Ian Templeton began working in Parliament before the vast majority of the current crop of MPs were born.

In an unprecedented move, Parliament paid tribute to this veteran journalist who after a staggering 60 years, covering 15 Prime Ministers, has decided to call it quits.

Templeton was like a living Google, there was no need to search the site when he was around, he recalled events with greater clarity than any computer generated inquiry would throw up.

He was afforded a "distinguished visitor" status accompanying the formal Speaker's parade into Parliament, taking a seat on the floor of The House as the MPs paid tribute to him.


It was somewhat ironic that the man who moved the motion to celebrate his career was Winston Peters who has spent much of his long career mauling the media, although his praise of Templeton wasn't without a characteristic barb.

Peters told Parliament's bear pit that as a journalist Templeton was amazingly accurate, always interested in the detail and was a repository of deep knowledge, and because of all those attributes, was the stand out member of the Press Gallery!

National's Gerry Brownlee, who's also had his run ins with political journalists, heaped praise on this octogenarian saying his career's been carved out with an enviable reputation for accuracy, insight and fairness but couldn't help making a political observation saying he came into Parliament in the year of the Black Budget and hoped that he wasn't leaving in advance of the next one.

In fact Arnnold Nordmeyer's Black Budget was delivered the year after Templeton entered the hallowed halls.

But at least he was a little more accurate than the Greens' James Shaw who began his tribute by saying Templeton's length of service blew his mind which could perhaps explain his assertion that he'd been in journalism for 60 years with 53 of them being in the gallery.

In fact Templeton began journalism 71 years ago with all but 11 of them being in Parliament.

So accuracy most certainly isn't the hallmark of politicians, but the tributes to the grand old man of the Press Gallery were well deserved.

Serving alongside him for almost four decades, a lengthy apprenticeship to finally take over as the longest serving member of The Gallery, it was hard not to be impressed with this man's unfailing politeness and a genuine goodwill to the political process and those who take part in it.

Winston Peters aptly took words from the Scottish anthem, The Flower of Scotland: When will we see your like again?