Climate protest and barbs on NZ parliament's final day


Greenpeace protesters have interrupted the last question time of the 53rd New Zealand parliament, unfurling "too many cows" banners in the house.

Chaos reigned in parliament on Thursday, the last sitting day before the October 14 election.

Three protesters blew whistles and lowered banners from the public gallery that read "Climate Election Now" and "Too Many Cows".

Farming contributes to much of NZ's greenhouse gas profile, with environmentalists engaged in a long-term campaign to shrink herd sizes to reduce the country's emissions.

The protesters were ordered out of the gallery by Speaker Adrian Rurawhe and were escorted from the building by security.

The final days of parliament carried the same feeling as the last day of school, with politicians eager to swap their Wellington desks for the campaign trail.

Debate centred on the National party's new tax plan, which features $NZ14.6 billion ($A13.4 billion) of tax cuts Labour argues the country cannot afford.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson took a number of shots at his opposite number, National finance spokeswoman Nicola Willis, during the week.

Mr Robertson labelled her "Trick-ola Willis", in a laboured reference to trickle-down economics, said she was guilty of fantasy land and voodoo economics, and faux-congratulated her "on her graduation to professor of hindsight economics".

"The Johnsonville amateur dramatic society are really missing out on the member's work today," he said at another point.

"Is that really the lasting impression he wants to leave," Ms Willis asked Mr Robertson, suggesting oblivion for Labour at the election.

Mr Robertson laughed that off, promising to be back to face an eighth finance spokesperson after the poll, highlighting the position's churn during National's six years in opposition.

Ms Willis has proved to be the opposition's most credible finance spokesperson and has become a target of Labour's attacks.

During a speech by Opposition Leader Chris Luxon, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said it was a surprise "Nicola Willis' lips didn't move as he was asking it".

Ms Willis shrugged off the increasingly shrill attacks.

"It reminds me of some things I got called at primary school," she told Newshub.

"It's not quite as bad as 'Nickers Willie' but look, if that's the best he's got, then bring it on."

Mr Rurawhe swiftly dealt with the protest, closing down the hour of questions and answers soon after.

"Hallelujah, that concludes oral questions for the 53rd parliament," he said to laughter and applause.

There was more silliness to come.

Energy Minister Megan Woods and Mr Robertson shared a giggling fit, unable to suppress their laughter when Dr Woods' phone rang and she struggled to turn it off.

Then came the final debate of the parliament - adjournment speeches which allowed party leaders to reflect on the previous three years.

Mr Hipkins, who took the prime ministership from Dame Jacinda Ardern in January, acknowledged the difficulty of governing during a pandemic.

"It has been an incredible eventual three-year term ... as this government was sworn in after the 2020 election, our border was still closed," he said. 

"Ours is a government that has been forged through fire.

"Every challenge that has been thrown our way, we have risen to that."

Mr Luxon - who has led an aggressive and relentless opposition since claiming the leadership in late 2020 - offered a few good-natured jokes in his contribution but did not let-up in his approach.

"That final speech from Chris Hipkins ... it shouldn't have been an adjournment speech, it should have been an apology speech," he said.

Both Labour and National will hold their election campaign launches in Auckland at the weekend.