The IPU was created in 1889, in an era when there were no established means for governments, parliaments or MPs to work together internationally. Many see the organisation as a foundation to the multilateral cooperation that followed – including the League of Nations in 1919 and the United Nations in 1945. The IPU engages with democracy at every level—from influencing global policies to supporting the marginalised. All of IPU’s work aims to strengthen the basic tenets of democracy—human rights, equality and the rule of law—for improved lives of citizens.
Twice a year the IPU brings members representing a variety of political systems and political colours of the world together for an Assembly to enhance parliamentary cooperation. New Zealand is an active participant at the Assemblies, and our members are able to bring the priorities of New Zealand and the Pacific region and advance a parliamentary dimension to international affairs. Throughout the year, there is also a programme of regional events and workshops.
Today, we have representation at the highest levels of the IPU – with Deputy Speaker Hon Anne Tolley MP being a vice president of the Bureau of Women Parliamentarians, promoting more women in politics, and Rt Hon David Carter MP on the Committee for the Human Rights of Parliamentarians.
The IPU’s work programme continues to be varied and evolving; from health, climate change, security and disarmament, trade and sustainable development, to the role of innovative technologies in parliament and public engagement.
Hari huri tau!
 Fun fact: National MP Esme Tombleson led the 1965 delegation to the 54th conference of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; she was the first woman to lead a New Zealand delegation to the IPU.