Lockwood Smith is sending out a message. No-one disrespects the rules of his crib.

The Speaker has had enough. The television media's behaviour in chasing Chris Carter through Parliament's hallways, down its stairs, and even pushing into his office, has so contravened the rules of the House that he is left with no option but to dish out some payback.

Fair enough. If left to their own devices, the news media would turn the parliamentary precincts into a veritable school-yard jungle in their desire to be the first to root out a good story (all in "the public interest" and the people's "right to know", of course). To preserve a measure of decorum, not to say some space for MPs to exist without harassment, there need to be rules on access and behaviour - which in turn require punishment to be meted out when these are broken.

And so the NZ Herald informs us of Lockwood Smith's chilling response: "The [television] networks have been stripped of their 22 access passes to Parliament's basement carpark."

That will learn them - break the rules and you suffer real consequences. You'll have to drag your cameras and mikes in on the buses or trains (and experience all the vagaries of public transport timetables and disruptions) like every other working schmo on Lambton Quay. Alternatively, the networks can shell out a few hundred dollars a month on private parking charges, rather than continue to enjoy a free-ride on the taxpayer's back - a "perk" that we don't seem to hear all that much about, strangely enough!

But what's that? Such consequences would be disproportionate to the offence, and we can't have our precious media severely inconvenienced in this way? Apparently not!

"'Alternative arrangements in an external car park at the rear of Parliament have been offered to both channels,' Dr Smith said."

Yep - there's the lesson right there. Mess around with the rules of the House, and you ... have to walk a few hundred more meters in the open air to get to work.

In terms of sending a message, it isn't exactly in this league. But then, I guess the rules of the game are a bit different when some of the players have the power to spin the news to the nation seven nights a week, 365 days a year.

[Update: So if chasing an MP through the corridors/down stairs/straying into his office gets your car parks removed, what exactly happens to you if you assault an MP on Parliament's steps? Discuss ...]

 

Comments (9)

by william blake on June 18, 2010
william blake

But did (sir) Lockwood manage to keep a straight face when handing down the sentence.

by Andrew Geddis on June 18, 2010
Andrew Geddis

He's not Sir (yet) - that comes after he steps down as Speaker (as surely as night follows day). And given his background as a TV presenter, I'm sure his dissembling skills are right up to the mark.

by Rob Salmond on June 18, 2010
Rob Salmond

Love the title! There should be much more of this. I reckon there are more than a few uses for "I'll take any motherfucker's money if he givin' it away!"

by william blake on June 18, 2010
william blake

Its those TV skills I was refering to Andrew, don't you remember the after school quiz show he hosted? Those (almost) eponymous jaws clenching away as some hapless third former forgot the 'sir' when answering a multi choice question.

by william blake on June 18, 2010
william blake

The Peoples Republic of China is;

(a) Our second biggest trading partner.

(b) An opressive and undemocratic regime.

(c) Chris Carter.

(d) The worlds no one provider of tea.

by stuart munro on June 18, 2010
stuart munro

It depends on the MP. Rightwing establishment MPs will be supported by enthusiastic security rucking. Greens - security will prosecute malefactors afterwards, if and only if the evidence is watertight.

by Jeremy Rodgers on June 21, 2010
Jeremy Rodgers

Just for clarification, the car passes were for a variety of different vehicles for both channels.  They were mainly news crew staff vehicles, but also included freelancers and contractors.  They only parked under Parliament when they were working at Parliament, and they left when they were done.  So, it would be quite common to see four or five vehicles parked underground at various times of the day, and then none parked there fifteen minutes later.  An example would be the post-Cabinet press conference every Monday afternoon in the Beehive Theatrette which would attract two crews from both One and Three, and a crew from Maori Television.  Fifteen minutes after the briefing ends, all the crew cars would be gone.

 

The news cars parked in empty MP or Ministerial parks.  Twenty nine days out of 30 there would be plenty of empty MP parks to use.  It's my understanding that Mark Sainsbury lobbied Speaker Hunt in the mid 2000s to allow the crews to park underground in an attempt to limit the wear and tear on the crews' bodies from having to carry all their gear for longer distances.

The best way to think of the parks is not as a perk to the respective TV companies, but as a temporary loading zone in parks that aren't being used.

by alexb on July 15, 2011
alexb

Andrew, I don't think you have the right to say nigga. That word is reserved for those who were brought to America as slaves and have been 2nd class citizens since emancipation. Us Pakeha saying it comes across as, well, how would you feel if you heard a white man from Alabama saying that phrase you used as a title?

by Soloman Mandy on May 13, 2015
Soloman Mandy

Thanks for this article Andrew Geddis. We all know how important is to park our car in a proper car parking place rather keeping it on road or any other public places where you will find a large crowd. It will certainly help us a lot if we park our vehicles at the exact parking place or in a garage. In both the cases we don't have to pay any fine. But our negligence can cost us a huge fine. Know Issues in Higher Mileage European Cars 

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