Press Release – New Zealand Labour Party
Speaker Lockwood Smith is being urged to reconsider his ruling banning The New Zealand Herald from covering politics from its press gallery office for 10 days by the Labour Party.Clare Curran
Spokesperson for Broadcasting
7 October 2011
Don’t stop the press Lockwood
Speaker Lockwood Smith is being urged to reconsider his ruling banning The New Zealand Herald from covering politics from its press gallery office for 10 days by the Labour Party.
The ban, which applies from Monday, follows the publication of a photograph of a man trying to jump from the public gallery into the debating chamber.
“Labour supports the standing order that prevents filming and photography of public protests in the gallery, but we understand on this occasion why the order was breached,” Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Clare Curran said.
“Wednesday’s incident was extraordinary. There were issues of safety to both Members of Parliament in the chamber, other people in the public gallery, and to the individual involved.
“There was also strong public interest in the incident, and it quickly became a leading news story.
“We acknowledge publishing the photograph breached the rules as they stand. However, we urge the speaker to reconsider the severity of the sanction, which blocks a major newspaper from covering politics from Parliament for a two week period leading up to the election campaign.
“The ban does not serve democracy. It prevents the Herald from providing its readers with information they need.
“While it is important not to encourage similar dangerous spectacles, we believe the sanction will have unintended negative consequences not just on the media organisation concerned, but on what should be an informed public as well,” Clare Curran said.