'Okay boomer': Politician, 25, hits back at older heckler in New Zealand parliament

7 November 2019, 10:04 | Updated: 7 November 2019, 13:49

A video of a 25-year-old politician in New Zealand, who used the phrase "Okay boomer" to casually swat away an older heckler in parliament, has gone viral.

Chloe Swarbrick, a member of the Green Party, used the popular meme adopted by millennials - widely considered to be aged between 23 and 38 - during a debate about climate change.

The politician was discussing the Zero Carbon bill - which would set a target of zero carbon emissions for the country by 2050 - and claimed the burden of tackling the climate crisis would fall on her generation.

She said: "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?

"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, an older politician - reported to be Todd Muller, the opposition spokesperson for climate change - interrupted her speech, to which she coolly responded with "Okay boomer" - and carried on.

The term is widely used on social media by young people who post videos mocking older generations which they claim are "out-of-touch" for dismissing the realities of climate change.

A "boomer" is short for baby boomer - the phrase used to describe those born between 1946 and 1964.

Mr Muller used Twitter to respond to Ms Swarbrick's actions, saying: "I'm wondering whether in 2050 when Chloe Swarbrick hits her mid-fifties, will she still be the millennial force for change or will she quietly reflect that those Gen X's knew a thing or two.

"I of course will be very focused on the next cup of tea".

Ms Swarbrick received a mixed response on the social media site, with one user describing her as a "queen" for using the term. Others accused her of being ageist, with one person claiming the term "boomer is the n-word (sic) of ageism".

That suggestion was dismissed by Dictionary.com, which describes itself as the world's leading digital dictionary.

Ms Swarbrick hit back at online criticism, firing back at one user, saying: "I was talking about the generation that comes after us not having the luxury of ignoring this, all the while being met with a barrage of yelling.

"I then spoke about being 56 in 2050, and both Todd and Scott kept yelling. So I responded. Were you in the House?"

She later accepted in a Facebook post that she had upset some people, saying: "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.

"So I guess millennials ruined humour. That, or we just need to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and abstain from avocados."