Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians from Fiji and New Zealand share valuable lessons through parliamentary exchanges  

A delegation of eight women Members of the Parliament of the Republic of Fiji spent a useful week in New Zealand, learning and sharing knowledge with counterparts from the Parliament of New Zealand. The delegation from Fiji, including three Ministers, an Assistant Minister, and four MPs, were in New Zealand as part of an ongoing Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians programme of parliamentary capacity and relationship-building between women Parliamentarians in the CPA Pacific Region. The delegation enjoyed a busy schedule, engaging in a series of workshops and building connections with New Zealand Parliamentarians.

Highlights of the week included meetings with the New Zealand Prime Minister, Rt Hon. Jacinda Ardern, MP; the Speaker of Parliament, Rt Hon. Trevor Mallard, MP and a wide range of Ministers, former and current MPs.

Workshops were shaped around important and current parliamentary issues which included engagement and communication, dealing with social media, effective chairing, managing office budgets, advocacy, and effectively representing constituencies. The workshops were delivered by cross-party Members, including Barbara Kuriger, MP, Louisa Wall, MP, Jo Hayes, MP, Anahila Kanongata'a-Suisuiki, MP, and Dr Parmjeet Parmar, MP.

While most of the programme was in Wellington at the Parliament of New Zealand, the Fijian delegates also had the chance to go to Auckland and Christchurch for an electorate programme, visiting electorate offices and shadowing members and Ministers for a day.

Reflecting on the week, Rt Hon Trevor Mallard, Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives, said: “This was a really special opportunity and I am so pleased we could host almost all the women in Fiji’s Parliament. There are now record numbers of women in both our Parliaments, with 20% in Fiji and 40.8% in New Zealand, and the week solidified relationships between them. I know that these connections will endure and be an important platform for sharing experiences and supporting one another. Representation of women in the Pacific region is low and therefore programmes such as this are an important way to build relationships, mentor, and share best practice between women MPs.”

The programme ran from 18 to 22 February 2019, with the delegation including Members from both Government and Opposition parties. It comprised Hon. Premila Kumar, MP; Hon. Mereseini Vuniwaqa, MP; Hon. Rosy Akbar, MP; Hon. Ro Teimumu Kepa, MP; Hon. Salote Radrodro, MP; Hon. Selai Adimaitoga, MP; Hon. Lynda Tabuya, MP; and Hon. Adi Litia Qionibaravi, MP.

The programme was coordinated by Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives with support from the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians.

Source: Office of the Clerk of the Parliament of New Zealand.

Updated 3 April 2019.

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The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association connects, develops, promotes and supports Parliamentarians and their staff to identify benchmarks of good governance and the implementation of the enduring values of the Commonwealth. The CPA is an international community of around 180 Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures working together to deepen the Commonwealth’s commitment to the highest standards of democratic governance. 
 
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