The Lombard Finance Company collapse, the losses and the roll-on effect on its investors is a well-known story in New Zealand.
Prime Minister John Key announced today that Sir Douglas will retain his knighthood.
He said three factors influenced his decision.
Sir Douglas received his knighthood for his leadership role in Treaty settlements and he was convicted of a strict liability offence, where dishonest or criminal intent was not required for conviction.
Key noted the High Court found Sir Douglas and the other defendants acted honestly at all times, genuinely believed the statements in the amended prospectus were true, and that careful attention had been given to the contents of the amended prospectus, including taking legal advice.
“Third, in both New Zealand, and in the United Kingdom, it has been very rare for honours to be cancelled. In those cases where it has occurred, it has often been because the actions that led to the cancellation were in the same area as that for which the original honour was awarded. This is not the case with Sir Douglas,” Key said.
Sir Douglas took his name and his knighthood into the risky business of finance. He has been convicted of that failure.
Has the man lost his honour? Should he have done the ‘decent thing’ and have surrendered his knighthood?
Did he do his best, but his best wasn’t good enough to protect the man in the street. The wounded knight should be patched up and sent back out into the world.
What does the man in the street think?
(One thing does make the knight look a little petty; Graham appealed his sentence of community work which was reduced to 200 hours from 300 hours.)