© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2021

When Parliament goes walking

Jen Black
signal 2020 06 18 195020 v2
Parliamentary walking group selfie  Tamati Coffey (Supplied)

With 14 hours plus of work daily, here's how a small group of MPs break up their busy schedule in the Beehive.

Labour MP Ruth Dyson is one of the longest-walking members of a parliamentary group that regularly traipses around Wellington.

The group has been around since Dyson was elected in 1993.

Groups regulars include Trevor Mallard, Willow-Jean Prime and her child Heeni and mother Nandy (for the time they were here in Parliament), Jan Tinetti, Priyanka Radhakrishnan, and Callum Penley.

Golriz Ghahraman, Jenny Marcroft, Tamati Coffey, Anahila Kanongata'a-Suisuiki, Liz Craig, Marama Davidson and Angie Warren-Clark also join the walking group at times.

Partywise the group consists of Labour, Greens, and NZ first although other parties have been invited.

Herbie, Greg O'Connor's dog, comes on the walk too.

With 14 hour days in the precinct on any sitting day, Callum Penley (the only "staffer" of the group) sees it as "time to get out of the building, get some fresh air and talk about anything other than work".

That's one of the unwritten rules of the group, no talking about work for the 50 minutes they walk.

The route runs along the Wellington waterfront til the turning point at the Chaffers Dock building. They tap the building and head back to Parliament by 7pm, leaving enough time to eat dinner before the House resumes. In wet weather the plan changes slightly, walking along Lambton Quay to Courtney Place, sheltered by the shops.