Red zone tour priority for Hague

New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully (L) and British Foreign Secretary William Hague speak at a joint media conference in Auckland yesterday. (Photo by Sandra Mu/Getty Images)
New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully (L) and British Foreign Secretary William Hague speak at a joint media conference in Auckland yesterday. (Photo by Sandra Mu/Getty Images)
British Foreign Secretary William Hague lands in Christchurch today and has made touring the quake-battered inner city red zone a priority.

On day two of his whistle-stop New Zealand visit, he will lay a wreath at the naval base HMNZS Pegasus on the fringe of the red zone to honour fallen service personnel, before meeting a number of veterans.

Around midday, Mr Hague will then be taken on a guided tour of the CBD red zone by Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee.

His New Zealand counterpart, Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said yesterday that Mr Hague has expressed "solidarity and support" for Christchurch since the quakes.

"And when he had half a day that he could spend doing something outside of Auckland, that was his priority, and we were very pleased to make it happen for him," Mr McCully said.

Mr Hague will wrap up his New Zealand tour outside the Christchurch Art Gallery, when he promotes the 2013 Great British Car Rally taking place across New Zealand from February 17-22.

Mayor Bob Parker will then take Mr Hague for a spin in his own MG RV8 sportscar.

The former leader of the British Conservative Party has used his second visit to the country in two years to strengthen ties Down Under.

Yesterday Mr Hague and Mr McCully issued a joint statement to pledge a close working relationship in battling the "growing threats" to cyber security, and to "advance this through positive international engagement".

- Kurt Bayer of APNZ

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