Speaker demands that media censor baby coverage in Parliament

Ahead of Jacinda Ardern’s return to Parliament next week (she ‘returned to work’ yesterday but seems to have worked from home in Auckland) the Speaker Trevor Mallard has warned media off acting like paparazzi in Parliament – fair enough.

The ban only applies to baby Neve and not to Ardern.

But Mallard has also threatened severe repercussions for ‘accididental’ or incidental shots of Ardern’s baby, and this is quite controversial, especially to the degree Mallard has explained it.

Stuff: Warning to journalists who take unauthorised photos of returning Jacinda Ardern’s daughter Neve

Parliament’s Speaker Trevor Mallard has issued a warning to journalists planning to take unauthorised photos of returning Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s baby Neve.

The Parliamentary Press Gallery was informed that any journalists who took unauthorised photos would have their accreditation removed and their employer would also be penalised.

That’s harsh.

The only time photos or video featuring Neve could be taken are in a single specified area (level 1 foyer of Parliament House) or by invitation only.

That seems draconian.

A spokeswoman for the speaker said most parents who are members of Parliament might not want their childrens’ photos taken and as part of a family-friendly parliament, parents’ choices would be respected.

The rules were not new and all photos taken in the parliament precinct needed permission and that would continue to remain in place, she said.

Parliament’s filming and photography protocols apply to anyone seeking to film or interview politicians on the parliamentary precinct. Non-accredited people had to seek permission on a case-by-case basis.

So it seems to be a reinforcement of existing rules.

But media are allowed to film and photograph in parts of Parliament.

However, accredited journalists – the Press Gallery – had greater freedom of movement under the rules to interview, film or photograph MPs in some additional public areas.

The rules allowed Press Gallery journalists to film or photograph members on the parliamentary forecourt and steps, the level 1 foyer of Parliament House, corridors outside select committee rooms, the reception areas of Parliament and Bowen House, as well as outside the Beehive Banquet Hall.

This is where things get tricky. If the baby ends up in the background of an interview Mallard says that must be edited out – that is, part of the interview must not be shown.

I don’t think Ardern will pop up in shot with Neve when Kelvin Davis or Clare Curran are being interviewed to effectively censor the shots to save face.

But Ardern (and Gayford) must have some responsibility to remain discrete with Neve and avoid those parts of Parliament where filming may take place,

An interesting discussion and clarification on Twitter:

Newshub:  Speaker threatens to kick journalists out of Parliament over PM baby privacy

Graeme Edgeler: Is it required to delete like the text says, or prohibited from airing (so maybe blur, reaction shot, b-roll over audio etc?) like says in the audio? There’s a massive difference.

Reed Fleming: Good. Neve isn’t actually an elected member of Parliament and should be able to visit Parliament without being filmed – just like hundreds of members of the public do every day. Calm down.

Henry Cooke:yeah but if clarke walks past the background of a shot with Neve in his arms while a minister says something newsy it seems ridiculous that we would have to delete the video

Reed Fleming: A shot with Clarke walking past in the background, out of focus surely isn’t what the Speaker is targeting. Chasing them across the bridge probably is. I don’t think it’s an unreasonable or onerous rule to follow.

Henry Cooke: Yeah but Reed that exact example was actually brought up and he did say we would have to delete it.

Reed Fleming: that seems an absurd application of a reasonable rule. hope you’d broadcast that example regardless.

Graeme Edgeler: Henry confirms that the rule the Speaker has sought to impose is the stupid alternative of the two alternatives previously described. Don’t air it? Sure. Run a reaction shot? Sure. Blur the background? Sure. Delete the footage of eg a minister making a newsworthy statement. GTFO.

This may all be moot – if Ardern and Gayford don’t wander past when the cameras are rolling it may never come up.

Talking of censorship:

I know that Mallard had blocked me from his pre-speaker Twitter, but I don’t recall ever interacting with his @SpeakerTrevor account. I have no idea why he doesn’t want me to see what he tweets as Speaker. Is Parliament a secret society?

And – it’s a bit ironic that Mallard has banned baby shots but promotes himself with a baby photo. I think that’s the baby of an MP, taken in the House.


  1. Gezza

     /  3rd August 2018

    And – it’s a bit ironic that Mallard has banned baby shots but promotes himself with a baby photo. I think that’s the baby of an MP, taken in the House.

    Pretty obvious when you watch Question Time over a period of time Trev’s not averse to hypocrisy.

