Following an interesting first meeting in June 2020, CPA UK and CPA New Zealand have come together again to host a virtual bilateral meeting between New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee and the UK’s Foreign Affairs Committee. After an initial meeting on 20 July 2020, discussions continued 27 July 2020.
While the meeting took place under Chatham House Rule, participants focused on how the respective Committees and Parliaments have responded to recent foreign affairs and security challenges. Committee members reflected on the commissioning of 5G technology infrastructure and the importance of robust cross-party Committee scrutiny.
The participants also briefly touched on the bilateral trade relationship between the two countries and their mutual interest in negotiating a strong bilateral free trade agreement on the UK’s departure from the European Union.
The meeting closed with the UK parliamentarians sending the New Zealanders their best wishes for the upcoming General Election, which was scheduled to take place on 19 September and has now been postponed to 17 October 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak in Auckland.
Participants from New Zealand included Simon O’Connor MP (Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee Chair), Hon Aupito Williams Sio MP (Minister for Pacific Peoples; Member of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee), Louisa Wall MP (Member of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee), Paulo Garcia MP (Member of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee), Hon Ann Tolley MP (Deputy Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives) and Angie Warren-Clark MP (Member of Parliament – Labour Party).
UK Parliamentarians included Tom Tugendhat MP (Foreign Affairs Committee Chair), Henry Smith MP (Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee), Dame Diana Johnson MP (Member of the Intelligence and Security Committee), Bob Seely MP (Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee) and Ian Liddell-Grainger MP (Chair of CPA UK Executive Committee).
The meeting was facilitated by Wendy Hart, Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Pacific Region Secretary.