Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pacific parliament idea floated

By MICHAEL FIELD, [20 Dec, 2010]- An MP’s investigation into New Zealand’s relationship with neighbouring countries has suggested the creation of a Pacific parliament – or at least a part-time one.

Parliament’s foreign affairs select committee made the recommendation as part of their four year study of New Zealand's relationship with the Pacific.

"There is much to be gained by Parliament setting aside a week of its annual calendar and inviting Pacific leaders to join a dialogue dedicated to developing a better understanding of issues of concern to Pacific neighbours," the report says.

Creating a single Pacific parliament was a popular idea in the 70s but was left to languish as the 14 island nations went their own way.

Yesterday’s new report backs off from the full parliament idea "but there is a need to bring together younger parliamentarians, to build linkages that will develop and last."

The committee, chaired by National MP John Hayes, said the week long session would "focus on Pacific issues of concern to the neighbourhood and domestically, and issues of common regional interest."

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