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PM against changing award rules for Kelly

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 30/10/2016
Helen Kelly © SNPA Helen Kelly

Prime Minister John Key supports not reinstating former union boss Helen Kelly as a candidate for New Zealander of the Year.

More than 3000 people have signed an online petition urging the panel to still consider Ms Kelly, who died on October 14, to be considered for the award.

The panel has until the end of the year to decide from a short list, but the rules say they cannot give the award posthumously.

"If ever there were a case when the New Zealander who has died should remain eligible for this award it is this one," the petition says.

But Mr Key told TV3's Paul Henry programme on Monday that he supports the panel's rules, believing changing them would create a precedent to allow people who died years earlier to win.

"There's no question that Helen would have been one of the most worthy candidates. Even though I didn't always agree with the things she said, would have hugely respected her if she'd won," he added.

The award was won last year by former All Blacks captain Richie McCaw.

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