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Douglas Graham knighthood

Filed under: General — Downunder @ 10:00 am Fri 1st November 2013

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.)


  1. Jean Else, made a dame for services to education, is first woman to have title annulled.

    But eight years later, the General Teaching Council charged Else, a former truancy adviser for Tony Blair’s government, with cronyism for promoting her twin sister from part-time clerical assistant to the post of assistant head.

    The council’s professional conduct committee said Else was guilty of failing to observe minimum standards in recruiting and promoting staff.

    Comment by Downunder — Fri 1st November 2013 @ 10:28 am

  2. I am not always with the PM (particular the spy stuff) but I am on this one. The short version is it seems Sir Douglas took the director role on as an honorary position. He would have very little to do with the day to day running of the business and its affairs.

    I suspect they offered him a role in the business because he was well respected. Seems the other took advantage of him. While Sir Douglas should have checked the books more closely I suspect in his role as a minister he would have had become used to his staff and colleges not misleading him.

    You know just because a man was once seen as high is society or well-to-do it doesn’t automatically mean they cheated to get there. He did do a lot of good works and no one can take that away from him.

    While people lost lots of money Douglas didn’t steal it, he just didn’t read the documents and a few hundred hours community service is probably about right. The media served a harder blow than the Judge could ever do.

    You know part of the group is to be a support for men.

    I am going to be magnanimous on this one.

    Comment by Lukenz — Sat 2nd November 2013 @ 10:47 am

  3. 50 plus finance companies collapsed in NZ – not to mention the likes of blue chip ( still no one held to account ) and hanover – whose directors felt it was perfectly acceptable to remove MILLIONS in CASH before the crash……..

    So we had thousands of good honest NZ men and women – parents – middle class New Zealanders – who lost their entire LIFE savings, and in some cases their homes – because they invested in these companies based on what was presented in the PROSPECTUS – signed off by people presented as trustworthy – and used to advertise those financial services.

    Perhaps you should be presenting this question directly to those good people who lost savings created after a lifetime of WORK. A lifetime of hours ( certainly more than 200 hours ) working hard and Saving and believing the investments they made and the information presented and signed off was to be trusted.

    I met a lady just yesterday – who lost her home. Think about that – working hard – saving honestly and losing it all because you put your trust in others…….think there might be a need to be a bit more diligent – and check things before signing – especially given the liability if you get it wrong……

    Only those who lost so much – can really comment on the enormity of their loss and how they feel about those who they feel are responsible and what would believe would be an appropriate punishment……

    Comment by hornet — Sat 2nd November 2013 @ 11:13 am

  4. Any man is not made a knight. The position is offered and that person accepts the knighthood.

    While I can see that a knighthood recognises a contribution or excellence in a particular sector of society, that award also has expectations of minimum standards.

    Jockey Lester Piggott for example was stripped of his knighthood for tax fraud.

    I am not seeing this from the point of view of Graham having been convicted for his part in the Lombard collapse.

    Sir Douglas Graham took it upon himself to lend his name and the ‘reputation of knighthood’ to a finance company – an area in which he obviously lacked sufficient experience and knowledge, to maintain what those people that trusted/blindly followed him should have been able to expect, a minimum standard.

    As we have seen recently in England, those knighted men within the finance and banking industry have been quickly and rightfully stripped of their awards for falling short of a minimum standard.

    There has been a significant amount of shame piled on Sir Douglas through the media along with a fine of $100,000 and legal costs. He is far from unscathed.

    Even believing that the man acted honestly, Sir Douglas has fallen seriously short of the minimum standard required in his management and use of this award.

    While the Prime Minister has decided to leave him with his award for the reasons block quoted in the post, I would like to think that other holders and future recipients of the knighthood, will see the fallout from Sir Douglas Graham’s predicament as a warning to show this honour greater respect.

    Comment by Downunder — Sat 2nd November 2013 @ 1:30 pm

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