New Zealand on show to Commonwealth
Wednesday 22 January 2014
The 22nd Conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers of the Commonwealth (CSPOC) will be opened by the Governor-General, His Excellency, Lt Gen, the Rt Hon Sir Gerry Mateparae in Wellington today (10.20am), following a spectacular procession of Speakers in their national ceremonial robes.
The conference runs until 24 January at Parliament Buildings and brings together the Speakers and Presiding Officers of the parliaments of 48 countries to discuss topics of common interest across the Commonwealth and learn from each other.
“This is the first time in 30 years New Zealand has hosted CSPOC and the first time much of the conference will be open to the public,” said the Speaker of the House, the Rt Hon David Carter. “It’s a unique occasion and provides the opportunity for us to showcase our parliamentary system to the world. There’s a lot of interest in our successful transition to MMP and our strong select committee system. New Zealand is a model for other small countries that don’t have a two-house parliamentary system.”
The conference has a strong South Pacific presence with delegates coming from the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu.
“Holding CSPOC close to home means many Pacific countries can participate and share their stories,” said Mr Carter.
Speaker of the Cook Islands Parliament, the Hon Niki Rattle is giving a keynote address on the challenges facing small parliaments, along with keynote addresses from New Zealand’s Speaker of the House the Rt Hon David Carter, former Speaker the Hon Professor Margaret Wilson, and our Attorney-General the Hon Christopher Finlayson, QC. These are open to the public.
“CSPOC contributes to developing parliamentary democracies so they can serve their citizens better,” said Mr Speaker. “Hosting this event is about being an active partner in the international parliamentary community. It’s also about building New Zealand’s place in the world.”