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Rep Faimealelei at 26th Pacific Parliamentary Forum in New Zealand

[Courtesy photo]

Rep. Faimealelei Anthony Allen, speaking at the 26th Pacific Parliamentary Forum in New Zealand, which was held from Nov. 14-18. Some 50 lawmakers from the Pacific region attended the forum. Faimealelei was selected by House Speaker Savali Talavou Ale to represent American Samoa at the annual forum which aims to build shared understanding of the various concepts of Parliamentary representation that exist through the region and joint approaches being taken to the Pacific’s major challenges and opportunities.

According to information sheet distributed by organizers, the forum, hosted by the New Zealand Parliament, also gave Pacific lawmakers a chance to visit community organizations and Pacific businesses in Auckland.  And in Wellington, participants took part in four special debates on certain issues including climate change. They also had a chance to see the New Zealand Parliament debate a motion on Pacific issues.

Faimealelei told Radio New Zealand International after the forum he was surprised to learn how much trade Pacific countries seemed to be involved in.

"You know it is just as interesting because every country wanted to trade something to another country. We don't have a lot in American Samoa to trade to other countries but we import a lot,” he said. “So that is something I need to look at and share with my colleagues back home."

Faimealelei said he also observed at the forum that while American Samoa's political systems and structures were completely different from most Pacific countries, he still saw similarities around governance and the shared challenges such as climate change.