PAULO Garcia, solicitor-barrister and former Philippine Honorary Consul General in Auckland, New Zealand, will be the first Filipino to become a member of Parliament in New Zealand following the announcement of the retirement of National Party backbench MP Nuk Korako in May.
In a message to this writer, Garcia wrote: "Early days for now. I will know more as the day enfolds. There is much to do! Please pray for me and ask others to pray for me too."
Though unsuccessful in his bid for a seat in the New Lynn Electorate in West Auckland in 2017, under Mixed-Member Proportional (MMP) electoral system, Garcia, who is ranked number 50 in the National Party List, follows the election of Agnes Loreta Loheni (number 49), the first MP of Pasifika descent in the National Party.
The number of list MPs parties who are elected depends on how many electorates the party wins compared with their entitlement from the party vote.
Garcia initiated the formation of Pinoys Go National, a movement by New Zealanders of Filipino descent to give back to the country that has welcomed them with open arms.
Prior to migrating to New Zealand, Garcia had 10 years legal experience in the Philippines primarily in commercial law, representing foreign and multinational investor companies and helping them establish operations.
He focused strongly on government compliance and registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as the Philippine Economic Zone Authority and the Board of Investments for tax incentives. He opened his law office after gaining experience in McLeod & Associates and Corban Revell Lawyers.
He is a graduate of the University of the Philippines and an alumnus of the Academy of American and International Law in Dallas, Texas, and the COP of the University of Auckland.
A devote Christian, he holds the position of Chairman of Family Enrichment New Zealand -- an affiliate of Family Education Australia, which falls under the umbrella of the International Federation for Family Development, a United Nations consultative body for the family based in Spain.