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Source: New Zealand Parliament

The Hon Dr Lockwood Smith

President of the New Zealand Branch of the CPA

Speaker of the House of Representatives of New Zealand

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) has an important role in supporting and helping strengthen Parliamentary democracy in the New Zealand, Australian and Pacific Regions.

The 18th Australian and Pacific Regional Seminar to be held in Wellington will provide a valuable opportunity to share and assess our respective views about how Parliaments can better serve their nations.

In welcoming delegates to this seminar, I am mindful of the deep tragedy suffered by Samoa and Tonga where there was sad loss of life following the recent tsunami.

The events were a stark reminder of the vulnerability of our region to natural disasters and the importance of working together to provide assistance in times of need.

Representative democracy in our region is a powerful force for freedom and fairness in the government of all our people.

Continued cooperation and shared support for each other through our network of Parliaments at national and state levels will be one of the outcomes sought from this Seminar. I look forward to renewing friendships and engaging with new members of Parliament during the course of proceedings.