TODAY |

Party leaders lay down plans - and trade insults - as Parliament meets for first time this year

Parliament officially met for the first time of 2020 today, and political players wasted no time exchanging jabs and getting into election mode. 

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Political players wasted no time in getting into election mode today. Source: 1 NEWS

The party leaders used their speeches to lay out plans for the rest of the year. 

The Prime Minister began her speech with a humorous jab at National: "In the beginning, before there was light, there were nine years of darkness.

"It wasn't like a black darkness; more a dark shade of blue kind of darkness — the worst kind," Jacinda Ardern joked, quoting Labour Party deputy Kelvin Davis. 

"After nine years in blue smoke and darkness, there is plenty more to do, but this year is the chance for New Zealanders to have their say in making sure we as a Government continue to get the job done."

Opposition leader Simon Bridges shot right back with his own speech. 

"After almost three years of dithering and experimenting and mismanaging the economy and failing to deliver on her promises, New Zealanders can finally see light at the end of the tunnel," he said. 

"Actually, they can't, because Labour cancelled it! But don't worry, because National gets things done, and we'll build it."

Green Party's James Shaw took aim at the Opposition, telling the House, "in their term of Government, National squandered nearly a decade of opportunity to do something about it, to create a better future".

"They gave us no reason to hope. They eroded any promise of change. They became a risk to our shared future. That is not just negligent; that is unforgivable."

ACT leader David Seymour took shots at Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters, and included visual aids. 

"As for the Deputy Prime Minister — for now — well, let me give a bit of an education in some of the basic shapes," he began.

Holding up a pictures, Mr Seymour began by telling his colleagues, "this is a pentagon, this is a hexagon, this is an octagon".

"And this," he said, holding up a photo of Mr Peters, "is a should-be-gone, and there's so many reasons why he should be gone."

Mr Peters, speaking directly after Mr Bridges, began his speech saying it was "difficult to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear". 

"All the elocution lessons, all the lessons on how to stand, pull your chin in, speak deeply, all the lessons on how to look like a statesman have all been wasted."

He then said of National MP Gerry Brownlee, "he wouldn't know a hard day's work physically if he saw it and it shows - look at his soft hands".