Prime Minister Weekly Column
Late last week I hosted Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott in Auckland for our annual leader’s talks. Australia is our largest economic and trading partner, so it’s important that we continue to work closely together on issues that affect both of our countries.
Mr Abbott and I discussed a wide range of political, economic, social and security issues. This year is significant for both our countries, as we are currently co-hosting the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup, and marking the centenary of the Gallipoli campaign and the formation of the ANZACs.
ANZAC Day 2015 marks both the centenary of World War One and the beginning of four years of commemorations as we remember the huge losses we sustained on Europe’s Western Front and in Africa. While Mr Abbott was in Auckland, we paid our respects to the ANZAC soldiers by laying a wreath at Auckland War Memorial Museum.
The Great War was one of the most significant events of the 20th Century, which had a profound and lasting impact on New Zealand society. Our troops travelled the furthest and our contribution came at a very high cost as more than 18,000 soldiers died and over 40,000 were wounded. Nearly every New Zealand family was impacted by tragedy and many communities large and small have memorials commemorating World War One. Mr Abbott and I have announced our intention to represent Australia and New Zealand at the Gallipoli Centenary commemorations in Turkey next month.
This ANZAC day I would encourage everyone to pay tribute to the Australian and New Zealand men and women who served in war during the 20th Century and those who continue to serve our countries today with honour. Next month, and over the next four years, there will be many opportunities to remember and mark the centenary as well as to reflect on the difficulties our soldiers faced with courage and determination. We wouldn’t be the country we are today without their sacrifice. Lest we forget.