Michael Hirschfeld, President of the New Zealand Labour Party, NZLP, died in Wellington on 5 January at the age of 54, following a lengthy battle with diabetes.

The party's deputy leader Michael Cullen commented: 'The enthusiasm, commitment and drive he brought to all of his endeavours, in business and community work as well as in politics, will be sorely missed.'

A founding member of the Young Labour Party in 1967, Hirschfeld was the youngest person ever to gain a seat on the NZLP's executive at the age of 27 four years later. He captured the presidency in 1995.

Born in Wellington he was educated in England and New Zealand. A Jewish intellectual, he was the son of parents who had emigrated from Palestine in 1940. While he maintained close ties with the Wellington Jewish community, he saw himself as secular.

Hirschfeld was a man of multiple interests. At one point in his early career he was a part-time presenter for a radio show. He was a dynamic businessman with interests in his family plumbing business and in shipping. His passion was the theatre, but he was also a member of Amnesty International.

He is survived by his wife and three children.

A plaque was laid in memory of Bernt Carlsson, former Secretary General of the SI, on the tenth anniversary of his death aboard flight Pan Am 103 by the SI Secretariat at a ceremony in the Garden of Remembrance in Lockerbie, Scotland.

The Fifth National Convention of the Unity Labour Party, St Vincent and the Grenadines, held in December elected Ralph E Gonsalves as Political Leader, with Ormiston 'Ken' Boyea as his deputy. Robert Fitz Patrick was elected Chair of the party. Julian Francis remains General Secretary.



Former Mayor of Lima Jorge del Castillo Gálvez was elected Secretary General of the Peruvian member party of the SI, the Aprista Party, PAP, at the XXI Congress, and Alan García as Secretary General in exile, an honorific position.



João Lorenço is the new Secretary General of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola, MPLA.



Josef Migas, Chair of the Party of the Democratic Left, Slovak Republic, has become the leader of the Parliament. Pavel Meleg is the new international secretary of the party.



Sue West, Senator for New South Wales and Deputy President of the Senate, is the new international secretary of the Australian Labor Party.