The Press Gallery has an important and privileged position in Parliament. Most media outlets are represented there or through an agency. Last week we witnessed John Key and Phil Goff batting away serious questions from reporters about Nicky Hager’s latest book ‘Other People’s Wars’. Their misbehaviour rightly drew very critical comment from respected columnists in some of the mainstream media. Not so in Wellington’s DomPost even though an editorial thundered ‘Let Truth and Falsehood Grapple’ just a day or so later.
If answers come there none what can our front line in the democratic process do? Frankly it can get off its backside and do what the powerless – be they hoi polloi or celebrities – do. Actively protest. Form a united front. And how very well set up the press gallery is to do just that. Only resources needed are wide felt pens, placards for the topical question, recyclable ones for democratic cliches. ‘Cough it up, Goff!’ ‘Unlock the truth, Key!’ A group totter to the front doors of Parliament, down the front steps, chat to probably bemused security guards, then north along the forecourt. During this part placards should be held neatly by side, face out. Speakers are very sensitive about a pristine forecourt except when it comes to farmers on tractors. Pause to smell the roses, out the main gates, raise placards, and back in behind the barricades to Seddon’s statue. Then all the way back. Smile at cameras. Deep vein thrombosis averted for another day.
If there are still no answers blackmail might have to be entertained. Boycott photo ops of smiley politicians. Babies and the public will appreciate that.