By Tracey Martin, NZ First MP
I was recently privileged to be part of a three member New Zealand delegation to South Africa and Zambia on behalf of our parliament. Our three-day visit to Capetown, South Africa, included meetings with their Select Committees on Health, Basic Education, Higher Education and Women. We were the first delegation for sometime to travel to South Africa. Due to the great need for support from settled democracies along with the high level of interest in our health and education systems we will be recommending that our Parliament look at ways we can provide practical support as South Africa continues to build after the apartheid era.
Our time in Zambia was spent in Lusaka attending the 134th Inter-Parliamentary Union Convention as one of 170 other nations. I gave a speech on the participation of youth in our democracies and contributed to resolution conversations around the safe and supported participation of women in our democracies. I am pleased to say that all the New Zealand contributions were well received and you can see my video diary and event photos on my Facebook page.
While I was in Zambia, New Zealanders sent an overwhelming message to this government – ‘hands off our flag!’ New Zealand First, like our national RSA, took a strong stand in the retention of our national flag. One of the most heartening features of the flag issue has been the support for the existing flag by our younger generation. Prior to the vote, UMR Research showed that 72 per cent of 18 to 29 year olds backed the current flag. We should be proud of them, they certainly engaged in the process.
I am pleased to announce that the Rt. Hon. Winston Peters is holding two public meetings in Rodney on Friday the 22nd April. The first public meeting is to be held at the Whangaparaoa Golf Club, 1337 Whangaparaoa Road at 10am. The second will be held in the Shoesmith Hall, Shoesmith Street, Warkworth at 12.30pm. Both meetings will include a speech on current topics of interest and be followed by an opportunity for a question and answer session.
One of the topics I am sure he will address is that of rural roads. I note that at least one local government politician is using this as their campaign platform for the upcoming elections and blaming current sitting local politicians for the shocking lack of attention we have received. However, they neglect to mention that prior to 2009 the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) used to provide a subsidy to assist with such work but that the rural road subsidies stopped under the then new National Government. I wonder what action they will seek for this neglect from where it truly belongs, current government policy?