A five-member parliamentary delegation led by the Speaker of New Zealand Parliament, Rt Hon. Trevor Mallard visited the Legislative Assembly upon arriving in the Kingdom today.
This is part of their Pacific tour of Tonga and Fiji, where the delegation will meet with the Speaker, female MPs in Parliament, youth leaders, business and the community.
In a statement from the visiting Speaker, Rt. Hon. Trevor Mallard said the Pacific region including Tonga is incredibly important to New Zealand.
He said its Parliament provides practical and technical support to Pacific Parliaments Tonga included, to strengthen their democracies, and this delegation will look at where they can focus their capacity-building assistance.
“New Zealand Parliament will also look to gain insights into the current political and economic landscape in Tonga and Fiji while making personal connections and building relationships with our parliamentary colleagues,” according to Rt. Hon. Trevor
This year’s delegation includes Adrian Rurawhe MP (Labour), Hon. Tim Macindoe MP (National), Jo Hayes MP (National), and Harete Hipango MP (National).
They delegation was also given a tour of the temporary compound and offices.
Rethinking the way space for youth at the table was a topic also explored during a youth parliamentarian session with the visitors today.
Participants include Youth Parliamentarians, representatives from Girls Take Over Parliament and Tonga Youth Leaders.
Tomorrow, female MPs Losaline Mā’asi and Hon. ‘Akosita Lavulavu (Minister for Infrastructure) will provide small group discussions on challenges facing women's political and economic empowerment in small jurisdictions like Tonga during breakfast at 8:00 am, Kalia Room, Tanoa Hotel.
At 10:00 am, Lord Speaker will provide a briefing on the proposed Parliament Rebuild during a visit to the old Legislative Assembly Office, Nuku’alofa. This is before the delegation conducts a talanoa session with the Tongan MPs at the temporary Parliament’s House.
Lord Speaker will host a luncheon program for the visiting delegation before they visit the Tongatapu 8 Constituency Office. It will be an opportunity for the delegation to observe issues in a local constituency outside of Nuku’alofa. Also, it’s an opportunity for them to meet with town officers and the district officer to discuss priorities and challenges for the electorate.
This is followed by a tour of the Vaini Government Primary school sports field where visitors view sports development projects supported by New Zealand. Sports activities (table tennis, netball, soccer and Quick Rip rugby) will be showcased by students.
It will be a great opportunity for the delegation to engage with students, coaches and officials. Hear sports messages and view sports activities.
Their final program for the day is a tour of Tupou College Technical, Vocational and Education Training program (funded by the New Zealand Aid Programme). Prior to that, they will be entertained with some musical items in the school chapel.
The delegation will then depart Tonga tomorrow evening for Fiji.