The PM's Life in Pictures

News and Updates About John Key


26 April 2015
Speech at Chunuk Bair

There are places on this peninsula whose names will never be forgotten.

Each country remembers where their soldiers fought, and where they fell.

Places where extraordinary bravery was shown, in unspeakable conditions.

For New Zealanders, nowhere in Gallipoli is more special than here on Chunuk Bair.

It was not the scene of a great triumph.

But it was the closest the Allied forces came to making a breakthrough in the whole Gallipoli campaign.

And it was led by a few hundred Kiwis, 10,000 miles from home.

We are the descendants and countrymen of the New Zealanders who fought and died on this hilltop.

From here we see the terrain that Colonel William Malone and his men in the Wellington Battalion made out as the dawn rose, almost 100 years ago.

We do not come merely as sightseers.

We come to feel closer to those who came here before us, 100 years ago.

By being here, we can imagine them climbing this hill with rifle in hand, squinting in the dark. Alert. Apprehensive.

We can see why this range of hills was so important – it’s the highest ground for many miles.

Australian and New Zealand units began attacking this range, and the approaches to it, on August 6, 1915.

The Auckland Battalion tried to take Chunuk Bair but was forced back with heavy casualties.

Next in line was the Wellington Battalion, but its commanding officer, Colonel Malone, refused to send his men to their certain deaths in a daylight attack.

They waited until night fell.

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25 April 2015
Dawn Service Speech

On this beach, on this day, at this hour, exactly 100 years ago, the first Anzac troops came ashore.

Instead of the open spaces that had been described to them, they landed here with steep hills rising in front of this narrow beach.

And in those hills, Ottoman Turkish soldiers were already positioned and ready to defend this land.

We New Zealanders rarely think of ourselves as anyone’s enemy, or as aggressors.

But that’s exactly how those soldiers would have seen the Anzac and other Allied troops on April 25, 1915, and in the grinding months of fighting that followed.

We have coastlines similar to this at home.

If, for a moment, we imagine the situation reversed, we know that New Zealand soldiers would have been willing to lay down their lives to defend their country.

So, of course, were the Ottoman Turks.             

Time and the perspective of history have cast the Gallipoli campaign, and some of the military decisions that were made, in a different light.

But 100 years ago, both sides were doing what they believed was right, and what they believed was necessary.  

There was something else the Anzac troops landing here at Gallipoli did not know as they first struggled onto this foreign soil.

It was that their bravery and unity would help to forge the Anzac bond and reputation that endures to this day.

I salute that, as I do the bravery of the troops who opposed them, and all those who fought on this peninsula.

The campaign waged here ensured that the name of this place would be written into the histories of New Zealand, Australia, Britain, Turkey, and the many other countries that fought here – never to be erased.

Since then, New Zealanders have fought on many other battlegrounds, with similar courage and tenacity.

Everywhere a New Zealander has died serving our country is part of our history.

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24 April 2015
PM speech at Istanbul Peace Summit

One hundred years ago today, thousands of young New Zealand and Australian soldiers waited anxiously for the orders that would send them ashore in an attempt to secure the Gallipoli Peninsula.

On shore, Turkish soldiers from their 9th and 19th Divisions waited just as anxiously, prepared to lay down their lives to protect their homeland.

Two days later, 25 April - Anzac Day - thousands of soldiers on both sides were dead or wounded, on the first day of a campaign that would last eight harsh months.

When the forces of the British Empire finally withdrew in December 1915, the Canakkale Land Battles had claimed over 130,000 lives.

Over the next two days, at Anzac Cove, Lone Pine, Chunuk Bair and at Turkish, Commonwealth and Irish, and French services, we will be remembering and honouring all those who served their countries with honour, and who fell at Gallipoli 100 years ago. 

When Australian and New Zealand troops landed on the shores of Gallipoli in April 1915, we came to fight a people we knew little of, and with whom we had no real quarrel.

The brutality of the Gallipoli battlefield was undeniable.

But there are also documented examples of acts of kindness and gallantry by soldiers on both sides.

And, from the cauldron of war, an enduring bond between our three countries emerged.

