ANZAC Day services were held across the country, and the world, where tens of thousands of New Zealanders and Australians paused to remember and honour those who fought, and those who died, during that brutal eight-month campaign. I was at the dawn service at ANZAC Cove in Gallipoli where I paid my respects on behalf of all New Zealanders to the more than 2700 Kiwi soldiers who lost their lives there. The reality of what those soldiers faced at Gallipoli is hard to imagine. They fought under terrible conditions and last weekend was a chance for all New Zealanders to remember their incredible courage and heroism. Their bravery, unity and tenacity helped to forge the ANZAC bond and reputation that endures to this day.
ANZAC Day is not only about remembering those who fought and died at Gallipoli but also those who served during World War I and World War II and in conflicts since then. We wouldn’t be the country we are today without their sacrifice. This week, following Gallipoli, I am leading a trade mission through the Gulf States – the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait – before returning to New Zealand.
This is the first time a New Zealand Prime Minister has visited Saudi Arabia. It’s an opportunity to strengthen and grow trade and business links between New Zealand and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), as well as to progress a free trade agreement with the GCC. The GCC is New Zealand’s fifth-largest export destination, with goods exports worth about $1.9 billion a year. New Zealand has a lot to offer the Gulf region and a number of our businesses already have a strong presence there. My visit is aimed at opening doors and helping to further promote New Zealand businesses.
Next week, I will welcome Prince Harry to New Zealand for a week-long visit – the first time he has been to New Zealand. His programme will see him visit Stewart Island, Christchurch, Wellington, Linton, Whanganui and Auckland.