Why use New Zealand MPs

Cartoon of generations

Chloe Swarbrick is a 25-year-old member of New Zealand Parliament.

A 25-year-old New Zealand lawmaker giving a speech supporting a climate crisis bill was heckled by an older member of Parliament.

Since originating on TikTok - the video-driven social media app popular with Generation Z - earlier this year, the phrase "OK boomer" has become shorthand for mocking an older person from the Baby Boomer generation, a.k.a. those born between 1946 and 1964.

In an interview with Stuff, Swarbrick defined her use of the phrase: It's a "easy summarisation of collective exhaustion", she stated.

"It's as if OK boomer says, 'OK, you baby boomer".

Fellow lawmaker Christopher Bishop said that if Swarbrick didn't like being dismissed for her age, she shouldn't do the same to others.

Ms Swarbrick was commenting on the Zero Carbon bill, which aims to reduce net carbon emissions in New Zealand to zero by 2050, when she used the phrase.

In Internet terminology, "OK boomer" is a derogatory term used primarily for future generations to express their indignation against older people who are considered indifferent to themselves. She quickly and nonchalantly responded with "OK Boomer", before carrying on, promptly earning her the respect of people young enough to say "OK Boomer" everywhere, after a video made its way around the web.

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"In the year 2050 I will be 56 years old", Swarbrick said during the speech.

"Mr Speaker, for how many World Leaders, for how many decades, have seen and heard what is coming but have decided that it is more politically expedient to keep it behind closed doors".

She also wrote on Facebook that her remark was "in flawless jest" to a colleague who she said had heckled her about her own age while speaking about the impact of climate change on her generation.

In a post on Facebook, Ms Swarbrick responded to her critics, albeit with more than a hint of sarcasm.

" So I want millennials to ruin humor. That, or we just need to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and abstain from avocados", she said.

The parliament's social media team apologized for the error and said the captions were updated.

The phrase is so new, captioning of Swarbrick's speech didn't even pick up on it, New Zealand Herald reporter Jason Walls noted.

Contributing: Joshua Bote, USA TODAY; Ryan C. Miller, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

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