Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Deep regret at possible sale of Upham medals

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Defence

18 April 2006
Media statement

Deep regret at possible sale of Upham medals

The sale of Charles Upham's Victoria Cross and bar to a private buyer would be a matter of real public regret, says Defence Minister Phil Goff.

"While the decision is one for his family to make, it would be hugely disappointing for the medals to be lost from public access," Mr Goff said.

"However the government does not believe it is appropriate for the public to pay the $3.3 million asked for the medals.

"This would clearly be unfair to the 19 other families who have gifted or lent VCs to New Zealand museums, seeking nothing in return. Their generosity and public spiritedness has made those medals accessible to the public and allows the bravery of the medal holders to be remembered and honoured by all New Zealanders for generations to come.

"The latest VC to be passed to the Auckland War Memorial Museum just last month was from the family of Sergeant James Ward, the airman who crawled out onto the wing of a Wellington bomber to smother an engine fire that was putting at risk the lives of the crew.

"Nor do I believe that the sale of the medals would have been approved by Charles Upham himself. Upham consistently stated that the credit for his VCs was not simply his, but shared with the men whom he led.

"At the end of the war he turned down a gift of 10,000 pounds offered by the Canterbury province, which would have assisted him to buy a farm.

"In a letter to the Mayor of Christchurch, he said: 'The military honours bestowed upon me are the property of the men of my unit as well as myself, and were obtained at considerable cost of the blood of this country … under no circumstances could I consent to any material gain for myself for my services.'

"I regard Charles Upham's achievement of a VC and bar as one of the finest and most important aspects of New Zealand's military history.

"The loss of public access to his medals would be a real shame. However the true value of the medals lies not in what can be bought and sold, but in the deeds of heroism he and so many others committed to earn them in the defence of our country," Mr Goff said.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Veronika Meduna: The Kaikoura Rebuild

A Scoop Foundation Investigation

Friday will be a big day for people north of Kaikōura – and for hundreds of construction workers who are racing to reopen State Highway 1 in time for the holiday season.

By the afternoon, the South Island’s main transport corridor will be open to traffic again, more than a year after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake mangled bridges and tunnels, twisted rail tracks and buried sections of the road under massive landslides. More>>


BPS HYEFU WYSIWYG: Labour's Budget Plans, Families Package

“Today we are announcing the full details of the Government’s Families Package. This is paid for by rejecting National’s tax cuts and instead targeting spending at those who need it most. It will lift 88,000 children out of poverty by 2021." More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Defence Spending, Alabama, And Dolly Parton

The spending lavished on Defence projects to meet the risks that could maybe, possibly, theoretically face New Zealand in future is breath-taking, given how successive governments have been reluctant to spend even a fraction of those amounts on the nation’s actual social needs. More>>


Members' Bills: End Of Life Choice Bill Passes First Reading

The End of Life Choice Bill in the name of David Seymour has been sent to a select committee for consideration by 76 votes to 44. It is the third time Parliament has voted on the issue in recent decades and the first time such a Bill has made it over the first hurdle. More>>


State Sector: MPI Survives Defrag Of Portfolios

The Ministry for Primary Industries will not be split under the new government, but will instead serve as an overarching body for four portfolio-based entities focused on fisheries, forestry, biosecurity and food safety. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Vulnerable Kids, RNZ Funding, And Poppy

The decision to remove the word ‘vulnerable’ from the Ministry for Vulnerable Children could well mark a whole shift in approach to the care of children in need... More>>





Featured InfoPages