The Speaker to Represent Parliament @ Passchendaele Ceremony
The Speaker to represent Parliament at Passchendaele commemorations
The Speaker, Rt Hon David Carter, will represent the people of New Zealand and our Parliament at the New Zealand National Commemorations for the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele in Belgium this week. He will be accompanied by a small parliamentary delegation, including Ms Sarah Dowie MP (National) and Mr Peeni Henare MP (Labour).
The Battle of Passchendaele on 12 October 1917 remains the greatest military disaster in New Zealand history. Some 960 men were killed as a direct result of this battle—the largest loss of New Zealand life in a single day.
Mr Speaker will be representing Parliament at the commemoration at Tyne Cot Cemetery near Zonnebeke, Belgium. His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge will be representing Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of New Zealand, and Hon Nick Smith will represent the Government of New Zealand. Princess Astrid of Belgium, who is attending on behalf of her brother King Philippe, will represent Belgium.
“As we reach the centenary of our darkest day, it’s important that we remember the courage of those who fought for us and the sacrifices they made. We will honour their memory as we recommit to securing a future free from intolerance and conflict, dedicating ourselves to reconciliation, peace, and friendship. It is an honour to represent not only New Zealand’s Parliament, but also its people, at Tyne Cot,” Mr Speaker said.
Mr Speaker reflected that, “New Zealand and Belgium are forever bound together by the devastating losses both countries faced all those years ago, and our modern friendship is cemented in shared values and our joint commitments to free trade and multilateralism. The Government and people of Belgium have constantly extended their support for our annual ANZAC Day commemorations. We attach a lot of importance to our warm bilateral relationship with Belgium, and also with the European Union—both in terms of our shared history from the First and Second World Wars, and in continuing to build forward-looking relationships”.
The visit to Belgium provides a useful opportunity to engage with senior Belgian and European parliamentarians. The delegation is looking forward to meeting with the President of the Belgian House of Representatives, Mr Siegfried Bracke, and the Vice-President of the European Parliament, Mr Boguslaw Liberadzki.
More information on the national commemorations, including those held in New Zealand, can be found atww100.govt.nz/passchendaele-centenary.