18 April 2008
The Speaker, Hon Margaret Wilson, will lead a cross-party delegation of parliamentarians to Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary during the April parliamentary recess.
The purpose of the delegation is to build on Parliamentary relationships by extending understanding of other Parliaments’ electoral systems, Ms Wilson said.
The delegation also plans to increase knowledge about New Zealand in the host countries while exploring opportunities for economic and cultural exchanges.
Ms Wilson said cultural links already exist as a result of migrants and refugees from Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary choosing to come to New Zealand.
New Zealand has a working holiday scheme with the Czech Republic and Ms Wilson said the delegation would lend its support to working holiday bilateral agreements with Poland and Hungary.
While in Hungary, the delegation will visit Varpalota to support a New Zealand company at a ground breaking ceremony for a new plant.
The investment by Fletcher Building Ltd through its subsidiary AHI Roofing is the largest New Zealand investment of its kind in Hungary and is also New Zealand’s largest investment in a manufacturing facility in Europe for many years.
‘It is a welcome extension of trade links between New Zealand and Hungary,’ Ms Wilson said.
In Warsaw, the delegation will visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and lay a wreath. The Speaker will also lay a wreath and speak at an ANZAC Day commemoration at the Prague War Cemetery.
Meetings have been confirmed with the President of Poland and President of Hungary and the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic and the Deputy Prime Minister of Poland. The delegation will meet with the Speakers of the Parliaments of Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary as well as select committees including those dealing with foreign affairs, constitutional and judicial matters and employment and labour issues.
Contact will also be made with parliamentary friendship groups in Poland and the Czech Republic and the delegation will explore establishing such a group in the Hungarian Parliament.
Meetings have been scheduled with the Mayor and Governor of Varpalota and Prague’s Deputy Mayor.
The delegation will travel to Krakow to visit the former Nazi Concentration Camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau.
The delegation leaves on Saturday 19 April and returns on Friday 2 May, 2008. Members are Katherine Rich and Brian Connell, National Party; Peter Brown, NZ First; Hon Marian Hobbs, Labour Party.