World leaders gather for D-Day - but where was Ardern?

Author
Newstalk ZB ,
Publish Date
Thu, 6 Jun 2019, 3:26PM
Dame Patsy Reddy, far-left, attended on behalf of New Zealand. (Photo / Getty)

World leaders gather for D-Day - but where was Ardern?

Author
Newstalk ZB ,
Publish Date
Thu, 6 Jun 2019, 3:26PM

A service of commemoration was held in southern England to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day, with a  notable absence.

Queen Elizabeth II, U.S. President Donald Trump, other leaders of the wartime Allies such as Theresa May, Emmanuel Macron and Justin Trudeau — as well as German Chancellor Angela Merkel — joined some 300 World War II veterans at the seaside ceremony in Portsmouth Wednesday.

The service was held to mark 75 years since troops began to embark from Portsmouth on June 5, 1944, landing in Normandy the next morning.

The ceremony kicked off with the recollections of those who took part in the landings, broadcast from a giant screen, setting the tone for a ceremony meant to focus on veterans' sacrifices.

New Zealand’s Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy attended on behalf of the New Zealand Government, with no appearance from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern or Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters.

Andrew Dickens asked why neither of them had gone to the event, when other world leaders – including Australia’s Scott Morrison – had attended.

Dickens noted that, as far as he could see, Ardern had not attended a D-Day events in New Zealand, which left him "surprised and horrified". 

"I want to find out what she thinks is so important on the 75th anniversary of D-Day that she should be in Marlborough talking about her budget and not at the National War Memorial. It seems like the call is getting worse." 

Callers in response agreed with his calls, with one saying that it was "appalling" that she was not there."