This bond continues to be epitomised by Ataturk’s immortal words of reconciliation to the mothers of the ANZAC fallen.  

Gallipoli demonstrates that forgiveness and respect between former adversaries can provide a foundation for the emergence of close, warm ties, in peace.

For New Zealand and Australia, it was at Gallipoli, also, that our young nations began to come of age.

It was from here that we began to think of ourselves as not just parts of the British Empire, but as distinct national entities.  

Out of the carnage of Gallipoli, and then Palestine and European campaigns that would follow, our countries emerged with a new sense of certainty about our own destiny and our place in the world.

It was in Gallipoli that the enduring ANZAC bond between New Zealanders and Australians was first forged.

Since then, our soldiers have often served together with many other nations, in international peace-keeping missions across the globe.

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News release

24 April 2015
PM delivers speech at International Peace Summit

Prime Minister John Key addressed the International Peace Summit in Istanbul, where historic bonds and current security challenges were common topics.

“It’s important to acknowledge the bonds forged between New Zealand, Australia and Turkey through acts of kindness and gallantry on both sides of the battle of Gallipoli and the forgiveness and respect that subsequently grew,” says Mr Key.

Prime Minister Key spoke to hundreds of delegates alongside the Prime Ministers of Australia and Turkey, and the President of Iraq.

One hundred years on, we each face security threats of a very different nature and the rise and reach of ISIL is foremost among them.

“New Zealand is a nation of travellers, and our country has close and important relations with countries in the Middle East, in Europe and closer to home in the Asia Pacific region - where terrorist groups are operating.”

“New Zealand must play a role, along with others here today, in standing up to the brutality and extremism of ISIL,” said Mr Key.

Over 25 world leaders attended the summit with Ministers and representatives from over 30 other countries.

“In the lead up to ANZAC Day 2015 and the centenary of the Gallipoli commemorations two days from now, it is timely to reflect on current challenges to international peace and security”, said Mr Key.

“The need for a strong UN Security Council and a focus on conflict prevention has never been greater.”

The Prime Minister also met with the President, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Turkey, the President of Iraq, and the Emir of Qatar during the Summit.


20 April 2015
Dedication of Australian Memorial in Pukeahu National War Memorial Park

It is a pleasure and it is also fitting to be here with my Australian counterpart today for the dedication of this magnificent memorial.

This park was opened only two days ago, though its origins date back to 1919 when the government agreed to build a National War Memorial here in Wellington.

It was to be visible from any part of the city, from ships entering the harbour, and from Parliament, so that future governments would remember the sacrifice that had been made in the First World War. 

Since the Carillon opened in 1932, this memorial space has been added to several times and the latest addition is this fine Australian Memorial that we are dedicating today.

We always hoped that our closest friend would be the first country to have its own memorial in our park, and I am delighted that this has now happened.

Five days from now we will stand beside our Australian friends again, but this time at Gallipoli for the 100th commemoration of the first landing by the Anzacs on that ill-fated shore. There will be other significant services around the world, and right here, as well as in Canberra.

The name Gallipoli has become synonymous with acts of great courage, immense hardship and terrible sacrifice on both sides of the campaign.

For New Zealanders and Australians in particular, it is also the symbolic beginning of what we now think of as the Anzac spirit.

I was privileged to be in Albany last November to commemorate the first coming together of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force and the Australian Imperial Force – the origins of the Anzacs a hundred years before.

In fact, the bond between our two countries goes back to the early decades of European settlement and we have had close links ever since.

The Anzac spirit has been defined in many ways – mateship, courage, integrity. But what it means in practice is that we can knuckle down and work together anywhere from a solid foundation of mutual trust.

We have a proud history of co-operation in the world’s conflict zones the names of these places are listed on the memorial pillars. They include South Africa, Gallipoli, Northern France, Greece, Crete, North Africa, Korea, Malaya, Vietnam and, more recently, Timor Leste, the Solomon Islands and Afghanistan.

We also collaborate to bring humanitarian relief to disaster zones around our region and beyond. As we speak, we have teams working very closely together in Vanuatu for the Cyclone Pam recovery effort.

And when we are in need ourselves, we are there for each other too.

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