Greenpeace has written a letter to the Speaker asking him to ban “corporate lobbyists” from having parliamentary swipe cards because shock horror a lobbyist for Anadarko has one.
This is Greenpeace saying that swipe cards should only be given to organisations they politically agree with. They wish to politicise what is actually a simple administrative issue.
Thousands of people have a swipe card to access Parliament. All the staff of course. Hundreds of government officials. Family members of MPs. Media. Volunteers and interns. Youth members of political parties. Former MPs. And around 100 other people (including me).
All a swipe card means is that you don’t have to go through the security scanner and rather than wait five minutes at reception for someone to okay you in (which means you get given a temporary swipe card), you can go straight to the lift and to your destination.
They are not an all access card. Each political party decides who can access their areas. My swipe card only gets me into National areas. It won’t get me into say Labour and Greens.
People who see swipe cards as some sort of elite thing are wrong, and their solution of making them harder is the opposite of what we should do. The last thing you want is to make Parliament more inaccessible to people. I recall the days when there was no security scanners, and the lifts did not need swipe cards.
Anyone who has legitimate business at Parliament more than say a couple of times a year, should have a swipe card. The purpose of the security checks are to keep out people with bad intentions, not to make it hard for people to visit MPs.
The worst of all worlds would be to do what Greenpeace wants which is to allow all the groups they approve of (such as the CTU and PSA) to have swipe cards but not groups they disagree with (such as Business NZ). Decisions on swipe cards should be as simple as does that people have a regular need to meet MPs.