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17th of January 2018

Politics



Politicians adjourn with recollections of a campaign that nobody expected

The tables turned at this year's election when then-Prime Minister Bill English found himself in Opposition and Labour ...

The tables turned at this year's election when then-Prime Minister Bill English found himself in Opposition and Labour leader Jacinda Ardern became leader of the country.

They say a week is a long time in politics but an election year, particularly this one, has seemed like an eternity for Parliament.

The House rose for the year on Wednesday night but not without first having the traditional adjournment debate where a selection of cross-party MPs do their best to wrap up the year that's been.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern recalled learning to plumb a toilet this year and very quickly realising not to ever do it yourself after she suffered headlines when someone reported her efforts as not being legal.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson got plenty of laughs when he used a steak and cheese pie analogy to explain to the ... DAVID WHITE/STUFF

Finance Minister Grant Robertson got plenty of laughs when he used a steak and cheese pie analogy to explain to the Opposition how they found themselves there.

"I learnt elections in this day and age can be a good clean contest of ideas, with the exception of a few holes."

READ MORE:* Ardern in the poo over new loo* Bill English shows off his walk-run* Andrew Little quits as Labour leader

"I've learnt 100 days is not as long as you think," she said.

National Party leader Bill English shared with the House the difficulty of going from Prime Minister to Opposition leader and thinking he still had Diplomatic Protection Squad (DPS) to help him get around the building.

"I found myself, actually, on the way to the Chamber here, outside the door without my fob to swipe, and I saw one of the DPS staff over there and I was waiting for him to come and do it for me, but he didn't do it.

"But I can let out a secret: I invented the walk-run so that DPS could keep up with me when I went out to exercise," he said.

Then it was deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters' turn and he didn't fail to deliver with his declarations of fake news during the campaign and handing out his usual insults (with a grin) to National MPs Simon Bridges and Steven Joyce. 

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New Green MPs Golriz Ghahraman and Chloe Swarbrick shared their turn and given both only joined Parliament seven weeks ago they kept their reflections to the campaign trail, or in Swarbrick's case the realities of becoming a politician.

For her she said becoming a politician was a much like becoming an adult.

"As a kid you look at adults and think they know the meaning of life, that they have a clue. Then you grow up and realise nobody really knows what the heck is going on."

Finance Minister Grant Robertson kicked off his speech recalling sitting in his office on August 1, the day former leader Andrew Little stood down, in a state of "complete shock and terror".

Robertson says he regards Little stepping aside as one of the "most selfless things he's ever seen".

But one of the biggest laughs came when he used his steak and cheese pie analogy to explain to the House how Labour is leading the Government, not National.

The pie analogy is about three different groups (Labour, NZ First and the Greens) pitching in their various amounts of money to buy the pie, which means one group (National) who had the biggest single share of money can't afford the pie.

Robertson mentioned ACT leader David Seymour having five cents to add to English's $3.70 but Bridges thought that was far too generous and suggested Seymour had borrowed money from National.

"No cents," yelled Robertson, correcting himself and apologising for suggesting Seymour had anything to contribute.

After a number of extended hours and urgency and the House sitting a week longer than usual, Parliament rose in time for the dinner break, much to the delight of Bridges who had declared Robertson had made him hungry using his speech to talk about pies.

 - Stuff

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