The Welsh Labour Executive, at its regular quarterly meeting,Saturday welcomed The Honourable Pete Hodgson, Health Minister in the New Zealand Labour-led government.
Mr Hodgson is visiting Wales as part of a wider set of engagements in the United Kingdom. He will discuss the practical experience of governing in a system which, since 1996, has been based on the same form of proportional representation list as we now have in Wales. Mr Hodgson said:
"Our experience is that there are a number of different ways in which stable government can be achieved, even when no single party has a majority. Formal coalition is only one of a number of options in which stability and partnership can he achieved. There are ways in which parties outside the government can play a constructive part in pursuing their own policy aims, and which help guarantee reliable and responsive administration.
"Over the last eight years, we in the Labour party of New Zealand have been able to form a number of different alliances with other parties in order to put an agreed programme of policy and legislation through our Parliament. We have learned that different arrangements have to be made to suit different circumstances, and that there are many different ways in which parties can work together effectively. I am very pleased to have had this chance to meet up with Rhodri Morgan and to share our very positive experience from New Zealand with Labour Party colleagues here in Wales."
First Minister Rhodri Morgan said: "Pete has been on a whistle-stop tour of the UK. I was very pleased to have been able to take him to see Cardiff Blues play rugby last evening. His experiences at the top of New Zealand politics clearly demonstrate that stable and successful government can be achieved in a system like ours - but that this outcome depends on progressive parties being willing to work together in arrangements which are more flexible than those produced by conventional first-past-the-post politics. We are having to learn those lessons very fast in Wales, and I am working hard to make sure that Wales has a government at the Assembly which takes us forward over the next four years."