    • Ray

       /  3rd August 2018

      It might just be me but when ever I see that picture I think
      “Give me the knighthood or the baby get it!”.

      • Gezza

         /  3rd August 2018

        I remember seeing him sitting there cuddling the baby & tbh it just looked kind of dopey, but I think he was genuinely touched. I’m thinkng there’s now an over-emphasis on it all. There’s a Parliamentary creche. Whack em in there & get on with ya job. Like any other working mum.

        • They are paid to be MPs, and if women want to be taken seriously as MPs, they should get on with it as the men have to.

          I never remember any male MP waxing lyrical about the amount of poo his new baby produces* or congratulating himself on being both a father and an MP.

          * far too much information there, Jacinda.

  2. Ray

     /  3rd August 2018

    I know the Speaker does seem to feel part of his job is to protect his party Ministers (once a bully always a bully) but this is over the top, especially when he has been promoted himself with his picture with a baby via Twitter.

    • Babies shouldn’t be in the House anyway, These people are running the country and making decisions that affect us all. It’s utterly unprofessional to consider using it as a creche.

  3. Blazer

     /  3rd August 2018

    I think thats Willow Jeans baby…nice pic.

    Good to know we have real human beings in Parliament.

    So many lightweight corporate stooges on the opposition benches ,its a nice change.

    • Corky

       /  3rd August 2018

      ”Good to know we have real human beings in Parliament.”

      Those babies, unless they grow to have an IQ of 115 plus, will probably become socialists who’ll strike at the drop of a hat, demand my money, and bring more babies into parliament….what’s good about that?

      • Blazer

         /  3rd August 2018

        if I.Q was a vegetable..the opposition would be a row of ..cabbages…and the present Govt bench would be a row of….cauliflower.

        As for you,you are a turnip…good for a stew, if you are really hungry.

        • Corky

           /  3rd August 2018

          That’s most unkind and ill-humoured of you, Blazer. Lord knows what you’ll be like in opposition.

          • It’s very unkind, Blazer.

            Turnips are wholesome and rather sweet. They are crisp and keep well, adding a pleasant taste and texture to whatever they are with, as well as being nice on their own. They are very versatile, too.

            NOT a good comparison there, I think.

  4. Alan Wilkinson

     /  3rd August 2018

    Ironic that Mallard can block you for no reason but Trump can’t block people who abuse him.

    • Gezza

       /  3rd August 2018

      I think he probably can. He just doesnt bother. For one thing, he’d need to be doing it all day long or employ someone who did it for him. For another, whenever I’ve had a scrool thru the tweets in reply to his there’s nothing to indicate he ever reads or cares about any tweets beyond his own that he just tweeted.

      • Gezza

         /  3rd August 2018

        *scrool = scroll, although I kind of like scrool.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  3rd August 2018

        No he can’t. A judge ruled that infringed the constitution. Unless and until he appeals to a higher court.

        • Gezza

           /  3rd August 2018

          How bizarre. Never mind. Doubt he reads any. I still think Twitter’s crap anyway.

  5. NOEL

     /  3rd August 2018

    Ok precident set.Also no accidental shots of MPs asleep, picking their nose and scratching their arse.

    • Gezza

       /  3rd August 2018

      If they ever ban showing MP’s scratching each others’ backs there’d be nothing shown on Parliamentary TV at all.

      • Corky

         /  3rd August 2018

        From my observations, Noel, nose picking is now an acceptable public activity. I see it all the time. Only yesterday an Asian woman stood in front of me picking her nose and wiping it on the supermarket trolley. My desire for meat rissoles suddenly dissipated.

  6. Zedd

     /  3rd August 2018

    I agree with Mallard; the press gallery are there to report on ‘the business of the house’ not take papparazzi shots of others present; inc. ‘baby Neve’ :/

  7. PDB

     /  3rd August 2018

    Fair enough – unless you are paying good money for baby shots of Neve like the glossy women’s mags you can sod off.

  8. Alan Wilkinson

     /  3rd August 2018

    If the baby throws up when Winston speaks the nation needs to know.

  9. They are being wavver pwecious about little Neve (the name that’s already dated) The press can’t show her face (spare us; as if anyone would know her again)

    Who does Jacinda Ardern think she is ? The Duchess of Cambridge ?

    The oversharing has begun. The Herald and Times had articles with far too much information about the lack of/excess amount of poos produced, mentioned a breast pump and generally gave too much information, mostly dull and occasionally icky.

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