While making a speech supporting the Zero Carbon Bill, New Zealand’s youngest member of parliament, 25-year-old Green’s Party MP Chlöe Swarbrick, responded to a heckler (an older man) with the retort “OK Boomer”.
The phrase is a viral internet phrase used by millennials as a term to describe out-of-touch opinions associated with the baby boomer generation.
The lawmarker had been explaining how climate change will affect her generation in 2050.
"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.
"Mr. Speaker, how many world leaders, for how many decades have seen and known what is coming but have decided that it is more politically expedient to keep it behind closed doors. My generation and the generations after me do not have that luxury.”
In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Swarbrick responded to the controversy following the remark.
“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.”
In 2016, Swarbrick was just 22-years-old when she made a run to be Mayor of Auckland. Although unsuccessful, Ms Swarbrick stood as a candidate for the Green’s and was elected into parliament just one year later.
The Zero Carbon Bill passed with near-unanimous support on Thursday, after the opposition agreed to support the new climate change law.
It will set up an independent climate change commission, which would advise governments on how to meet targets set in law by the bill – zero net carbon emissions by 2050 and a reduction of between 24 and 47 per cent of methane emissions by 2050.
NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that the bill would help the nation become leaders in climate.
"New Zealand will not be a slow follower," Ms Ardern said.
"We're here because our world is warming. Undeniably it is warming...We have to start moving beyond targets. We have to start moving beyond aspirations."