The first ever Pacific Presiding Officers and Clerks virtual conference concluded this afternoon. The New Zealand Speaker of the House of Representatives the Rt Hon Trevor Mallard thanked Speakers from the Pacific that participated in the conference including the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Tonga Lord Fakafanua for their contribution during the discussions.
Issues covered in the final day of the conference included Promoting Diversity, Flexible and Robust Parliaments During Emergencies, for the Speakers and the Clerks looked at Parliamentary Autonomy, Flexibility, and Resilience.
Hon Tangariki Reete, Speaker of the Parliament of Kiribati shared her experience and challenges she faced as a woman candidate and as a new Speaker. She stressed that women candidates must convince men to become their champions in campaigning for elections and not just women.
Conducting Parliament sittings during the pandemic was constantly mentioned during sessions.
One of the issues raised, was the need to have regular meetings amongst Presiding Officer and Clerks to share their experiences and help each other especially new Speakers or Clerks.
Lord Fakafanua thanked the Rt Hon Trevor Mallard and his Clerk and staff for hosting the conference and asked to extend the invitation to Presiding Officers who were not present in the conference to take part in the next conference.
Rt Hon Trevor Mallard extended and invitation to Presiding Officers and Clerks to meet in Wellington next year when the borders open and offered to have a one and one discussion with the Speaker of the Parliament of Kiribati.
Lord Fakafanua was accompanied by the Deputy Clerk Sione Vikilani.