Have any authorities in New Zealand, e.g. some Parliamentary discipline/ethics committee or even the justice authorities launched any investigation or punishment attempt against MP Chlöe Swarbrick who dismissed an intervention during a climate-change speech of hers by saying "OK, boomer"?

As far as I can tell Swarbick didn't really apologize for her remark, but offered this elaboration:

"Today I have learnt that responding succinctly and in perfect jest to somebody heckling you about your age as you speak about the impact of climate change on your generation with the literal title of their generation makes some people very mad," she wrote. "So I guess millennials ruined humour. That, or we just need to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and abstain from avocados."

"That’s the joke," she added.

(N.B. "avocados" is a reference to what an Australian magnate said about about millenials.)

She gave a few more explanations what she meant by "boomer" in a later press interview, but as far as I can tell, no apology there either.

It was suggested to her that Muller, who is 50, is not technically a baby boomer, but rather a member of Generation X - born somewhere between the early-to-mid 1960s and the early 1980s.

"Boomer is a state of mind," Swarbrick, who probably fits into the Millennial category, which comes after Gen X, said.

"I think you can see from the way that that meme has evolved that it is symbolic of the collective frustration that young people in particular feel to placing evidence in fact time after time in the debate and in the argument and being met with dogma."

Earlier, Swarbrick said the phrase "OK boomer" was a "simple summarisation of collective exhaustion".

"OK boomer" acknowledges that "you cannot win a deeply polarised debate - facts don't matter," she said.

So given her lack of an apology is there any official investigation or punishment/censure being launched against Swarbick?

(I'm asking this because another question here asserts that Swarbick made "openly discriminatory remarks", proffered an "ageist slur" and possibly engaged in "unconscionable behavior" as a reason for inquiring into New Zealand's parliamentary procedures, in general. I simply want to know if there has been any investigation or punishment/censure attempt launched, at any official level, against Swarbick.)

  • 4
    Good lord. These politically correct rules are exhausting. Why is an investigation necessary and what will it uncover?
    – acpilot
    Commented Nov 7, 2019 at 16:24
  • That there are any "standards" at all for something so....petty?....is disappointing.
    – acpilot
    Commented Nov 7, 2019 at 18:27
  • Like many Commonwealth parliaments, enforcing decorum in the New Zealand parliament falls to the Speaker of the House. At the time of the event in question, this was Trevor Colin Mallard.
    – Roger
    Commented Nov 7, 2019 at 20:29
  • While New Zealand is well known for having somewhat authoritarian restrictions on what kinds of speech are permissible for the general populace, punishing someone for the word "boomer" would be outrageous even by their standards. Commented Nov 10, 2019 at 2:51
  • All these people suddenly concerned about NZ parliamentary procedure. Can't we just throw a dildo at them? Commented Nov 10, 2019 at 21:03

1 Answer 1


Has New Zealand announced any investigation or punishment/censure for MP Swarbick for her saying "OK, boomer"?

Not likely to ever happen. Such repartee and interruptions are not that uncommon as shown by excerpts of the series of speeches for the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill. It is only when a point of order is raised that the Speaker will intervene to address the issue. That did not happen in these speeches.

SARAH DOWIE (National—Invercargill): Thank you, Mr Speaker. ... If you continue to plant pine forests you take away arable land from our farmers, who are the most efficient producers of food in the world; you devastate rural communities; families leave those towns, and that could mean that the local doctor ends up leaving; the teacher ends up leaving the rural school; the roll drops; and next thing you've got the school closing and rural communities are completely—

Hon Shane Jones: Scaremongering.

SARAH DOWIE: —are completely devastated. It may come as a surprise to Mr Jones but not all of us want to live in high-rises or in cities. Some of us want to live in the provinces, some of us want to live in rural communities, and some of us have lived a life off the land, conserving our land and producing some of the best food exported across the world, and they want to continue for generations to do that. That should be supported, certainly acknowledged in the Paris Agreement, that food production is a necessity and therefore we want to make sure that the framework that this bill puts in place acknowledges that there should be a cap on forestry and a cap on land use change, at least some sort of strategy—

Hon Shane Jones: More regulation.

SARAH DOWIE: —behind it so that New Zealand's way of life can be protected—

Hon Shane Jones: National Party red tape.

SARAH DOWIE: —across the main and that food production is protected, moving forward. That was certainly a sentiment illustrated by many submitters and it is something that needs to be looked at moving forward, acknowledged, and certainly not shouted down, Mr Jones, as something that is simply scaremongering.

ERICA STANFORD (National—East Coast Bays): Thank you, Mr Speaker ... We understand the urgency of the world to come together to combat what is probably one of the, if not the most, significant issues of our time. National signed up to the Paris accord, an acknowledgement of the need for us to play our part as a good global citizen.

Hon Shane Jones: Sold out the cockies. Sold out the farmers. Went to Paris.

ERICA STANFORD: That member continually bellowing nonsense from the other side of the House should perhaps consider the amount of carbon dioxide spewing out of his mouth with every single obnoxious comment, and perhaps consider the effect of his own global warming, and perhaps shut it for five minutes and listen to this young woman who has something to say. ... They spoke about the mental health of farmers and the pressure that these sales were having on farmers and their communities, and it's something that we he need to listen to—

Hon Shane Jones: You don't know.

ERICA STANFORD: —despite Mr Jones' continual bellowing.

Hon NATHAN GUY (National—Ōtaki): Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. ... I think what happened there is New Zealand First woke up to the fact that Mr Shaw had reached out to this side of the House and perhaps hadn't consulted with New Zealand First. So, for whatever reason, whether that indeed is correct, we find ourselves in this position—

Todd Muller: Obviously correct.

Hon NATHAN GUY: —this afternoon. Mr Muller is indeed confirming that it is correct, that's exactly what happened. ... And what about the economic impacts? Pretty much silent in this bill, and I want to come on to those in a moment.

Chlöe Swarbrick: It's because you didn't understand officials.

Hon NATHAN GUY: I acknowledged the officials and I acknowledged the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE).

CHLÖE SWARBRICK (Green): E Te Māngai, tēnā koe. Tēnā koutou e Te Whare. ... My generation and the generations after me do not have that luxury. In the year 2050 I will be 56 years old, yet right now, the average age of this 52nd Parliament is 49 years old.

Hon Member: That's impossible.


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