News from British High Commission
A delegation of British MPs has left Wellington with two distinct impressions, says the delegation leader Lord McNally.
The first was the genuine warmth and empathy of the welcome, and the second was the 21st Century identity that New Zealand had created for itself as an Asia-Pacific country.
“Both offer a real opportunity for Britain and New Zealand to build on the past and the fact that New Zealand is clearly now a multi-cultural Pacific nation that still retains excellent links with the United Kingdom.”
The delegation numbers six MPs from the United Kingdom branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentarian Association.
Earlier this week they met Pacific Island MPs in Auckland for discussions on issues ranging from regional aid through to the role of women in politics.
“What struck us in our discussions with the Pacific Island MPs is the residual affections for the UK and respect for the standards of good governance that we represent.”
The delegation would also be reporting back to London on the delivery of aid work in the South Pacific.
In Wellington the delegation met the Speaker, the Rt Hon David Carter, laid a wreath in remembrance of the sacrifice New Zealand made on distant battlefields, watched Question Time in the House, had discussions with their political counter-parts, and later Commonwealth Youth.
Lord McNally said he had travelled to more than 70 countries and there were very few places where politicians could sit around the table “as we did in Wellington with the instant empathy and confidence to talk to each other frankly and robustly about issues.”
The delegation will spend their final time in New Zealand in Christchurch and later Auckland before returning to the UK.