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Speaker of the UK House of Commons to visit New Zealand


DATE IN 14PT BOLD

Date 1st August

Speaker of the UK House of Commons to visit New Zealand

Britain’s Speaker of the House of Commons, the Rt Hon John Bercow MP, will visit New Zealand from 5-8 August.

The Speaker will spend a day in Wellington observing the New Zealand Parliament in session and meet with New Zealand’s Speaker, Rt Hon David Carter.

He will learn more about the workings of Parliament ,observe question time and discuss how New Zealand Members of Parliament scrutinise the Government and hold it to account. His discussions will include meetings on parliamentary privilege and how New Zealand reforms its parliamentary procedures.

Speaker Bercow also has an interest in the experiences of different ethnic groups (particularly New Zealand’s Pacifica communities) in the political process, as well as youth and gender issues.

He will also visit Auckland and Hamilton. In Hamilton he will give a speech on the future of Parliament.

Speaker Bercow said

“New Zealand and the UK actively work together in key areas such as trade, science and innovation, domestic policy, and defence and intelligence. Our relationship is broad and deep.

In a rapidly changing world, with the centre of economic gravity shifting eastwards, our shared values not only hold us together but are increasingly important.

Promoting democracy, transparency, accountability, rule of law, human rights, freedom of expression, and good governance is now more important than ever before.

I am delighted to be in New Zealand as a guest of the New Zealand Parliament”.

The Speaker of the New Zealand Parliament, Rt Hon David Carter said

“New Zealand and the United Kingdom share a very close and long-standing friendship, with strong historical and cultural ties – including our shared Westminster system of democracy – so it is a privilege for us to host Speaker Bercow”.


Note for Editors:

• John Bercow has been the Speaker of the House of Commons since 2009.

• He was elected Conservative MP for Buckingham in 1997. He held posts in the Shadow Cabinets of Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Howard

• In 2005, John Bercow won the Channel Four Hansard award for Opposition MP of the Year.

• The Speaker has had had a long standing interest in Burma which he will visit before arriving in New Zealand.

• In 2010 John Bercow won the Stonewall award for Politician of the Year for his work to support equality for lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

• Since January, three senior British Cabinet ministers have visited New Zealand including Foreign Secretary William Hague, Agriculture Minister Owen Patterson, and Attorney General Dominic Grieve.

• Over 150 individuals have served as Speaker of the House of Commons. The earliest year for which a presiding officer has been identified is 1258, when Peter de Montfort presided over a Parliament held in Oxford.
ends

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