A former Mayor of Central Hawke's Bay District Council has been stripped of his New Zealand Order of Merit.

Hugh Hamilton, who was mayor of CHBDC from 1989-1995, and awarded his NZOM in 1997, lost it due to financial offences committed during his involvement with failed finance company Belgrave. He did legal work for the company.

Secretary and Registrar of the New Zealand Order of Merit Michael Webster told the prime minister thought it would bring the honours system into disrepute if Hamilton continued to hold an honour.

"The Honours Unit only became aware of Mr Hamilton's conviction and sentence relatively recently. That's why there is a period of time between his sentencing and the process and decision around forfeiture."


It is rare for the government to revoke an honour. The other four cases included convicted rapist Morgan Francis Fahey who had his OBE revoked in 2000.

Belgrave's 2008 collapse left more than 1200 investors $22 million out of pocket.

Hamilton was found guilty of 14 charges of theft by a person in a special relationship in 2014, and sentenced to four years and nine months prison.

He was released on parole in 2016, with three years left on his sentence.

The parole board said at the time they did not see him as an undue risk to public safety.

"He is a mature, compliant and polite prisoner who has a minimum security risk. He was struck off as a lawyer as the result of his offending. He says that he will not become involved again with any legal activity or financial involvement," the board said.