Disgraced millionaire Ron Brierley has surrendered his knighthood after admitting possessing child abuse images.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the move today, which follows Brierley pleading guilty to possessing child abuse images in Australia.
Ardern told reporters that if Brierley had not relinquished his honour she would have stripped him of it.
She said officials had begun this process, but after he was notified it was underway he decided to surrender the title.
"But I'm very clear, had he had not done so it would have been removed."
"I think it's a sad day for the children of New Zealand and, indeed, the world when someone is found guilty of possessing such horrendous images," Ardern said.
It was only right that there were "significant consequences" for that.
As a country, she said, New Zealand has to reject anyone who thought that this was okay.
She said no matter someone's history, if they possessed images which portrayed children being abused "that undoubtedly completely rewrites your history. Undoubtedly."
Last month, in an Australian court, Brierley pleaded guilty to three charges of possessing child sexual abuse material. He faces 10 years in prison.
Ardern said earlier in a statement: "Ron Brierley has written to the Clerk of the Executive Council to tender his resignation as a Knight Bachelor. The Queen has been informed."
The forfeiture follows the Prime Minister initiating the process to remove his Knighthood, Ardern said.
The Clerk of the Executive Council wrote to him on 6 April 2021 on behalf of the Prime Minister, giving him 30 days in which to provide any information that he considered relevant before the Prime Minister made her decision.
"Ron Brierley may no longer use the title "Sir", and he has been asked to return his insignia."
Brierley's barrister admitted he possessed "some images" but the exact figure is "in dispute".
He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison when he is sentenced.
As soon as the news broke, calls for Brierley to have his knighthood stripped began and Ardern said she had asked officials to begin work on a process that could lead to Brierley being stripped of his knighthood.
Wellington College, where Brierley attended high school, also severed its ties with the disgraced businessman after his guilty plea.
Although not the process of stripping a knighthood, or damehood.
Brierley's net worth, according to the 2018 Rich List, is estimated to be $220 million.
He started Brierley Investments in 1961 and was knighted in 1988 for his services to business.