Maybe Ed didn’t care – but we should

Auckland City Harbour News - - News -

There’s heavy, em­bar­rass­ing and un­for­tu­nate irony in the gov­ern­ment de­ci­sion to back a Hil­lary Shield as a tro­phy for rugby tests be­tween Eng­land and the All Blacks.

Par­tic­u­larly since the name of the great­est New Zealan­der of our age was con­ve­niently and in­ex­pli­ca­bly dropped when the gov­ern­ment sports body took on that new and non­sen­si­cal Sparc la­bel.

This re­placed an ir­re­place­able and sig­nif­i­cant ti­tle of the Hil­lary Com­mis­sion.

What other na­tion would have treated an in­ter­na­tional hero and sym­bol so shab­bily?

As a test of the stu­pid­ity of that de­ci­sion, how many of the thou­sands who head for Twick­en­ham for the first Hil­lary memo­rial match this month would have any idea what Sparc stands for? Nor would they be­lieve that we could be as crass and stupid as our leaders were in mak­ing or en­dors­ing that clanger.

For the record: Sport and Recre­ation New Zealand – known as Sparc – was formed in 2002 fol­low­ing the merger of the Hil­lary Com­mis­sion, the New Zealand Sports Foun­da­tion and the pol­icy arm of the Of­fice of Tourism and Sport.

It was de­vel­oped af­ter Sport, Fit­ness and Leisure Min­is­ter Trevor Mal­lard – a fa­mil­iar name but a some­what muted voice in the cur­rent elec­tion cir­cus – set up an in-depth in­ves­ti­ga­tion into sport and recre­ation.

For­mer All Black and Auck­land Gram­mar head John Gra­ham led a na­tion­wide in­quiry, the Gra­ham Task­force.

Ev­ery­thing from lack of coaches, vol­un­teers, fa­cil­i­ties and in­ter­na­tional sport­ing suc­cess to a need to do more for the over­weight and el­derly went on the agenda. The shad­ows of some of those top­ics are still around with Push Play pro­grammes.

The fi­nal re­port pointed to lack of in­te­gra­tion, co­or­di­na­tion and lead­er­ship in sport and phys­i­cal recre­ation and rec­om­mended the new su­per agency, Sparc, be formed.

And, in that strange process, the great Hil­lary name got the high jump. Now, in what could be seen as some sort of be­lated atone­ment, as well as the Hil­lary Shield and a Sir Ed­mund Hil­lary Fel­low­ship, He­len Clark has an­nounced that: • The Young New Zealan­ders Chal­lenge of the Duke of Ed­in­burgh’s Award will in fu­ture in­cor­po­rate Sir Ed’s name • The gov­ern­ment will up its an­nual grant to Ed’s Hi­malayan Trust by $60,000 a year to $350,000 • And, irony of ironies, a Sir Ed­mund Hil­lary Out­door Recre­ation Coun­cil is planned by, of all peo­ple, the pol­icy-mak­ers who run Sparc.

As a na­tion, we should de­mand that they go the whole way now, do an over­due backflip and re­brand them­selves with the name which means so much and which of­fi­cial­dom chose so late in his life­time to de­mean.

We mourn the Hil­lary Com­mis­sion.

And while they’re at it, I could well be the only one be­liev­ing who­ever is in the var­i­ous Welling­ton driv­ing seats af­ter Satur­day’s big vote should look again at that de­ci­sion to scrap yet an­other his­toric relic – those pres­ti­gious let­ters QC which so many bar­ris­ters have sought and en­vied.

New 21st cen­tury ver­sions of a cen­turies-old tra­di­tion which al­low lead­ing lawyers to be called Queen’s – or King’s Coun­sel, de­pend­ing who was on the throne – are now known as Se­nior Coun­sel.

Cur­rent hold­ers can still be called QC but will also be able to use SC if they pre­fer. It will be in­ter­est­ing to see how many make that choice.

To drop into tra­di­tional court talk: “If Your Hon­our pleases I am in­structed by on­line sources that such ti­tles date back 500 years – give or take the odd decade – and that they were ap­pointed by let­ters patent to be one of ‘Her Majesty’s Coun­sel learned in the law’. They wore a dis­tinc­tive silk gown, hence the short­hand for such an ap­point­ment ‘tak­ing silk’.

“I am also in­structed by the same elec­tronic records that the first Queen’s Coun­sel ‘Ex­traor­di­nary’ was one, Sir Fran­cis Ba­con, with a patent giv­ing him prece­dence at the Bar in 1597, and for­mally styled King’s Coun­sel in 1603 (ref­er­ence WS Holdsworth, His­tory of English Law (1938) vi 4734).”

M aybe no one else cares, but I have re­spect for our shared his­tory and I’m sad to see an­other of the last ves­tiges of a great past dis­carded so read­ily.

Pre­sum­ably, the equally an­tique and his­toric ti­tle of prime min­is­ter could be the next to go, to in­stead get that bland and un­his­toric “se­nior min­is­ter” la­bel. But I some­how doubt that. In case you’re cu­ri­ous, I don’t imag­ine the change of ti­tle means a low­er­ing of fees.

My vote got his votes – all 60 of them. One re­ac­tion to last week’s col­umn “He’s my man” send-up on US and NZ cam­paign­ing: “Pat, I loved your spoof. I’ve sent it to every­one in my ad­dress book – about 60.” – East­ern Courier reader Brian Met­calf

A PS also in the pre-US elec­tion mail­bag:

“David Wil­liams’ let­ter about Fan­nie and Fred­die has the facts 180 de­grees wrong. The truth is that it was the Repub­li­cans and John McCain who tried to leg­is­late greater con­trol of FM and FM, only to be de­feated by the Democrats.

“The lat­ter forced the US bank­ing sys­tem to re­lax its lend­ing rules to en­able ‘the poor’ to bor­row for houses even though they couldn’t af­ford it. Sanc­tions were cre­ated to pun­ish re­luc­tant banks. FM and FM were en­listed, and when they, the banks, and Wall St ca­pit­u­lated and en­thu­si­as­ti­cally em­braced the low-qual­ity loan move­ment, the even­tual out­come is now plain to see.

“But let’s get this straight: It was the Democrats’ philo­soph­i­cal mo­ti­va­tion that brought all this about. Then when some wiser Repub­li­can heads tried to ap­ply the brakes, the Dems pre­vented it. Okay, don’t take my word for it. In­stead read the ar­ti­cles on the sub­ject in the Lon­don pub­li­ca­tions The Spec­ta­tor and The In­de­pen­dent on: www.tinyurl. com/3pt3ch and www.tiny url.com/3g2h6d.

“Of course, Wall St, the banks and FM and FM made a killing out of the flood of new mort­gage applications. I don’t con­done that but let’s be clear that the root cause was the re­moval of pru­dent lend­ing lim­its by those who thought they could dis­re­gard his­tory.

“It was the mis­guided or pos­si­bly ar­ro­gant at­tempt by the pro­po­nents of the sub­prime loans con­cept that set the cli­mate for the spec­tre of thou­sands of peo­ple be­ing sucked into a deadly fi­nan­cial vor­tex from which they could never es­cape.

“To me, those ac­tivists re­spon­si­ble for this the­ory were like com­mis­sion sales­men stand­ing on a river-bank ex­hort­ing hope­ful peo­ple to jump into the fast-mov­ing cur­rent be­liev­ing they would sur­vive and even­tu­ally reach calm wa­ters. Many of them drowned.” – John Spicer

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