Pacific leaders meet in Wellington even as earthquake struck capital begins clean-up

    Pacific Parliamentarians visiting New Zealand for a political leaders’ forum are still meeting in Wellington despite Monday’s earthquake.

    About 40 politicians are in New Zealand to attend the Pacific Parliamentarians’ Forum.

    Tongan delegates include Penisimani Fifita, Akosita Lavulavu and Veivosa Taka.

    In Wellington the group will visit Parliament and take part in debates on Pacific issues.

    Parliament sat at 2pm yesterday and the sitting continued even after a 5.6 magnitude aftershock rattled the chamber.

    The leadership group began their visit to New Zealand with two days in Auckland hosted by the Pacific Cooperation Foundation.

    They met with Auckland-based Pacific Members of Parliament, including Jenny Salesa (Manukau East), Su’a William Sio (Mangere), Carmel Sepuloni (Kelston) and Alfred Ngaro (Te Atatu).

    They also met with Pacific community groups including Healthy Families, Pacific Homecare, Vaka Tautua, Pasifika Futures, Pacific Trade and Invest, VECTOR and Watercare.

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has described the Forum as an opportunity for NZ leaders to hear about issues and concerns in the region, and look at ways NZ might be able to assist its Pacific neighbours.

    During their initial visit in 2013, the Pacific leaders discussed topics including regional leadership, democracy, climate change, health issues, gender equality, media and the importance of Parliaments to communities, business development and jobs.

    They agreed to encourage more women to enter Parliament, to rely more heavily on renewable energy, to foster free media to promote democracy, improve technology, prioritise healthcare and disease prevention and facilitate sustainable trade and investment.

    The main points

    • Pacific Parliamentarians visiting New Zealand for a political leaders’ forum are still meeting in Wellington despite Monday’s earthquake.
    • About 40 politicians are in New Zealand to attend the Pacific Parliamentarians’ Forum.
    • Tongan delegates include Penisimani Fefita, Akosita Lavulavu and Veivosa Taka.
    • In Wellington the group will visit Parliament and take part in debates on Pacific issues.
    • Parliament sat at 2pm yesterday and the sitting continued even after a 5.6 magnitude aftershock rattled the chamber.

    For  more information

    Pacific Parliamentary Forum, November 14-19, 2016

    Watch: Earthquake interrupts Parliament

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