Beehive's new carpet shocks MPs

Simon Bridges
Simon Bridges

New carpet is causing a shocking problem at the Beehive.

It's 100 percent New Zealand wool and comes with a cushy underlay - however Ministers are getting zapped by static electric shocks and some are going to extraordinary lengths to deal with it.

On the Beehive's fifth floor, a frustrated minister sprays water. Simon Bridges, the Energy Minister, has been plagued by an abundance of static electricity.

"If I keep spraying on a daily basis, then I don't get the shocks," he says. "It's an important remedial step to take."

He's resorted to some other creative solutions too, adding plants as natural circuit breakers.

"There were none, there's now one, two, three, four, five and six," he says.

And there's this. Taped up door handles, and this contraption, an anti-static desk mat.

"I religiously sit in, feet on mat, and it makes a difference," he says.

He isn't the only minister having problems.

"Sometimes the carpet gives me a little tickle," says Nick Smith.

"I might have had one or two [electric shocks] it's not something I've focused on," says Amy Adams.

"Just a little but nothing serious, it doesn't matter," says Anne Tolley.

"I've had a couple of little shocks earlier," says Paula Bennett.

Parliament's Buildings are maintained by one man, Jim Robb. He says the new woollen carpets have worsened a long-running problem.

"We're in the middle of winter, we've got cold polar air, there's no moisture in it and it's a very common problem, I've been dealing with this for thirty years," Mr Robb says.

He's given ministers these humidifiers that spray mist into the air - with varied results.

"This is not the electric future I'm talking about," Mr Bridges says.

Unless there's a miracle, Simon Bridges will just have to spray, and walk away, every day.


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