Legislation to ensure a fitting National War Memorial Park will be developed at the National War Memorial site in Wellington in time for Anzac Day 2015 was passed by the House tonight.
The National War Memorial Park (Pukeahu) Empowering Bill allows the creation a unified National War Memorial Precinct in Wellington’s Buckle Street.
“The National War Memorial Park will provide an appropriate setting for what is one of our country’s most sacred sites,” Minister for Arts. Culture and Heritage Christopher Finlayson said. “It is the first and best option.”
The bill provides the statutory authorisations and consents necessary for the landscaping of the park and the undergrounding of a stretch of State Highway One on Buckle Street, which currently runs alongside the Memorial.
The bill will allow the project to be completed in time for the 2015 Anzac Day commemorations.
“The Anzac Day commemorations in 2015 will take place in a new, open space that can accommodate the ever-increasing numbers of New Zealanders who attend in recognition of the importance of these events,” Mr Finlayson said. “The commemorative space will be flanked on either side by landscaped areas with trees, seating, cycle-ways and walking paths.”
The development of the National War Memorial Park will take place in three further steps. State Highway 1 will be diverted via a temporary road to the north of its current alignment in order for works undergrounding Buckle Street to be undertaken.
Construction of the main undergrounding work will begin in early 2013. Landscaping of the park itself and establishing structures (such as the Australian memorial) will begin in late 2014.
The Bill received broad support, with National, Labour, New Zealand First, the Māori Party, United Future, and Act voting in favour.