8 December 2009.
New Zealand has key role in Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
New Zealand is a key player in promoting the role of parliament within the Pacific and the Commonwealth, according to
the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Dr William Shija.
Dr Shija met with the Speaker of the House, the Hon Dr Lockwood Smith, and was welcomed by the House during question
“We have a strong voice in promoting parliament and the role of parliamentarians and New Zealand has made a significant
contribution through the provision of leaders and support for smaller countries within the Pacific.
“You continue to contribute you voice and position as a valued member of the CPA in a way that the commonwealth will
benefit. New Zealand’s contribution to various Parliaments within the Australian and Pacific Region has been very
Dr Shija said the essence of the association was to create understanding and build relationships that supported young
democracies and helped them grow. New Zealand had made a significant contribution to Bougainvile, he said.
Dr Shija said commonwealth parliaments were engaged in climate change issues and had made climate the focus of its past
two international conferences.
“Climate change is the disappearance of key elements in life. This has a particular significance in the Pacific where
whole islands may disappear, creating the need for relocation of whole populations.
“It is an issue that has brought everyone together.”
He said parliamentary democracy was continuing to grow and the strength of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association is
its ability to accommodate various differences and allowing existing practices to be retained.
Dr Shija will also address a special meeting of the CPA New Zealand Branch/ IPU New Zealand Group, which include most
members of Parliament. He is expected to discuss the importance of New Zealand to the CPA, especially in strengthening
parliamentary democracy in the Pacific.