Doorstop at Wreath Laying Ceremony in Arrowtown, New Zealand
SUBECTS: Prime Minister’s visit to New Zealand; Firefighting helicopter pilot tragedy; Centenary of Anzac.
The New Zealand firefighting is a continuation of that great Anzac spirit. And obviously we are very very sad, as you are, from the death of the helicopter pilot that served in Afghanistan - and one of the veterans I was speaking to there served in Afghanistan.
He was doing what he was doing in Afghanistan – selflessly serving, courageously serving his country and we know, both of our countries know the cruelty of nature, the cruelty of fire. We face them – there are big fires burning in New South Wales at the moment. But we learn, we cooperate, we support each other and we learn a lot from each other in firefighting.
The bond between the two countries is really highlighted isn’t with this sort of cooperation?
Our nations are so close. We are the closest of families. And the Anzac tradition of mateship, solidarity, selflessness is part of our DNA.
As I was saying to the veterans here, as I thanked them for their service – some of them like Lucy’s dad had been in the Second World War and talking to one of the ladies whose husband had served in the Air Force in the Second World War like Tom had – we, in these anniversary years, particularly as we contemplate the extraordinary losses, particularly in small communities like this in the First World War, we best honour the diggers of a century ago, by supporting the men and women of defence forces today, the veterans and their families. That’s how we best honour them and that is my commitment.
Thanks very much.