As MPs call for increased security at Parliament after an alleged axe attack on Wednesday, Parliamentary Service reveals it made 23 security staff redundant after a review completed last year.
Rafael Gonzalez-Montero, the chief executive of the Parliamentary Service, told 1 NEWS the redundancies followed the recommendations of the Parliamentary Security Review.
Gonzalez-Montero said Parliamentary Service would implement the report’s 33 recommendations over the next several years.
To implement those findings, he said, “structural changes” were needed within the security team. But implementing the recommendations would ultimately result in an increase in the total number of security staff.
“Staff whose roles were impacted were offered redundancy as an option and 23 accepted that offer.
“We do not anticipate any further redundancies.”
He said the recommendations aimed to “reduce and manage the ever-changing security risks within the parliamentary environment while ensuring we maintain the open and accessible Parliament New Zealanders currently enjoy”.
“The range of recommendations include a significant investment in people capability, technology enhancements and policy, process and procedure improvements.”
The review was submitted to a commission chaired by the Speaker last year. The commission includes representatives from all political parties in Parliament.
Budget 2020 said funding the Parliamentary Security Review aimed to “ultimately improve the safety and security” of people who work in Parliament and electorate offices across the country.
Another review has begun into how Wednesday’s incident was able to happen.
That review “will assess whether changes to security measures on the parliamentary precinct will be necessary”, Gonzalez-Montero said.
A 31-year-old man appeared in court earlier this week for allegedly damaging the glass panels of the Beehive’s main public entrance with an axe.
The defendant was granted bail by the judge on the grounds he remained in custody at Wellington District Court for further mental health assessments, after which he will be bailed to a mental health facility.
Parliamentary Service yesterday confirmed $5007.80 worth of repair costs to the door.
There was no indication Wednesday’s events have any link to the rioting and invasion of the US Capitol in Washington DC last week.