Kurt Bayer

Kurt Bayer is an APNZ reporter based in Christchurch.

Gallipoli ballot system for centenary celebrations

Thousands are expected to attend the centenary commemorations of the Gallipoli landings in 2015. File photo / APN
Thousands are expected to attend the centenary commemorations of the Gallipoli landings in 2015. File photo / APN

A ballot system to select who can attend Gallipoli centenary celebrations at Anzac Cove in 2015 has been agreed by New Zealand, Australian, and Turkish governments.

A public consultation was launched today, on both sides of the Tasman, on how the ballot system might work for the milestone event.

Hundreds of Kiwis have already booked their trip of a lifetime, but might be left disappointed, and out of pocket, if the ballot system criteria rules them out.

The tiny Turkish peninsula where Allied troops landed in 1915 during World War I can cater for only 10,500 visitors.

Every year, thousands of Kiwis and Aussies flock to the area to pay homage to the thousands of Anzac soldiers who lost their lives in the famous stalemate.

New Zealand and Australia governments, along with Turkish authorities, believe that a ballot is the only fair way to deal with the anniversary event demand, which is expected to well exceed the 10,500 limit.

The ratio of New Zealand to Australian places will reflect each country's casualties at Gallipoli in 1915, Veterans' Affairs Minister Nathan Guy said today.

A total of 2431 Kiwi soldiers died during the eight-month long stalemate, while 7594 'Diggers' perished.

"While the agreed number of visitors won't be finalised until Turkish authorities have completed their assessment of the site capacity, we expect that New Zealand will have around 2000 places and Australia 8000," Mr Guy said.

"A balloting system will be used to allocate attendance passes, and we want to receive the public's input on how this should be run."

The government wants to gauge public opinion on whether certain groups, including descendants of those who served, should have priority, or whether all places in the ballot should be open to all New Zealanders.

Veterans groups have called for descendants of Gallipoli veterans to be given first choice to go.

"That is definitely an option that should be considered," RSA president Don McIvor told APNZ when the national news service revealed that a ballot was being considered by the Government back in June.

After hearing from the public the Government will make a decision in early 2013 on the balloting principles.

The survey and more information can be found at www.gallipoli2015.govt.nz, with submissions due by November 25.

- APNZ

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