Tongan Speaker’s visit
Office of the Speaker of the NZ House of Representatives
Rt Hon Trevor Mallard
Tuesday 11 December
Rebuilding parliamentary infrastructure a key focus of Tongan Speaker’s visit
Lord Fakafanua, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Tonga, along with a delegation of Tongan MPs and officials, are visiting as official guests of the New Zealand Parliament from 10 December to 14 December 2018.
New Zealand’s Speaker, Rt Hon Trevor Mallard, is delighted to host this visit.
“New Zealand and Tonga have a long-standing and vibrant relationship owing to our shared geography and cultural background, evidenced best by the 60,000-strong diaspora of Tongans in New Zealand. We also share a history of weathering natural disasters and banding together to support each other in their aftermath. As part of the Pacific region, New Zealand is committed to supporting our neighbours to further develop their legislative practices, and the rebuild of Tonga’s parliament buildings following their destruction by Tropical Cyclone Gita in February this year has presented a unique opportunity to do so.”
The visit serves as an important opportunity for knowledge sharing between the two parliaments, particularly as Tonga rebuilds its Legislative Assembly’s infrastructure. While in Wellington, the delegation will explore parliamentary best practice. They will be meeting with the Sergeant-at-Arms, the General Manager of Parliamentary Service, and IST officers to explore how to build a modern and fit-for-purpose parliament and develop their eParliament strategy.
Meetings with the Māori Affairs select committee, Minister for Pacific Peoples Hon Aupito William Sio, and cross-party New Zealand MPs are also scheduled. In addition to meeting with Speaker Mallard, Speaker Fakafanua will join him on the floor of the House during question time, a rare privilege reserved for visiting presiding officers.
The programme will conclude in Auckland with meetings with Vector Energy and the Tongan Business Council, as well as a visit to the electoral office of Manukau East MP and Minister Hon Jenny Salesa to share experiences around how MPs engage with constituents.
Speaker Fakafanua was only 27 when elected Speaker of the Tongan Legislative Assembly in July 2012, making him the youngest Speaker in Tongan history.