7 Mar 2013

NZ condolences expressed to Venezueluan people

6:09 am on 7 March 2013

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has expressed his condolences to the people of Venezuela and to the family of its late leader Hugo Chavez, who died on Tuesday.

A state funeral is to be held on Friday (local time) and seven days of national mourning have begun.

Mr Chavez, 58, died of cancer, which was first diagnosed in 2011. His illness prevented him from taking the oath of office after he was re-elected for a fourth term in October.

Mr Key, who is currently in neighbouring Colombia, has had some minor changes made to his trip as political leaders travel to Caracas to pay their respects.

He will not attend the funeral, but a representative from the New Zealand Government will be there.