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National's Chris Bishop calls out Labour's Kieran McAnulty over 'big gas guzzler' amid climate emergency

National MP Chris Bishop has called out Labour's Kieran McAnulty over his well-known "big gas guzzler" ute, a day after the Government declared a climate emergency in New Zealand.

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Kieran McAnulty and Chris Bishop went head-to-head on TVNZ1's Breakfast a day after the Government declared a climate emergency in New Zealand. Source: 1 NEWS

The pair took light-hearted jabs at each other on TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning over the Government's plan to tackle climate change.

"Yesterday's declaration of a climate change emergency in isolation, it's not enough. But it's still important as part of the package as to where we're heading," McAnulty said, defending the Government's action on the issue.

"But mate, are you going to give up the ute?" Bishop asked, referring to the older model vehicle with a smashed out back window that played a prominent role in the campaign — with McAnulty at one point making headlines for giving Jacinda Ardern a ride in the vehicle while on the campaign trail. "The 420,000km red ute, the big gas guzzler."

To which McAnulty responded, "No, no, no, you've got me wrong, Chris. He's got me all wrong. The thing is in order to guzzle gas you've got to be able to go over 100km/h — the ute can't."

But Bishop still questioned the fuel efficiency on the Mazda "bad boy", adding: "I drive an electric Leaf, a little Nissan Leaf, around so who's doing the most for climate change?"

Bishop argued the climate emergency declaration was an empty gesture by the Government — purely symbolism without actual action. 

"We think [it's] reasonably hollow, because you can declare something but unless there's actual action you're not going to get very far. So you can say there's an emergency but you've got to do something about it."

Bishop said he was in favour of taking action on climate change but that National was "more about the action, not so much about the words".

"I just look at what's happened over the last three years. The Government three years ago said they'd make all the Government vehicle fleet electric by 2025, for example. It's about 15,000 cars — all the DHBs, DOC, police, all the rest of the Government agencies, 15,000 cars. They've done 108 have become electric and that's something that the Government can actually do quite easily."

However, yesterday, Climate Minister James Shaw told 1 NEWS there were 146 electric vehicles in the Government fleet after National leader Judith Collins claimed there was "about 18 or something".

McAnulty also took a jab back at Bishop, though, saying "pot, kettle".

"So you haven't done enough so we're not gonna sign a climate change emergency declaration? Seems a bit political to me."

He also defended to motion to declare an emergency, saying they got the balance right.

"From a Government's perspective, when you've got people on your right saying you're doing too much and people on your left saying you're not doing enough, well you've probably got the balance about right.

"No one would say that we've done enough in any sector but it's what we're doing that we need to be focused on at the moment."

But the MPs also took the time to share some nice words on Breakfast.

"I just want to say to Kieran: Well done on winning the seat. I know it's a really good feeling and we're going to have to get your off-breaks really fizzing this summer, mate, for the Parliamentary cricket."

At the October election, McAnulty, who was previously a list MP in a National-leaning district, took out his Wairarapa electorate seat for the first time — a role reversal for the two MPs, after Bishop missed out on his Hutt South electorate seat, leaving him to the mercy of National's list.

"I hope that people, when they see us together, they realise that what they see about politics on the news isn't actually the full story," McAnulty added. "Chris and I are a good example of being on other sides of the House and having differing views, but it doesn't stop you being people and it doesn't stop you being mates."