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Governor-General to visit Canada and the UN

Media Release: Monday 28 April 2008

Governor-General to visit Canada and the United Nations

The Hon Anand Satyanand is to make the first State Visit by a New Zealand Governor-General to Canada in May followed by a visit to the United Nations where he will accept the prestigious Franklin Delano Roosevelt International Disability Award.

In an historic first, the Governor-General and Mrs Susan Satyanand will visit Ottawa from 30 April to 4 May. Their visit will include a formal welcome and meeting with the Canadian Governor-General, Rt Hon Michaelle Jean. The programme also includes calls on senior members of the Canadian Government and Judiciary as well as the laying of a wreath at the National War Memorial. The Canadian Governor-General will host a state luncheon in the Governor-General’s honour, while the Speaker of the House of Representatives will host a similar function.

The Governor-General said the visit was an opportunity to emphasise the strong links between New Zealand and Canada.

“Our two countries enjoy friendly and close relations and share a common Commonwealth heritage and parliamentary, legal and defence traditions. Due to these and many other links, New Zealand and Canada have successfully co-operated in many international forums while defence personnel from both our countries have worked side-by-side in places such as Bosnia, Timor-Leste and Afghanistan.”

The Franklin Delano Roosevelt International Disability Award will be presented at a ceremony in New York on May 6, attended by UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon.

The Award, from the World Committee on Disability and the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, recognises New Zealand’s efforts to improve the rights and lives of people with disabilities. These initiatives include the Human Rights Act 1993, the establishment of the Office of Health and Disability Commissioner, establishing the role of the Minister for Disability Issues and the Office for Disability Issues, developing and implementing the New Zealand Disability Strategy and New Zealand’s role in negotiating the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. As a part of the Award, the New Zealand Disabled Persons Assembly has been chosen to receive a US$50,000 grant.

The Governor-General said it was a great honour to receive the Award on behalf of all New Zealanders. The Award reflected the work of successive New Zealand governments to improve the well being of those living with disabilities, he said.

"New Zealand is committed to the principle that everyone is born equal in dignity and worth, and is entitled, as a human right, to participate as an equal member of society."

While the Governor-General is overseas from 29 April to 8 May, the Chief Justice, Rt Hon Dame Sian Elias, will serve as Administrator of the Government, undertaking his constitutional duties.


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