In his role of the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, 16rh District Congressman Don Manzullo is visiting New Zealand. The trade delegation he is leading stopped at Somoa previously.
Manzullo, Colleagues Safe in New Zealand Following Quake
U.S. Congressional delegation left Christchurch, NZ hours before disaster struck
WELLINGTON, NZ — Congressman Don Manzullo (R-IL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, was leading a trade mission in New Zealand this week when a major earthquake hit the city of Christchurch, toppling buildings and killing at least 75 people.
The 8-member U.S. Congressional delegation – the largest ever to visit New Zealand — represented the United States at the US-NZ Partnership Forum in Christchurch on Monday and left the city at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday (New Zealand is 18 hours ahead of Chicago time) bound for the capital city of Wellington (about 180 miles north of Christchurch) for meetings with Prime Minister John Key and other political leaders.
The earthquake struck Christchurch at 12:51 p.m.
Other Members in the U.S. delegation included
- Reps. Dan Lundgren (R-CA),
- Kevin Brady (R-TX), Rick Larsen (D-WA),
- Eni Faleomavaega (D-American Samoa),
- Joe Crowley (D-NY),
- Gregory Meeks (D-NY), and
- Gregorio Sablan (D-Northern Mariana Islands).
“The thoughts and prayers of our delegation, and the American people we represent, are with the people of Christchurch, the Canterbury region and all of New Zealand on the occasion of this devastating tragedy.
“Having received the warm reception of the people of Christchurch at the Partnership Forum only hours before the earthquake struck makes this disaster all the more personal and poignant,” Manzullo said.
“The recently signed Wellington Declaration states: ‘We recall the long history of shared United States and New Zealand sacrifice in battle.’ Your American friends extend profound condolences and sympathy to the victims of this tragedy and to their families and friends.”
Monday’s forum in Christchurch was held to discuss the United States’ proposal to join the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a multilateral agreement between New Zealand, Australia, and six others, whose goal is to eliminate all tariffs among member nations by 2015.
The U.S. delegation is scheduled to leave New Zealand today to continue talks on the TPP in Australia.
They are scheduled to visit the capital city of Canberra and meet with Australia Prime Minister Julia Gillard as well as the Ministers of Trade, Defense, and Foreign Affairs. The delegation will also meet with their counterparts at Parliament. The delegation is also scheduled to meet with American and Australian business leaders.