Pixie dust jabs and jokes about eyebrows saw a lively last debate in Parliament ahead of the election, as party leaders boasted and bantered during the adjournment debates.
By Alan Kenyon and Anna Whyte
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the Parliamentary term "extraordinary in so many ways".
"During this campaign there will be lots of sprinkling of dust and glitter and whatever else we may choose to call it. There will be lots of shovelling of other figurative things," she told the House.
"None of that, for me personally, will ever diminish what this Government, these three parties and these leaders have achieved."
She thanked Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Green Party co-leaders Marama Davidson and James Shaw.
"I'm immensely proud of what we have collectively done for Aotearoa New Zealand.
"Two years and 10 months is a very short period of time and yet a remarkable amount can happen.
"We believed in regional economic development, we believed in addressing the housing crisis, we believed in swimmable rivers, we believed in tackling child poverty, decades worth of issues that compound inequality, and we believed we could be world leaders on the issue of climate change."
She acknowledged the people of Christchurch and New Zealand's Muslim community and the community of Whakatāne.
"Those tragedies, March 15 and Whakaari/White Island first and foremost were tragedies that happened in those places, to those communities and we will never forget that.
Up next, Opposition leader Judith Collins began with a broadside against the Prime Minister, saying she will soon be even more famous than usual as a "one-term Labour leader".
The National Party leader then took aim at the adjournment speech given by Ms Ardern.
"What did I just hear from the Prime Minister? A whole lot of pixie dust and talking about how everything is just going to be fine. That’s what I heard, an awful lot of dust."
Ms Collins said the Prime Minister avoided the hard issues in her speech.
"Let’s look at the numbers that Jacinda Ardern didn’t wish to say, the 212,000 New Zealanders who are now receiving the unemployment benefit.
"Surely they need a bit better than being told, 'It’s all fine, we are in charge.'"
Ms Collins said closing the borders and shutting down the economy was the easy part in the battle against Covid-19.
"The hard thing is to get that economy back going again," she said.
Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters next rose to speak.
"That was eyebrow raising stuff," he said, in reference to Ms Collins' last week saying her eyebrow raises indicated she was telling a joke.
Mr Peters said the Government agreed on "most things" and managed to pass 190 bills during their time in power so far, and then took a jab at National’s recent leadership woes.
"I recently took a trip to the Bay of Plenty. Guess what I saw?
"I saw posters up there of three National Party leaders - Mr Bridges, Mr Muller and Judith Collins. Three all up in the same area. No wonder people down there are confused."
In between taking shots at members of the Opposition, Mr Peters said NZ First had helped superannuants in ways such as making changes to the SuperGold Card.
Green Party's James Shaw went down the more philosophical path in his speech.
"National want to grow the pie, Labour want to share the pie, ACT want you to get your own Goddamn pie, New Zealand First want a billion pies," he joked.
"The Greens say that the growth of the pie is constrained by the size of the oven, and whilst you're making pie, perhaps you should keep your oven clean otherwise your tamariki will get really sick.
"I know that's not exactly bumper sticker material, but we reckon there's at least five per cent in it," Mr Shaw said in reference to the Green Party's borderline poll results that have the party sitting right on the Parliament threshold.
"I do think that the most likely outcome of this election is that the Greens will be back in Parliament and in Government after the election," Mr Shaw said. "But if we aren't, every one of us... can be tremendously proud of the contribution that we have made as a partner in this, our first Government."
ACT's David Seymour called the last three years a period of "poor quality delivery and poor quality lawmaking".
"It's been one disaster after another. I think it's fair to say that we have a disaster Government led by a disaster Prime Minister, because, if it wasn't for the disasters, what we would have is a long series of let downs where everything the parties over there promised in 2017 has been a failure.
"I happen to like our Prime Minister as a person, and I admire what she's done holding people together at critical times of disaster. That's not the problem. The problem is that the world is changing, and a different style of leadership is required," he said.
Speaker Trevor Mallard said there were some people in the House and staff who had acted "disgracefully", including "one member that had caused me more problems than just about any other member".
"The vast majority of people are really good people... As a result of that, this is a place where people do want to be."