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


Breed Laws Don’t Work: Vets On New National Dog Control Plan

It is pleasing therefore to see Louise Upston Associate Minister for Local Government calling for a comprehensive solution... However, relying on breed specific laws to manage dog aggression will not work. More>>


Corrections Corrected: Supreme Court Rules On Release Dates

Corrections has always followed the lawful rulings of the Court in its calculation of sentence release dates. On four previous occasions, the Court of Appeal had upheld Corrections’ practices in calculating pre-sentence detention. More>>


Not Waiting On Select Committee: Green Party Releases Medically-Assisted Dying Policy

“Adults with a terminal illness should have the right to choose a medically assisted death,” Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said. “The Green Party does not support extending assisted dying to people who aren't terminally ill because we can’t be confident that this won't further marginalise the lives of people with disabilities." More>>


General Election Review: Changes To Electoral Act Introduced

More effective systems in polling places and earlier counting of advanced votes are on their way through proposed changes to our electoral laws, Justice Minister Amy Adams says. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Our Posturing At The UN

In New York, Key basically took an old May 2 Washington Post article written by Barack Obama, recycled it back to the Americans, and still scored headlines here at home… We’ve had a double serving of this kind of comfort food. More>>


Treaty Settlements: Bills Delayed As NZ First Pulls Support

Ngāruahine, Te Atiawa and Taranaki are reeling today as they learnt that the third and final readings of each Iwi’s Historical Treaty Settlement Bills scheduled for this Friday, have been put in jeopardy by the actions of NZ First. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Damage De-Regulation Is Doing To Fisheries And Education, Plus Kate Tempest

Our faith in the benign workings of the market – and of the light-handed regulation that goes with it – has had a body count. Back in 1992, the free market friendly Health Safety and Employment Act gutted the labour inspectorate and turned forestry, mining and other workplace sites into death traps, long before the Pike River disaster. More>>

Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news