Former Herald political writer John Armstrong yesterday received the insignia of an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to journalism.

He retired last year as the Parkinson's disease he was diagnosed with 15 years ago took its toll.

When the awards were announced, he said he was surprised but "extremely chuffed" by the accolade.

"I never had a day when I didn't want to go to work. That's a lucky position to be in. But I think in a funny way having Parkinson's helped me be more direct, bold, and brave because you never knew how long you would get to do the job."


Yesterday he said: "I still view it as just doing my job, hopefully better every time I did a column or comment piece."

Armstrong said the investiture was "fantastic", and included a chance to meet and speak to the Governor-General after the ceremony.

Armstrong's musings on politics and football can be found at Armstrong, who worked for the Herald from 1987, is a life member of Parliament's press gallery. He was political editor for a decade before becoming political correspondent. He was named best columnist at the 2013 Canon Media Awards and had previously won the best political columnist title.