Wellington, April 16 (IANS) The New Zealand parliament has a "fine record of sitting without interruption", said Meira Kumar who, in her almost three years of presiding over the Lok Sabha, often faces a tough time in running the lower house of the Indian parliament smoothly in the wake of frequent opposition disruptions.
Leading the first Indian parliamentary delegation to New Zealand, Meira Kumar Monday "commended the people and parliamentarians (in New Zealand) for such an enviable record".
She noted that the New Zealand parliament has functioned "without interruption since the first parliament in 1854".
Meira Kumar said India and New Zealand "have a lot to learn from each other's experiences in this regard (as) parliamentary exchanges offer an effective channel of interaction between nations".
In her meetings with leaders here, she thanked New Zealand for its unequivocal support for India's permanent membership of the UN Security Council.
Expressing satisfaction over the existing friendly relations between India and New Zealand, she noted that the two countries share common commitments on major international issues like global peace, north-south dialogue, human rights and combating international terrorism.
She met her New Zealand counterpart Lockwood Smith who hosted a lunch for the Indian delegation.
Meira Kumar said bilateral trade between India and New Zealand has grown steadily to about $1.5 billion.
But, she said, "it is not commensurate with the potential".
The two leaders hoped that the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) which is being finalized between both the countries would provide a major boost.
The New Zealand speaker lauded the role of the Indian diaspora in the country who "have beneficially contributed in New Zealand".
There are over 110,000 people of Indian origin and about 12,000 Indian students in New Zealand.
Meira Kumar also called on the acting Prime Minister Bill English and discussed issues of mutual interest between the two countries.
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