In a few weeks it will be the seventh anniversary of the death of Sir Paul Holmes which occurred just two weeks after he'd received his knighthood, a deserved recognition of his many achievements in a too short life.
Paul was my friend and I was honoured to be invited to speak at the huge gathering in Auckland that was his funeral.
Paul was always a courageous campaigner against what he saw as injustice and towards the end of his life became committed to righting what he saw as a historic wrong committed by the Muldoon Government and Air New Zealand following the crash of an airliner on Mount Erebus during flight to Antarctica.
This remains New Zealand's worst peacetime disaster. All 257 people on board died instantly when flight TE 901 slammed into the mountain and, for my generation, it seemed like everyone knew of someone who had died.
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A Hastings friend who'd taught me how to tune bagpipes many years before was one of the victims, having been given a ticket by a friend whose wife had been taken ill.
Justice Peter Mahon was tasked with investigating the tragedy and though the government and the airline had accepted the conclusion of the Chief Inspector of Air Accidents, Ron Chippindale, that the accident was caused by errors of the pilot and crew, Mahon uncovered the fact that the aircraft's navigation computer had been reprogrammed without the knowledge of the crew.
With that error by the airline, and a strange Antarctic phenomenon called "white out", the crew were confident that they were in the clear when they were heading for Mt Erebus.
Mahon's version of the cause was challenged, and the conclusion of pilot error was left to stand.
Paul had a pilot's licence, an interest in aviation which went back to our schooldays at Karamu High School and a burning sense of injustice. (He'd also survived a couple of plane crashes.)
He researched the crash assiduously and met many who'd been touched by the disaster including the family of Jim Collins, the pilot who was carrying much of the blame.
Lady Deborah Holmes told me that she was a "book widow" for close to two years as Paul rose as early as 5am to work on the book that was to emerge from his commitment to the issue.
This week Paul's campaign succeeded.
It's a great pity that he didn't live to see the injustice that obsessed him finally righted when Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, and the Air NZ chairperson issued an apology for the role of the government and the airline in the crash, finally absolving the pilot and crew.
This is gutsy stuff from our Prime Minister who has the courage to go where her predecessors would not.
More good news this week came from Justice Minister Andrew Little.
A small but highly symbolic step towards penal reform was taken this week when he announced that he would promote legislation to restore the right to vote for prisoners serving sentences of three years or less.
Opposition leader Simon Bridges immediately demonstrated his right-wing credentials by vowing to restore the half-pie ban that National enacted in 2010 for no reason other than to kowtow to the shrinking minority who think that being nasty to people who've fetched up in jail is somehow a blow against crime.
Former National Party MP and Minister for Courts Chester Borrows (who remains a National Party member) welcomed Andrew Little's initiative and made some interesting and intelligent observations on Radio New Zealand.
Borrows described the measure depriving prisoners of the vote (which he had to support as a member of National's 2010 parliamentary caucus) as a "dog of legislation" and condemned Bridges' position as not "evidence based".
He believes that prisoner rehabilitation should be more a matter of the "carrot" rather than the "stick".
Chester Borrows' point is that punitive methods have clearly failed and we should look to incentives rather than punishment to socialise prisoners in readiness for release.
Sadly, with Simon Bridges as leader, National is going backwards.
Sir Bill English wanted National to reduce sentences for prisoners who undertook courses (like learning to read and write) while in jail.
This policy is proven to work in California and New York, reducing re-offending and prison populations.
In National's new discussion document, Bridges reverts to the "stick" rather than the "carrot", abandoning this positive policy for making literacy and numeracy a "condition of parole".
This week we had a chance to compare the two leaders of the big parties, one of which will lead a new government after the general election next year.
Perhaps Bridges' timing was unlucky but the contrast between a courageous PM leading from the front, and a pathetic political pygmy desperate to curry electoral favour was striking.
- Mike Williams grew up in Hawke's Bay. He is chief executive of the Howard League and a former Labour Party president. All opinions are his and not those of Hawke's Bay Today.