Public tours and school visits to New Zealand's Parliament buildings have been suspended in a bid to limit the spread of Covid-19.

Those in charge of the day-to-day running of Parliament have also decided to limit the number of people allowed certain areas, such as the on-site café.

In an email to all Parliament's staff this afternoon, Parliamentary Services chief executive Rafael Gonzalez-Montero said the measures were being put in place to limit the disease's spread and to protect users of the precinct.

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That includes MPs, who spend up to 12 hours a day on site when the House is sitting.
Gonzalez-Montero said from tomorrow, public tours of Parliament will be cancelled until further notice.

And from Monday, school visits of Parliament will also stop until further notice.

Enhanced cleaning methods for bathrooms have also been put in place and a dedicated person will continually circulate the precinct cleaning "high touch surfaces".

These include doors handles, lift buttons, water coolers – emphasis will be put on public spaces.

The Bowen House exhibition space has also been closed until further notice.

The move comes as a number of MPs – who have been overseas – have gone into self-isolation.

Labour MP and Minister Nanaia Mahuta, who was in Canberra at the weekend to attend a kapahaka performance at a public event, returned to New Zealand before the new travel restrictions kicked in at 1am this morning.

But she decided to take a precautionary approach and self-isolate, even though she has no symptoms.


That is also the approach taken by National MP Chris Bishop, who has self-isolated after coming back from Australia on Saturday night.

Mahuta, Bishop, Green MP Chloe Swarbrick, who was also in Australia at the weekend, and NZ First MP and Minister Tracey Martin, who was with coronavirus-infected Australian Minister Peter Dutton last week, are all in self-isolation.

None of them have any symptoms.

National MP Kanwal Bakshi is in India and will have to self-isolate when he returns to New Zealand.