Politician, 25, Responds to Heckler in Parliament by Dropping Meme of the Moment—'OK Boomer'

A 25-year-old politician who was giving a speech in New Zealand's Parliament shut down an older heckler by responding: "OK Boomer."

Chlöe Swarbrick, a Green Party MP, had been giving a speech in support of a bill to combat climate change on Tuesday when she was heckled by an older MP from another party.

"How many world leaders, for how many decades have seen and known what is coming but have decided that it is more politically expedient to keep it behind closed doors," she said. "My generation and the generations after me do not have that luxury. In the year 2050, I will be 56 years old. Yet right now, the average age of this 52nd Parliament is 49 years old."

At that point, Swarbrick paused for just a moment to retort "OK Boomer" to another MP who heckled her before swiftly carrying on with her speech.

Swarbrick later said in a post on Facebook that her use of "OK Boomer" was a joke in response to the unidentified heckler commenting on her age.

"Today I have learnt that responding succinctly and in perfect jest to somebody heckling you about *your age* as you speak about the impact of climate change on *your generation* with the literal title of their generation makes some people very mad," she wrote.

The "OK Boomer" meme went viral among millennials and Generation Z in recent months after videos making fun of condescending members of the Baby Boomer generation flooded the TikTok social media app.

The New York Times described the phrase as a retort to "the problem of older people who just don't get it" and a "rallying cry for millions of fed-up kids."

Swarbrick later elaborated in an op-ed for The Guardian that while her use of the phrase was "off-the-cuff," it was also symbolic of the "collective exhaustion of multiple generations."

"My "OK boomer" comment in parliament was off-the-cuff, albeit symbolic of the collective exhaustion of multiple generations set to inherit ever-amplifying problems in an ever-diminishing window of time," Swarbrick wrote in the piece.

"It was a response—as is par-for-course—to a barrage of heckling in a Parliamentary Chamber that at present turns far too many regular folks off from engaging in politics."

However, Swarbrick's speech was successful as New Zealand lawmakers passed the Zero Carbon Bill she was backing on Thursday.

The bill aims to make New Zealand reduce its greenhouse gas emissions until the country is mostly carbon-neutral by 2050, The Associated Press reported. It also aims to fulfill the country's obligations under the Paris climate agreement to keep rising global temperatures in check.

This week, the U.S. began the formal process of pulling out of the landmark accord. President Donald Trump announced his decision to withdraw in 2017.

Chloe Swarbrick
Green Party MP Chloe Swarbrick during the 2017 Green Party Conference on July 16, 2017 in Auckland, New Zealand. Phil Walter/Getty
Politician, 25, Responds to Heckler in Parliament by Dropping Meme of the Moment—'OK Boomer' | World