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Tai A Kiwa: Stronger Pacific Parliaments Celebrates Its First Year

The programme was established to expand and enhance technical assistance to parliaments in the Pacific. It was established by a Memorandum of Understanding between the Clerk of the House of Representatives and the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Tai a Kiwa works with Pacific parliaments to build capability, capacity and efficiency. It also aims to grow public understanding of democratic systems and promote an increase of women parliamentarians in the region.

“For many years the New Zealand Parliament has provided programmes and activities to support parliamentary democracy in the Pacific,” says David Wilson, Clerk of the House of Representatives. “Tai a Kiwa enabled our Parliament to expand what it can deliver and respond more effectively to requests from our partners in the regions. I am pleased to see how we have fostered these relationships and delivered fantastic activities under Tai a Kiwa.”

During its first year, the Tai a Kiwa programme has delivered outcomes including:

· the Pacific Parliamentary Forum 2019, with parliamentarians from 16 parliaments

· study attachments for the Clerk of the Cook Islands Parliament, Tongan Constituency Officers, and the Fiji Foreign Affairs Committee

· a forum for Human Resources staff

· a regional meeting and conference for Pacific women parliamentarians from 10 parliaments

· an online discussion forum, in partnership with the Inter-Parliamentary Union, to discuss innovations in engagement and technology in parliaments

· support for the Clerk and Speaker of Niue to attend the regional Presiding Officers and Clerks Conference.

The Clerk added that “recent months have been challenging as the Covid-19 pandemic restricted travel and face-to-face contact in our region. However, it’s been fantastic that we can continue via virtual means. For example, our Parliament assisted with Budget analysis with the United Nations Development Programme and the Legislative Assembly of Tonga via email. We will also be scheduling online catch-ups with a range of Pacific parliaments to explore general procedural issues and our parliamentary responses to the pandemic”.

Over the next year, Tai a Kiwa will be holding online discussion forums and creating resources for the Pacific Public Accounts Network and the Pacific Legislatures Network. It will also host the rescheduled 5th Pacific Clerks and Parliamentary Staff Study Programme.

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