NZ Parliamentarians for a Democratic Burma
MP for Northcote and Deputy Speaker
April 23, 2005
NZ Parliamentarians for a Democratic Burma launched
New Zealand MPs have formed the New Zealand Parliamentarians for a Democratic Burma group.
Lead by Northcote MP Ann Hartley, the group will work with the New Zealand government to promote and support moves towards Democracy in Burma.
The group was formed at a meeting in Auckland today between Burmese MPs living in exile and six New Zealand MPs from across the political spectrum.
The group’s first action will be to urge the New Zealand Government to challenge the suitability of the current Myanmar regime taking up the chairmanship of the Asean group next year.
Ann Hartley, who organised today’s meeting after an approach from constituents, said that it was important for people all over the world to support the development of democracy and human rights in Burma.
“I have many Burmese refugees living in my electorate, and I have been incredibly impressed by their commitment to promoting democracy in their homeland, despite the persecution that they have had to overcome themselves,” she said.
“They are very worried about the loved ones they have left behind.”
Ann Hartley said that it was invaluable to have the exiled Burmese MPs at the meeting. The delegation included U Maung Maung, general secretary of the National Council of the Union of Burma (NCUA) and the Federation of Trade Unions of Burma (FTUB), based on the Thai/Burmese border; U Hla Oo, president of FTUB and an MP for Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD), living in exile in Thailand; and U Daniel Aung, an MP for an ethic party in the Karenni State of Burma, now living in exile in Australia.
All New Zealand MPs were invited to today’s meeting. Those who attended were Pansy Wong and Wayne Mapp (National). Helen Duncan and Ashraf Choudrey (Labour) and Matt Robson (Progressives). Keith Locke (Greens) and Lynne Pillay (Labour) sent apologies.