Fuseworks Media

ASPA Press Gallery Access Restored

Salient received communication yesterday from Speaker of the House Gerry Brownlee confirming that he will grant Salient swipe card access into Parliament and the Press Gallery, following his previous indication that he would not be giving a swipe card to the magazine.

For over a decade, Salient has held a press gallery associate’s pass on behalf of the Aotearoa Student Press Association, allowing us access into the House to question Ministers on issues with direct relevance to students.

Speaker Brownlee sent Salient a formal response on Tuesday, stating that his only concern was “access to Parliament.”

“In August 2023 the Parliamentary Security Committee reported on areas of concern around security to the Parliamentary Service Commission. As the new Speaker I am acting to consider these concerns with an internal review of the access card allocation system.”

Brownlee stated that “[t]his doesn’t stop Salient coming into the Parliament or attending the Post Cab press conference as that occurs on the same floor as the security screening process.”

The Speaker reaffirmed this in a phone call with our news co-editor, Ethan Rogacion, yesterday morning, where he assured Salient that we would have access into the Parliamentary precinct in order to attend House sittings, post-cabinet press conferences, and other stand-ups.

In this phone call, the Speaker also insisted that media reporting on the issue of lobbyists having their swipe card access had been misconstrued, and that in his tenure as Speaker he has only granted new swipe cards to staff that needed them to do work with political parties.

Initially, the Speaker stated that Salient staff would be able to access the precinct, but would need to go through security and would not have swipe access restored. However, in another call yesterday afternoon, the Speaker indicated that, because swipe access would be needed to get to certain areas of Parliament where press events may be held, he is granting Salient a swipe card which will expire in three months, pending the outcome of his review.

Salient welcomes this decision, which allows us to more easily access politicians, and do the important journalistic work that only student publications are able to.