2 May 2024

Ukrainian MPs at Parliament

From The House , 6:30 pm on 2 May 2024

It’s always news when the Prime Minister heads overseas, or a foreign leader arrives here. But prime ministers are comparative home-bodies. It’s much more common for other ministers to travel. Collectively, even backbench MPs travel more than Prime Ministers. 

The backbenchers travel for many reasons, but most equate to either visiting other Parliaments or meeting groups of other countries’ MPs.

The reverse is even more common. Parliament hosts many MPs and politicians from other countries as guests. Most sitting weeks there are groups visiting from somewhere.

This week, for example, a group of young American politicians from various institutions have been in town, and a delegation from the Ukrainian Parliament, the Verkhovna Rada.

A delegation of Ukrainian MPs, led by Galyna Mykhailiuk, brief the Foreign Affairs Select Committee.

A delegation of Ukrainian MPs brief the Foreign Affairs Select Committee. (Left to right) Olga Koval, Galyna Mykhailiuk and Laroslav Zhelezniak. Photo: VNP / Phil Smith

The Ukrainian delegation has been a little different, with one of them being a Parliamentary representative of their President, and the Ambassador accompanying them as well. This has meant that while it has been a Parliamentary visit it has also had tones of a ministerial one. Certainly the MPs had messages to share from the wider Ukrainian government and people. 

Their busy week included meeting various ministers and MP groups, including a formal dinner as guests of the New Zealand Speaker. They also visited New Zealand Military trainers at Linton Camp (who have been training Ukrainian forces in the UK), and the Royal New Zealand Police College to learn from their training approach.

I caught up with the delegation leader Galyna Mykhailiuk after they had briefed the Foreign Affairs and Trade Committee on Ukraine’s current and future needs, and how New Zealand can contribute. 

You can listen to our chat at the link above or watch that select committee briefing here.

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