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NZ parliamentarians support women's agenda

New Zealand parliamentarians support women's agenda at Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference

The New Zealand delegation at the 58th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference has met with commonwealth colleagues over the past several days to address the need for increased women in leadership roles in parliaments throughout the commonwealth.

Delegation member Asenati Lole-Taylor attended the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) Steering Committee and successfully lobbied for 7,000 GBP to be retained for the Pacific region, and for a further £5,000 to be added. This funding was confirmed at a special meeting of the New Zealand delegation and the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. The money will be used within the Pacific to further enhance women's participation in Parliament.

Hon Annette King said, "New Zealand would like to work with the Pacific to ensure that assistance through the programmes is delivered."

The CWP was founded by women delegates in 1989 as a forum to discuss how to increase female representation in Parliament and work towards mainstreaming gender considerations in all Commonwealth Parliamentary Association programmes and has a Steering Committee of 10 members to plan its activities.

At its meetings this week, the CWP has addressed the issue of how to increase women's participation in leadership roles in representative democracies, the need to increase women youth participation and how to encourage political parties to achieve a women representation figure throughout the commonwealth of 30%. While New Zealand has achieved this rate, no other Pacific country has.

The delegation, led by Hon Annette King, is in Sri Lanka until 16 September for the conference with the theme of "Ensuring a relevant commonwealth for the future". Kanwaljit Sing Bakshi and Moana Mackey are also part of the New Zealand delegation at the conference.

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