Ok, so anyone who knows me, knows I don’t need a guided tour of Parlie. I get around the place far too much as it is… But today was sunny, and I like checking out the artworks ‘back-of-house’, so I grabbed my camera & went for a stroll downtown.
Big mistake! Not allowed to take photo’s. So here’s some from outside :-)
Ushers at the Public Entrance
This is what Parliament Steps look like ...
However, there was more than enough bumph on offer, so I collected some quite nice free papers on my way around. I did discover some new things, too – like the education centre in the Beehive building, near the Theaterette where the Press Conferences are held. This is a purpose-built spot for schools to access information in a classroom-type setting, and is a big step up from how school visits were managed around 8 years ago or so. Lovely resources, some of which I snaffled for my nephews, who live out of town now. Lollipops!
Parliament TV was getting a lot of mention, so I’ll humour them.
It’s on Freeview 22, SKY Digital 94, and TelstraClear Digital 94 as well, for those who like their politics on widescreen.
I visited the old Upper House chamber, which I’d last been in (I think) for Rod Donald’s Memorial; certainly made me wince, walking back in there! Also had a quick look at the State Hall (banquets!), and Bellamy’s, where a lively band entertained those who needed a breather. While I was meandering around the Beehive, I found the Electoral Commission stand, with all the local current electoral rolls, plus forms for people to enroll to vote, and (yay!) balloons, tattoos & lollipops. (So easily bribed, eh!).
Then a look at the Hansard offices, and a lovely chat with one of the Hansard staff. Lots of reprints were available, one of which made me chuckle – the PM having, on the 2nd March 2004, moved that the House record it’s admiration for LOTR gaining 11 Oscars, singling out Peter Jackson for a mention, and then going on to talk about Keisha Castle-Hughes’ nomination that year. Other more serious Hansard reprints were available, however – David Lange & Nandor Tancos’ Valedictory speeches, the Ministerial statement on 12 Sept 2001, about the World Trade Center attacks in the USA, and the Obituaries on 9 November 2005 of Rt Hon David Lange, John Luxton, Hon John Falloon, and Rod Donald (whew, was that a week in politics!).
I finished off with a quick walk-through of the General Assembly Library, which is where all MP’s send their researchers to find useful-to-know stuff; and where a friend of mine works. So I managed to find her, bundled up in a 19th C dress and bonnet, in her least-librariany look for along time, and had just enough time to look at the lovely gilded fittings in the upstairs librarians’ office, along with the beautiful stained-glass window in the upstairs hallway, then it was shut-down time. So Sy got me out through the security doors, as we had chatted past the security guards shooing everyone else out. It really is one of the most beautiful libraries in Wellington, I encourage everyone to go for a look sometime. (For those who are past staff, it’s had a huge facelift, it really is gorgeous now!)
Then I was let out through the main doors of the Parliament Foyer, so scooted into the sunshine to eat a banana sitting on the lawn, and contemplate my haul of promotional goodies. Once-in-a-while, I really relish my citizenship, and today was one of those days.