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Revitalising Democracy Aim Of Australia, New Zealand, And Pacific Parliaments Conference

Strengthening democracy to face modern challenges in the Australasia and Pacific regions will be a key focus for a New Zealand parliamentary delegation at an international conference this week.

The delegation is attending the 51st Presiding Officers and Clerks Conference (POCC), hosted by Victoria Parliament in Australia. This regular event is hosted by a different Parliament each year and is open to presiding officers and clerks from Australian, Pacific, and New Zealand Parliaments.

The annual conference has not been held since 2019, due to COVID.

The delegation from New Zealand Parliament includes Speaker of the House Rt Hon Trevor Mallard, Deputy Speaker Adrian Rurawhe, Clerk of the House David Wilson, and Parliamentary Service Chief Executive Rafael Gonzalez-Montero.

Speaker of the House, the Rt Hon Trevor Mallard, said this conference offered a valuable opportunity to share ideas, impart knowledge, and grow global connections for stronger Parliaments.

“The work of the parliamentary agencies and Presiding Officers is essential for every Parliament, and after the past two years, having the opportunity to share with and learn from our neighbouring parliamentary colleagues has never been more important,” the Speaker said.

“Our engagement with our neighbouring Parliaments has continued over the past two years through virtual conferences, meetings, and workshops, but I look forward to being able to reconnect in person with representatives from Australian and Pacific Parliaments, and to discuss how we can continue working together to strengthen democracy in our area of the world.”

The theme of this year’s conference is “Democracy’s Way Forward”.

“We have all experienced changes, trials, and innovations since the last POCC conference, and we look forward to sharing New Zealand Parliament’s experiences and knowledge and gaining valuable insights from our fellow Parliaments,” the Speaker said.

“Through conferences like these, we can work together to face the unique challenges ahead of us all throughout the Australasia and Pacific region.”

Attendees from Parliaments around Australia and the Pacific will take part in discussions on the revitalisation of democracy, and how parliaments can best meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world, for the people they represent.

Delegates will also participate in workshops and present conference papers on a range of topics. The Speaker will present on managing risks and strengthening parliamentary scrutiny of government and also on the collaboration between New Zealand’s Parliamentary Service and the Office of the Clerk.

The conference will be held at the Parliament of Victoria, Australia, from 4 to 8 July 2022. POCC 2023 will be hosted by the Solomon Islands.

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