26 Jun 2015

Parliament security 'exposed' after protest

5:48 am on 26 June 2015

The security breach by Greenpeace protesters who managed to scale Parliament's roof has spooked some MPs while others say they're not worried in the slightest.

Greenpeace protester being arrested.

A Greenpeace protester being arrested. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Two men and two women staged the day-long protest yesterday over what they say is government inaction on climate change.

It is believed the protesters used scaffolding at the rear of Parliament to get onto the building, then made their way to the ledge which overlooks the forecourt.

They placed solar panels there and unfurled a banner with a photo of the Prime Minister, John Key, and the words "cut pollution, create jobs - yeah, nah".

100914. Photo Diego Opatowski / RNZ. Winston Peters talking about police numbers at Hutt Gables Retirement Village.

Winston Peters Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said the fact protesters could reach the roof was a real worry.

"I suppose they demonstrate that our security is totally inadequate. This is for a different cause, an environmental cause, but imagine if they were terrorists?

"We've just seen an example of how exposed we are."

ACT leader David Seymour said the protesters were "arrogant and conceited".

"The worst thing that could happen is that Parliament becomes more locked-down, more difficult for law-abiding people to access, because of the behaviour of these guys," he said.

But United Future leader Peter Dunne was more nonchalant and said any tightening of security would be an overreaction.

"I just think it's a bit of a laugh that we've got all sorts of rules about keeping people from getting access to the building but we can't keep people off the roof."

Annette King.

Annette King Photo: LABOUR PARTY

Labour MP Annette King was more worried about the backlash for MPs.

"I fear that there will be an overreaction and next thing you know we will have to be swiping to go to the loo."

But National MP Steven Joyce said next time it might not be Greenpeace protesters.

"I think obviously they are going to have a security review as they should because while there is no particular difficulty with having some people hanging a sheet out the front... that would be a concern if it was somebody with a more malevolent intent."

Meanwhile, Green Party co-leader James Shaw was more concerned that people were missing the point.

"The main point here is that regardless of what the Government says it is doing around climate change...since this Government came to office, our emissions have risen 13 percent."

David Carter

David Carter Photo: SUPPLIED

Speaker of the House David Carter said he was worried about the safety of staff and MPs but there also needed to be a balance.

"I am attempting to keep this parliament as open as possible for the public of New Zealand but the balance there is to also keep it safe and secure for parliamentarians and staff.

It was a delicate balance that had to be managed on daily basis, he said.

The protesters each face one charge of trespass, which carries a penalty of up to three months in jail.

A full review of parliamentary security will be carried out as a result of the protest.

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