New Zealand lawmaker dismisses heckler in Parliament: ‘OK, boomer’

A 25-year-old New Zealand lawmaker on Tuesday offered a blunt response to a colleague who apparently heckled her during a speech she gave addressing the urgency of climate change on the floor of Parliament: “OK, boomer.”

Chlöe Swarbrick, a member of the Green Party, expressed the statement as she emphasized how the consequences of climate change will fall on people of her generation.

As she expressed support for legislation to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, Swarbrick noted how she would be around the age of the average lawmaker in Parliament by that time. 

“We are in a climate crisis, if we don’t get this right, nothing else matters. … In the year 2050, I will be 56 years old, yet right now the average age of this 52nd Parliament is 49 years old,” she said, prompting what appears to be an audible gasp and a heckle.

Swarbrick then raised her hand before replying “OK boomer” and moving on with her speech. It is unclear who Swarbrick was directing the remark toward.

The comment was a nod to the oft-used meme on social media to push back against elder generations’ criticism of millennials and Generation Z. The two-word message has been part of viral posts on platforms such as Twitter and TikTok.

Swarbrick, who assumed office in 2017, went on to say that “current political institutions have proven themselves incompetent of thinking outside of a short political term,” adding that “climate action cannot be sacrificed anymore for political convenience.”

While her comment did not appear to cause issue in Parliament, Swarbrick said in a later Facebook post that her retort had made “some people very mad.”

“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 said. “So I guess millennials ruined humour. That, or we just need to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and abstain from avocados.”

The New Zealand Parliament also offered an apology after a reporter noted that the captions on Parliament TV said Swarbrick stated, “OK, Berma.”

“We apologise for the error, and have updated the captions accordingly. Clearly we need to start doing all-office meme briefings,” the Parliament’s Twitter and Facebook accounts joked. 

The Climate Change Response Zero Carbon Amendment bill would set the framework for moving New Zealand to a more “climate resilient economy,” according to its authors. The bill has gained support from New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, The Washington Post reported, though it has reportedly drawn pushback from farmers and lawmakers in the National Party. 


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