Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has given the green light for a national memorial of the Erebus disaster and says she will meet with the families to discuss it.

Ardern said she wanted the memorial in place by the 40th anniversary in two years' time.

An Air New Zealand DC10 crashed into Mt Erebus in Antarctica on November 28, 1979, killing all 257 people aboard.

She said she would sit down with the families and Air New Zealand to talk about the memorial.

"I know families and others have been seeking a national memorial for some years and it's high time we as a nation formally recognised this tragic event."

She had already received some advice from officials.


"I'm committed to making progress as soon as possible. We have waited too long already."

Ardern said she expected the memorial to be located somewhere in New Zealand.

Act Party leader David Seymour had planned to move a motion in Parliament today to debate the need for a national memorial - but he has withdrawn his motion following the Prime Minister's announcement.

"The Act Party welcomes the Prime Minister's commitment to proceed with a national memorial to honour the 257 victims who died in the 1979 Erebus tragedy," Seymour said.

"I have called the representative for the families this morning. They were delighted to hear of the Prime Minister's commitment. They are looking forward to meeting the Prime Minister and getting to work, as the timeframe for this project will be tight."

He said a number of the Erebus victims' families live in the Epsom electorate, where Seymour is the local MP.

"I became aware of the effort to build a memorial while door knocking there. I would be pleased to work with the Government on this matter to ensure a national memorial is in place for the 40th anniversary in 2019."​

Ardern said she had spoken to Seymour last night to discuss the memorial and said she would be happy to give him a briefing.


"I hope come 2019 we will have in place a suitable memorial that honours those who died, a place where all New Zealanders can come to pay their respects and remember this sad event," she said.