader, he remained in most ways a real Kiwi even down to his sometimes-mocked basic speech.

Key could hardly have turned down the award, his government having restored the award of knighthoods and dames after Helen Clark changed the system. It is interesting to see that 85 percent of those eligible to change to the reintroduced system opted to do so.

John Key is perfectly suited in his new role on the speaking circuit and in the corporate and charity world, where his salesman skills that were so successful in politics can work for the good of the country.

It was a case of knighthoods in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for two men who many would feel are classic Kiwis of their particular type, former prime minister John Key and rugby legend Michael Jones.

Jones, the Iceman, will always be remembered as the scorer of the first try in the 1987 World Cup and for being one of the most dynamic loose forwards ever to wear the black jersey.

It is important to remember though that this award has little if anything to do with rugby.

Michael Jones has been a hard worker for the Pasifika community for decades, setting up community trusts and even a high school for disadvantaged Pasifika children, the Pacific Advance Senior School that has 100 students.

Jones has ascribed his commitment to the community to his upbringing. After his father died when he was four he was raised by his mother, aunties and uncles and older siblings in a small West Auckland house.

It is a classic Kiwi story for a man who says of his fellow Polynesians that “sport is in our DNA”. He is now widely admired and the award was a popular one.

Unsurprisingly there were mixed feelings about Key’s knighthood. Some of those who have been his opponents were almost deranged as they fired off on talkback radio since the announcement.

But Key comes from a classic Kiwi back story too, brought up in a state house along with two sisters by their mother. Even though he did go on to make a fortune as a currency trader, he remained in most ways a real Kiwi even down to his sometimes-mocked basic speech.

Key could hardly have turned down the award, his government having restored the award of knighthoods and dames after Helen Clark changed the system. It is interesting to see that 85 percent of those eligible to change to the reintroduced system opted to do so.

John Key is perfectly suited in his new role on the speaking circuit and in the corporate and charity world, where his salesman skills that were so successful in politics can work for the good of the country.

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