Crossparty Letter Supporting Sir Keith Park Statue
Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Defence
29 May 2008 Media Statement
Phil Goff to Deliver Cross Party Letter in Support of Sir Keith Park Statue to Mayor of London
Defence Minister Phil Goff will meet with newly-elected Mayor of London Boris Johnson and deliver a letter signed by all party leaders in support of a statue of New Zealand WWII hero Sir Keith Park in Trafalgar Square.
“Air Chief Marshal Sir Keith Park commanded the RAF’s No. 11 Fighter Group during the Battle of Britain. His tactical brilliance and inspirational leadership played a vital part in Britain’s defence at a critical phase of the Second World War when the Luftwaffe threatened to destroy the British air defence system and economy as a precursor to invasion,” Phil Goff said.
“Act MP Rodney Hide has organised the letter and I am happy to deliver it on behalf of all of Parliament.
“Every New Zealand political party leader in Parliament, including Prime Minister Helen Clark and the Leader of the Opposition, have signed the letter to Mayor of London Boris Johnson, supporting a campaign for a statue to Sir Keith Park in Trafalgar Square, which is being led by London City financier Terry Smith.
“I will meet and deliver the letter personally to Mr Johnson on June 6 while I am in the UK during an official visit to the UK. The letter registers New Zealand’s strong support for the campaign, and highlights the motion proposed by Mr Hide and unanimously passed by the New Zealand Parliament in support of the move to honour Sir Keith Park.
“A statue of Sir Keith in the centre of London would give overdue recognition to a man whose efforts were critical in helping to protect London and prevent the invasion of Britain. In succeeding, Sir Keith helped to change the course of the Second World War,” Phil Goff said.
“Sir Keith was a great New Zealander who did what needed to be done and did it exceptionally well. Along with Sir Keith more than 12,000 New Zealanders served in the RAF during the Second World War, of whom more than a quarter died.
“A statue of Sir Keith would reflect the strong bond between our two nations, which saw our troops fight alongside the UK, in both world wars in the Twentieth Century,” Phil Goff said.
Letter attached below.