Parliamentary press gallery raises concerns over swipe card data

By Kate Shuttleworth

Press gallery chairwoman Jessica Mutch said they were hoping for a formal agreement to protect journalists.
Press gallery chairwoman Jessica Mutch said they were hoping for a formal agreement to protect journalists.

Representatives from the parliamentary press gallery have raised concerns with Speaker David Carter over Parliamentary Service releasing the swipe card information of a political reporter.

Press gallery chairwoman Jessica Mutch said the press gallery was worried that journalists could be monitored while working in Parliament.

"We can't operate in an environment where our every move is tracked and that information is made public - that would make our job around the precinct difficult,'' she said.

Parliamentary Service confirmed it had accessed and made available a record of Fairfax reporter Andrea Vance's movements around the parliamentary precinct.

The information was used by the inquiry into how the Kitteridge report into the GCSB was leaked.

Miss Vance viewed parts of the report prior to its release and Fairfax revealed the GCSB was spying on 88 New Zealanders.

Parliamentary Service said it handed over the information without Miss Vance's or Mr Carter's permission because it was a "security breach''.

Top public servant David Henry and his team assessed Miss Vance's swipe card information alongside Independent MP Peter Dunne's in an attempt to match their movements.

Parliamentary Service will not say who authorised the release of the swipe card information, or whether it had tracked journalists' movements in the past.

Ms Mutch said they were hoping for a formal agreement from Mr Carter to protect press gallery journalists.

Mr Carter said he was working on some kind of protocol to formalise that and it will be parliament-wide.

Ms Mutch said she asked for the press gallery to be heavily involved in setting that protocol.

The press gallery had also asked for a clarification of the definition of a ``security breach'' by Parliamentary Service.

Prime Minister John Key said previously he did not agree with the decision to release Miss Vance's swipe-card records.

- NZ Herald

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