The New Zealand Parliament participates in the activities of three key inter-parliamentary organisations: the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, and the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum. These are global or regional forums that bring together parliamentarians to discuss global issues, propose solutions to international developments, debate world events, and promote democratic ideals and practices.
Membership of these organisations provides opportunities for New Zealand members to engage with the international parliamentary community, contribute to global debates and solutions to international issues, to build networks, and to develop professionally. Participation also contributes to getting matters of importance to New Zealand and the Pacific Region on the global agenda.
Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s (CPA) promotes the advancement of parliamentary democracy by enhancing knowledge and understanding of democratic governance. The CPA has branches in most of the legislatures (at both national and sub-national level) in the Commonwealth, representing approximately 17,000 parliamentarians.
Many CPA activities are regionally based and New Zealand is part of the Pacific Region which collaborates with the Australian Region in regular conferences and seminars. The New Zealand Parliament also provides the Secretariat for the CPA Pacific Region, based in the Parliamentary Relations Secretariat of the Office of the Clerk. The New Zealand Parliament has an active CPA Branch and a Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians Group who meet regularly and facilitate different activities.
The current Chairperson of the New Zealand CPA Branch is Jacqui Dean MP. Paul Foster-Bell MP is a Pacific Region representative on the CPA Executive Committee.
Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians
The Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) is part of the CPA. It was formed to discuss ways to increase female representation in Parliament and work towards the mainstreaming of gender considerations in all CPA activities and programmes.
The current Co-Chairpersons of the New Zealand CWP Branch are Louisa Wall MP and Joanne Hayes MP. Poto Williams MP is the current Chairperson of the CWP Pacific Region.
The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), established in 1889, is an international organisation of parliaments of sovereign states. It currently has over 160 national parliaments as members. As a focal point for world-wide parliamentary dialogue, the IPU works for peace and co-operation among peoples and for the firm establishment of representative democracy.
The New Zealand Parliament participates in twice-yearly IPU assemblies, which are held in October and around Easter. The New Zealand IPU Group meets regularly and facilitates different activities.
The current Chairperson of the New Zealand IPU Group is Hon Annette King MP.
Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum
The Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF), established in 1992, acts to promote greater regional identification and cooperation, and supports other regional organisations including the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation group. Of particular focus for the APPF are issues of mutual interest such as trade and security in the region. New Zealand was a founder country of the APPF, which now has 27 member countries. New Zealand attends annual meetings of the APPF that are held in January.