National leader Simon Bridges agrees to remove videos using Parliament TV footage

House Speaker Trevor Mallard and National leader Simon Bridges.
House Speaker Trevor Mallard and National leader Simon Bridges. Photo credit: Getty

Simon Bridges has agreed to remove videos published online by the National Party that use Parliament TV footage of MPs without their permission. 

The National leader said despite the party's belief in freedom of speech, he hopes that by agreeing to take down the videos instead of defying the Speaker's orders, progress could be made on changing the rules.

"National will remove the videos by 5pm today."

House Speaker Trevor Mallard Mallard said he welcomed the move, saying a stand-off between the leader of a major party and the Speaker "is not healthy and I’m pleased it has been resolved". 

Mallard is chair of the Standing Orders Committee, a group of MPs who met on Thursday to discuss reviewing the rules around the use of Parliament TV footage. 

The current rules state that use of Parliament TV coverage "must not be used in any medium for political advertising or election campaigning (except with the permission of all members shown)".

It came into the spotlight last month after Junior Labour Whip Kieran McAnulty complained to the Speaker about political ads that included Parliament TV footage used without the permission of MPs. 

The video referred to in the complaint was published by the National Party, and used footage of Labour MP Deborah Russell discussing the "intellectual history behind wellbeing". 

It focused mostly on Dr Russell discussing Greek mythology and concluded with Assistant Speaker Ruth Dyson asking her to get back on topic.

Mallard ruled last month that all Parliament TV footage featuring MPs without their permission would have to be taken down by 5pm on Friday, September 27. 

But when that time came, National MPs defied the Speaker's ruling by sharing the Dr Russell video on their social media channels, with their own authorisation statements. 

The defiance led the Speaker to punish Bridges earlier this week by restricting the number of supplementary questions - or follow-up questions - he's allowed in Parliament, until the videos are removed.  

When the Standing Orders Committee met on Thursday, Wellington public law specialist Graeme Edgeler told MPs he believes the rules are too restrictive and are not in the public's interest of an open and transparent Parliament. 

However, he admitted there is a risk in footage being used to mislead, and he said that's something the committee will need to consider in its review. 

The Speaker has indicated the work of the Standing Orders Committee would progress more quickly and effectively if the videos flagged were taken down.

The committee has previously removed a ban on using Parliament TV footage for "satire or ridicule". 

Mallard said the committee will hear further submissions next week.