23 Jun 2010

PM wants protocol set for dignitaries' visits

10:02 pm on 23 June 2010

The Prime Minister says he is keen to establish a protocol and set of procedures for all visiting foreign dignitaries

His comments follow last Friday's incident outside Parliament involving Chinese security guards and Green Party co-leader Russel Norman, who was protesting against China's policy on Tibet.

Mr Key says that he respects the right of every MP to protest and that any potential changes wouldn't limit their ability to do that.

But he says New Zealand also has a responsibility as a good host to allow people to enter and exit buildings without the fracas that occurred last week.

Mr Key will talk to Speaker Lockwood Smith, Police Commissioner Howard Broad and Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully about the protocol.

There are currently no guidelines or rules governing MPs' conduct when protesting against a visiting dignitary.