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Security review after axe attack at Parliament

beehive damage
Photo from RNZ

by Rafael Gonzalez-Montero, Parliamentary Service Chief Executive
Recent events around the world and this morning’s incident at our own Parliament Buildings have resulted in increased interest in the security measures in place for the New Zealand Parliament and parliamentary precinct.

Firstly, I am proud that the New Zealand Parliament is one of the most open, accessible Parliaments in the world and I very much hope that this continues. Our Parliament belongs to the people of New Zealand and it is incredibly important to our democracy that people are able to visit, and interact with their Parliament and elected representatives with ease.

However, the safety of those who work at, or visit, Parliament is crucial and Parliamentary Service works hard to maintain the right balance between security and accessibility. We have robust systems, processes and procedures in place for physical and cyber security and these are regularly reviewed and updated so that we can manage the ever-changing risks within the parliamentary environment while ensuring the level of access New Zealanders currently enjoy is maintained.

Parliament also remains a place where people are free to assemble to express their opinions. Hundreds of protests are held safely and peacefully at Parliament each year. Parliamentary Service carefully assesses potential risks associated with planned protests to ensure the safety of those involved and of all users of the parliamentary precinct.

There are conditions for protests and demonstrations with which all protestors and demonstrators are required to comply. These can be found on Parliament’s website. Those who do not comply with the conditions will be asked to leave.

Security breaches at Parliament are rare.

This morning’s incident was unfortunate, but managed well by Parliamentary Service Security.

I want to acknowledge their swift and professional action in dealing with it. The plans in place to respond to an incident of this nature had been practiced and today shows that they have been executed effectively.

Parliamentary Service are now undertaking a full review of the incident and will assess whether changes to security measures on the parliamentary precinct will be necessary.