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Strip criminal Graham of knighthood - Hide

"If knighthoods are to mean anything you cant have a convicted crook being called Sir," says former ACT leader.

Chris Keall
Fri, 30 Mar 2012

In the wake of the Lombard Four sentencing yesterday, former ACT leader Rodney Hide has called for Sir Douglas Graham to be stripped of his knighthood.

"Douglas Graham is a convicted criminal. If knighthoods are to mean anything you cant have a convicted crook being called Sir," Mr Hide told NBR.

"It's not about Graham. It's about maintaining respect for our system of honours. It says a lot about the man that he hasn't asked the prime minister to remove it." 

Feb 24: There are calls to strip Sir Douglas Graham of his knighthood following the former justice minister’s conviction of Securities Act charges.

Sir Douglas was one of four former Lombard Finance directors accused of making false statement prospectuses in the run-up to the finance company’s collapse.

In the aftermath of the guilty verdict commenters on the National Business Review have begun calling for a cancellation of his honour.

“Strip him of his Knighthood,” one said.

Knighthoods are technically awarded by the Queen, and in the case of New Zealand the Queen’s representative the Governer-General. Recommendations for honors are made by the cabinet honours committee.

Sir Douglas was awarded his knighthood in 1999 for services to the Treaty of Waitangi settlement process.

A knighthood can be removed only at the discretion of the Prime Minister.

John Key has said he will consider the matter, but not while elements of the Lombard case are still before the courts.

Recent precedent for the stripping of knighthoods comes from Britain, where former Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive Frank Goodwin had his title withdrawn earlier this month.

The Royal Bank of Scotland collapsed in the opening months of the global financial crisis, requiring a £45 billion government bailout.

Lombard Finance collapsed in 2008 owing 4400 investors about $127 million.

Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe was also stripped of his knighthood in 2010 after a repressive and violent campaign against political opponents left his country penniless.

As the guilty verdict was read out in the High Court in Wellington this morning Sir Douglas looked physically shaken.

Chris Keall
Fri, 30 Mar 2012
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Strip criminal Graham of knighthood - Hide