Knights, Dames titles prove too tempting for many

More than half the New Zealanders who were offered the option of becoming Knights or Dames have so far indicated they want the titles, Prime Minister John Key said today.

The titles were restored to the honours system last month after being dropped by the previous government in 2000.

That meant there were 85 people who had received honours which could be turned into titles.

They were given until the end of June to decide, and Mr Key said today 53 responses had been received - 46 had accepted titles and seven had rejected them.

He said he did not know their names but a list would eventually be published.

Rugby great Colin Meads told TV3 he had not yet decided whether to accept a knighthood.

Mr Key was asked whether he was going to propose giving former prime minister Helen Clark a title.

Miss Clark has been appointed head of the UN Development Programme and will give her valedictory speech in Parliament on Wednesday.

Mr Key said he understood it wasn't possible to offer a title to someone who held a position in the UN.

- NZPA

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