Act Party leader David Seymour has cried foul about being kicked out of Parliament's Debating Chamber after calling Winston Peters "grandpa" – despite having the defence of truth.
Seymour called Peters "grandpa" after Peters referred to him as "sunshine" in an exchange during Question Time over the decision to move from level 2 to level 1 of the Covid-19 response levels.
After Seymour called out to Peters to answer the question, Peters said "I'll answer the question, sunshine, when I get to it, all right."
That prompted Speaker Trevor Mallard to issue a grinning rebuke to Peters for the use of "sunshine" – saying he knew it was "a term of endearment" but it was not appropriate for Parliament.
It is a term Peters often uses against his foes in Parliament.
However, when Seymour responded with "it's alright, grandpa" Peters' colleague Tracey Martin objected, saying it was ageist.
Seymour's defence that it too was a term of endearment fell on deaf ears, and Mallard – who is a grandfather - promptly scrapped Seymour's question as punishment and then kicked him out after Seymour complained.
Subsequent investigations have also found Seymour also had the defence of truth: Winston Peters is indeed a grandfather.
Seymour later issued a statement objecting at having his question cancelled and being kicked out when Peters got away with calling him "sunshine" and Police Minister Stuart Nash called a National MP a "bloody loser" without any penalty.
The issue has a serious side: As Act's sole MP, Seymour gets very few questions to ask in Parliament and said later he had wanted to ask more about Peters' apparent failure to get Cabinet to consider an earlier move to alert level 1 despite speaking publicly about it.
Seymour may end up with the last laugh, however. During the exchange, Peters also described Seymour as "a discordant one-man band where the leader and the supporters are the same person".
Recent polls have had NZ First and Act at similar levels of support – well under the 5 per cent threshold to get into Parliament.
The difference is the discordant one-man band has an electorate seat as some insurance.