New Zealand prime minister cancels Europe tripBy DPA, IANS
Monday, September 6, 2010
WELLINGTON - New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said Tuesday he had cancelled a scheduled trip to Europe this week to stay home and direct recovery operations following the weekend earthquake that devastated Christchurch.
Key was due to leave Friday for talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and senior officials of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris.
He had also been invited to make a private visit to meet Queen Elizabeth II at her country estate in Balmoral, Scotland.
Key, who said Monday that he would still make the trip, told reporters that continuing major aftershocks - including two jolts of magnitude-5.4 - which had caused more damage had made him change his mind.
He said that he wanted to show solidarity with the people of Christchurch. “I decided on balance it wasn’t prudent for me to leave. I’d rather stay and be here in New Zealand.”