When I see the recipients of Queens Birthday Honours like Finance Minister Bill English, Fish and Game secretary Bryce Johnson and several awards for conservation of people I have never heard of, I realise the awards are just a load of elitism. Bill English was finance minister during the period of the National government when NZ’s debt went from $16 billion to $70 billion between 2008 and 2017 and trade deficits were one after another.
Bryce Johnson was secretary for Fish and Game NZ during which there was fiascos like banning felt sole waders and lead shot, Canada geese classed as pests, rising licence costs, an abortive court case against high country farmers that cost a lot of money into hundreds of thousands and other blunders. To be fair Johnson’s recommendations were approved by a national council, but he I take it, made the proposals?
The national Fish and Game council seems largely weak. Let us wait and see how the new CEO goes.
What of deserving people who get no recognition? Nor did they seek a medal. I think of the late Bill Benfield who passed away in March this year and which you Mr Editor, fittingly published a tribute. Well done I say on your part because you recognised Bill Benfield’s untiring, committed efforts towards conservation. His three books “The Third Wave - Poisoning the Land”, “At War with Nature” and “Water Quality and Ownership” are outstanding, dedicated books which should be read by all. Tross Publishing were the publishers and I gather copies are still available.
The difference between those who were recognised in the Queen’s Birthday honours and Bill Benfield is, Bill never sought medals or “gongs” as they are termed. Perhaps only those with “delusions of grandeur” as my duck shooting companion put it, got them. My calculated guess is Bill would have declined an award and said let’s get on with the job. He probably saw through the shallowness of the elite honours system anyhow.
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