I wish to express my condolences, on behalf of all New Zealanders, to the families of people who have lost their lives in last night's earthquake. It is at times like this that we all value the care and support of our neighbours, friends and families.
I have also received a phone call from King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, expressing concern and heartfelt condolences on behalf of himself and Queen Maxima to all New Zealanders who have been affected by the earthquakes centred in the Kaikoura and Hanmer Springs area.
Their Majesties visited Government House last week for an Official Welcome and a State Dinner, before flying to Christchurch where they toured the areas under reconstruction from the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes. They also met earthquake survivors and heard about the physical and emotional impact the earthquakes have had on their lives. As a consequence of their recent trip and experiences, His Majesty said they both felt very connected to the suffering of those impacted by the recent quakes and asked that I forward to them their very best wishes and sympathy.