Wellingtonian Editorial: Let's be proud of Memorial Park

Last updated 08:46 04/10/2012

Relevant offers


Editorial: Unfair demands on building owners Main parties to share spotlight Editorial: Bright signs for Wellington sport Wellington voters smarter this time Editorial: Pity the poor candidates America's Cup overshadows health Editorial: Sad demise of Downstage Timely promotion for Cunliffe Editorial: Runway extension needs a rethink Are the polls to be believed?

Wellington city councillor Iona Pannett has missed the point with her objections to National War Memorial Park in Buckle St.

OPINION: Ms Pannett said at a council meeting last week that council support of the memorial marked a "black day for Wellington" and that she did not support "glorifying war".

In fact, confirmation that the memorial is to be built marks a proud day for Wellington.

Having said that, you would be hard pushed to find anyone who wants to glorify war.

The memorial is about honouring the many thousands of New Zealanders who have given their lives fighting for their country. It is about honouring heroism.

It is easy to sit here, the best part of three-quarters of a century since the outbreak of World War II, and call yourself a pacifist, as Ms Pannett does so proudly.

She can do that because she lives in a free country.

"If I had a child, I wouldn't want a bullet through their head," she explained to The Wellingtonian this week.

What parent would want that? How many parents were delighted to see their children, many not out of their teens, heading to war?

Ms Pannett might feel differently if World War II had gone the other way, as it might have done but for the brave efforts of so many, including New Zealanders.

Germany and Japan seemed intent on dominating the world and were ruthlessly setting about achieving those lofty ambitions.

What was to be done? Put our heads in the sand and hope they got bored and went away? That might not have been the most effective solution.

Nearly always, war is unjustified. It is entered into too eagerly - witness the recent US-led invasion of Iraq.

However, on rare occasions there is no other rational choice. World War II was one of those occasions.

It was significant that one of New Zealand's greatest Prime Ministers, Peter Fraser, was jailed as a conscientious objector during World War I, but led the country boldly during World War II.

Many of us have fathers, grandfathers or other relatives who died fighting for New Zealand.

A prominent memorial honouring their sacrifice is a proud day, not a black day.

During last week's council meeting, when the issue was discussed, there were somewhat muted suggestions that the memorial should also honour the conscientious objectors and those who died on the "other side".

That's missing the point. It's a memorial to honour the people who fought and died for New Zealand.

It is a pity Ms Pannett has put the spotlight on Memorial Park as negatively as she has.

It was one of the rare occasions when politicians from both sides of the spectrum rose to the occasion and worked well for a good outcome.

Ad Feedback

Memorial Park was initially driven by the Labour Party when it was in government, and National's Chris Finlayson, the Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage, has doggedly forged on with the project.

Of course, there may be an unspoken agenda behind Ms Pannett's objections.

The Memorial Park project involves building a road. She is a committed opponent of roads.

Perhaps that's the prime reason for her objections, though she has chosen instead to focus on pacifism and "glorifying war".

- The Wellingtonian

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content