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Quake disruption stirs up strange reactions in Parliament

Gia Garrick, Political Reporter

While some of the country's elected representatives were a bit shaken by yesterday's 6.2 magnitude earthquake, others didn't let it interrupt their busy schedules.

beehive, nz

Parliament and Beehive Photo: RNZ

The earthquake struck at 3.13pm, shaking Parliament buildings for a little under a minute.

It didn't stop National MP Nikki Kaye, who continued her presentation to around 10 people who had all taken cover under the table they had just been meeting at.

"She asked for permission first," said Denise Lee, the National MP for Maungakiekie.

"She said 'can we carry on?' and we all took a quorum and we were all there and so we kept going."

It was a meeting of the education caucus group, Ms Lee said, and it did not stop for the earthquake.

Also under the table was the National MP for East Coast Bays, Erica Stanford.

"I think it was a testament to Nikki Kaye that she kept running through her slides under the table and carried on with that meeting," she said.

The MPs who were in the House debating the government legislation that will ban property managers from charging letting fees were a bit shaken, and the deputy speaker called a short suspension.

"Never thought I'd have to do that," she said.

However, Labour's junior whip Kieran McAnulty disregarded the meeting he was having with Ministry of Primary Industries officials for a call he said was much more important.

"First thing I did as I always do is ring my nana, to make sure she's okay," he said.

"She was fine but she was more worried about the cat which had jumped under the couch and wouldn't come out. So I think that's an indication that all was well in Masterton."

Over in Bowen House, Labour Minister of Employment Willie Jackson said they got under the table, then all had a bit of a laugh.

"A bit surreal, a bit of a shock really. But people were a bit nervous and then they started laughing, they shouldn't be laughing like that should they?

"Cause I was saying 'treat this seriously, treat this seriously!' and then we started taking cover - but it was a bit of a shock. Biggest one I've felt since I was down here."

Denise Lee said she's one of the newer MPs and it's the first earthquake she's felt in Wellington.

"So I'm kinda glad it was a big one for our first, cause now we've got a good story to tell!" she said.

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