Buzz from the Beehive
Rwanda is back in the headlines, not only for the role it is playing in the British Government’s highly controversial plans for ridding their country of asylum seekers (the first deportation flight was cancelled after a last-minute intervention by the European Court of Human Rights, which decided there was “a real risk of irreversible harm’’ to the asylum seekers involved).
The Central African country is also embroiled in a dispute with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, each country accusing the other of firing rockets across their shared border.
According to Al Jazeera,
“This seems to have been triggered by fighting between the M23 rebel group and state forces in the country’s east.
“Both Congo and the United Nations have accused Rwanda of supporting the M23 movement.”
On Thursday, Congo accused Rwanda of sending 500 commandos in disguise into eastern Congo.
On Friday, the countries accused each other of firing rockets across their shared border. Congo’s army said one strike killed two Congolese children.
Rwanda’s hosting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) is giving Rwanda another platform for attracting the world’s attention.
Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla are expected in Rwanda for the occasion, to participate in flagship events and planned engagements.
The Prince of Wales, the eldest son and heir-apparent to Queen Elizabeth II, in a statement from Clarence House, said that together with his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, he was looking forward to meeting Commonwealth leaders in Kigali.
The Commonwealth gathering is scheduled to take place between June 20 and 25.
The biennial meeting provides New Zealand with the opportunity to engage with 54 member countries from across the globe and set the agenda for the Commonwealth for the next two years.
With Prince Charles in attendance, New Zealand media perhaps will draw attention to the Crown-iwi relationship because today we learned that Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta will travel to Rwanda this week to represent New Zealand at CHOGM.
The PM – presumably – has more important things to do.
“This is the first CHOGM meeting since 2018 and I am delighted to be representing Aotearoa New Zealand,” Nanaia Mahuta said.
“Reconnecting New Zealand with the world is our priority as we move forward post-COVID, and engaging with other members of the Commonwealth is an important part of that.”
Mahuta further said:
“This year’s theme of ‘Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating and Transforming’, will be particularly apt for the focus on my discussions on post-COVID recovery, climate change and other issues facing small island states.”
But what language will she be using for her discussions?
We ask, because she is apt to impede comprehension of what she is saying by mingling te reo with her English.
“I look forward to deepening our links across the Commonwealth during the week. It will be valuable to connect kanohi ki te kanohi, particularly with those I have yet to meet in person,” Nanaia Mahuta said.
Point of Order confesses to having no idea who is being connected with whom in Mahuta’s expectations.
While at CHOGM, she will engage in bilateral meetings with counterparts and leaders of countries where in-person travel has been difficult due to COVID restrictions. She will also host a working lunch for representatives of Pacific member states.
The Foreign Minister departs on Sunday and will return on Tuesday 28 June.
More information can be found on the CHOGM 2022 website
Another announcement today suggests the border rules will have been changed before Mahuta comes back home.
Travellers to New Zealand will no longer need a COVID-19 pre-departure test from 11.59pm Monday 20 June.
“The end of pre-departure testing is just one of a number of changes that are being made to the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Air Border) Order to ensure our public health measures remain proportionate to the risk COVID-19 presents to the community. COVID-19 Response Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today.
Moreover, from Monday evening, passengers transiting through New Zealand will no longer need to be vaccinated, nor be required to complete a New Zealand Traveller Declaration.
Travellers with COVID-19 like symptoms (eg Hayfever) will also be able to choose between showing a negative COVID test, or a certificate from a health professional ― stating that they are unlikely to have COVID-19 ― before travelling.
Another change will reduce the maximum penalty for breaching the Air Border Order’s vaccination requirement from $4,000, to $1,000.
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16 JUNE 2022
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Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta will travel to Rwanda this week to represent New Zealand at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kigali.