Philippine Ambassador meets with the member of Parliament for Rangitata
As part of the Philippine Embassy’s continuing priority to engage and broaden networking with relevant authorities in New Zealand for the welfare and well-being of Filipinos, Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez accompanied by Vice Consul Glenn Joseph Obach made a courtesy call on Hon. Jo Goodhew, National Party Member of Parliament (MP) for Rangitata, on 15 December 2014 in Ashburton, New Zealand. Hon. Goodhew is currently Minister for Food Safety, Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, Associate Minister for Social Development and Associate Minister for Primary Industries. Also present at the meeting were Ms. Alison Driscoll, Electorate Agent of MP Goodhew, and Ms. Maiden Saba, Chairperson of the Filipino Dairy Workers in New Zealand (FDWNZ).
Ambassador Benavidez was warmly welcomed by Hon. Goodhew who was pleased to know that an Embassy team was in Ashburton for its mobile consular services program entitled “The Philippine Embassy in New Zealand: Serving with a Smile, Going the Extra Mile and Reaching Beyond Our Grasp,” serving hundreds of Filipinos in the area and other parts of the South Island on 12-15 December 2014.
Hon. Goodhew expressed her sympathy for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines as Ambassador Benavidez described how Filipinos continue to endear themselves with the people of New Zealand and that this has contributed immensely to the outpouring of empathy, generosity and kindness springing forth among New Zealanders towards Filipinos and the Philippines. Ambassador Benavidez reiterated once again the Philippine Government’s and the Filipino People’s heartfelt gratitude to the Government and People of New Zealand for their generous and gratifying groundswell of sympathy, support and solidarity.
Further discussions focused on the plan of establishing a Filipino Community Centre in Ashburton, the multicultural events in Ashburton, the growing demand for healthcare service workers in the Canterbury region, the great service of the Filipino dairy farm workers in New Zealand, the involvement of Filipino women in the Dairy Women’s Network, and food safety issues as a significant concern for New Zealand and the huge importance of connecting with New Zealand on food safety training and initiatives to upgrade the knowledge, skills and expertise of Filipinos in this crucial area.
Ambassador Benavidez thanked Hon. Goodhew for the meeting, and reiterated appreciation for her high regard for Filipinos in Ashburton and the Canterbury region. With this, the Philippine Embassy continues to gain access to important information, assistance and support from the authorities for the benefit of Filipinos working and staying in New Zealand.