Wellington, April 12, 2018
Strengthening established relationships and forging new ones, while advocating for enhanced trade ties is the focus of a delegation led by the Speaker Trevor Mallard.
The delegation, which left Auckland yesterday includes Amy Adams (National), Jacqui Dean (National), Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi MP (National) and Priyanca Radhakrishnan MP (Labour).
The delegation will be engaging in a wide-ranging programme in Singapore, Spain, Portugal, and the United Kingdom. Sharing perspectives on security, sustainable development, and other key challenges in global affairs will also be a key priority.
Boosting bilateral relations
“We attach a lot of importance to our warm bilateral relationship with Singapore and we are seeking to advance our relationship on many levels, including trade, science, education, the arts, and the environment.
Spain, the fourth largest economy in the Eurozone, and a strong promoter of liberal trade policy, will be important in post Brexit trade negotiations, and with whom we look forward to deeper connections in the future.
Likeness to Portugal
Like New Zealand, Portugal has a coalition Government, with a strong focus on gender equality, family-friendly measures, and technological advancement, from which we can learn a lot. They have made enormous progress in reducing drug deaths through a different approach to policy.
The Portuguese Parliament is also considering legislation on assisted dying and medicinal cannabis providing a timely opportunity to learn from each other’s experiences in these complex policy areas.
New Zealand’s heritage is strongly tied to the Commonwealth, whose values we hold dear, and the United Kingdom is one of our oldest and closest friends.
This visit to London comes at an important time as we lay the groundwork for our enhanced, forward-looking relationship post-Brexit.
Importance of Visit
Bilateral visits of this kind provide a valuable opportunity to engage directly with legislators and those in positions of influence, allowing for New Zealand’s perspectives and policies to be better understood and our goods and services promoted to the world.
It is a great privilege to showcase our robust parliamentary scrutiny systems, and our approaches to indigenous issues and political representation to the world.
The interactions will strengthen the capability of our own Parliament and contribute to the professional development of our parliamentarians.
Meetings in high places
The programme begins with a brief stop-over in Singapore, where the delegation will meet with the President of Singapore and the Deputy Speaker and visit schools and businesses with links to New Zealand.
Following this, the delegation will head to Spain for an official programme at the Spanish Congress and Senate, where they will meet with the Speakers of both Houses and Chairpersons of the Foreign Affairs Committees.
The delegation will visit orchards and viticulture sites to promote our agriculture outreach and gain insights into Spain’s world-renowned production systems.
Full Programme in Lisbon
Before heading to Portugal for a full parliamentary programme and engagement with Kiwis’ living in Lisbon, the delegation will visit the regional Parliament of Basque to meet with the Speaker and President.
The visit will conclude in London, where the delegation will meet with Speaker John Bercow of the House of Commons, Lord Norman Baron Fowler, Speaker of the House of Lords, the Minister for the Asia-Pacific, and the Committee on Exiting the European Union.
I will also represent the New Zealand Parliament at ANZAC Day commemorations.
The delegation will return to New Zealand on April 26, 2018.
Trevor Mallard is Speaker of the New Zealand Parliament
(Photo from Office of The Clerk, New Zealand Parliament