The Speaker plays a key role in leading New Zealand’s parliamentary diplomacy, seeking to establish enduring ties between countries and parliamentarians. Speakers of the House, because of the position they hold, have the ability to open doors in international relationships. Speaker-led initiatives and activities are the highest level of parliamentary diplomacy and make an important contribution to advancing New Zealand’s interests by fostering understanding and promoting international cooperation between members of parliament.
Speaker-led diplomacy occurs through a number of channels, such as the hosting and undertaking of visits, participating in and presenting at inter-parliamentary conferences, and most visibly through the annual Speaker’s Delegation. The Speaker’s Delegation, whereby the Speaker leads a cross-party delegation of members to other parliaments, is a highlight in the Official Inter-Parliamentary Relations Programme and promotes New Zealand’s broader interests, provides opportunities for high-level parliamentary engagement and fosters stronger relations with other countries during an intensive programme.
The Speaker also takes an active and practical part in New Zealand’s parliamentary strengthening and capacity building activities, through his engagement with counterparts in Pacific parliaments and efforts to bring a Pacific Region perspective to the significant issues on the global agenda.
The New Zealand Parliament is well regarded in the parliamentary community, and the Speaker is often sought out to speak on the international stage, such as the World Conference of Speakers and the Conference of Speaker and Presiding Officers of the Commonwealth, about our parliamentary procedures and practice.