John Key has said the rules shouldn’t be changed as Media party and SJB pressure mounts to force changes in the rules of New Zealander of the Year.
Prime Minister John Key sympathises with the organisations running New Zealander of the Year and the difficulty awarding it to Helen Kelly posthumously.
A petition to reinstate the former union leader’s nomination is gathering pace after she received 108 of the 375 nominations for the annual accolade.
However, Kelly died of lung cancer earlier this month, aged 52, and the award isn’t given posthumously.
Key told Paul Henry it was a “tough” decision because if you give the award to someone who has already passed away, “where does that lead?”
“Look, there’s no question that Helen would have been one of the most worthy candidates and I personally, as I’ve so often said, even though I don’t obviously agree with all the things she said, I would have hugely respected her if she won.”
“The trouble with having someone whose already passed away as your New Zealander of the Year is where does that lead? Does that mean later on in years to come that someone who died five years ago, people say they weren’t on the list, they would have been on the list, they were a great New Zealander.
“And I think that’s the problem, a lot of these organisations worry a lot about,” Key said.
The royal honours system doesn’t award knighthoods and damehoods posthumously – if it did you’d risk always living in the past.
“That’s one of the reasons, because otherwise they’d go back and say you forgot to give so-and-so a knighthood,” he said.
John Key also knows that unionised workers in the private sector account for just 9% of the workforce.
He also knows that Kiwi voters remember Helen Kelly’s involvement in trying to spike The Hobbit being filmed in NZ.
Unions constantly live in the past, and their media pals just enable them.