Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern faced off with Opposition leader Christopher Luxon in Question Time today over rising living costs.
She said her Government was taking steps to reduce financial pain for families and that yesterday's fuel excise cuts and public transport subsidies were part of a much broader plan to address the cost-of-living crisis.
Ardern said Labour's policies were in stark contrast to National, which simply wanted to cut taxes for the wealthy.
The PM said Labour was "working hard to build houses" whereas National worked hard to sell off houses.
"We have worked hard to try and tip the balance in favour of renters and first-time buyers."
Luxon asked why rents were increasing, and the two leaders disagreed over price rises and the possible reasons for those increases.
"They intend to get rid of everything that will make it easier for first-home buyers," Ardern said of National.
Ardern said yesterday's fuel excise cut was a direct response to the Russia-Ukraine war.
Luxon said the Government was splurging but made no progress on its promises, and despite its profligacy, it was even making the housing crisis worse.
Ardern said it was the Government's job to help navigate turbulent economic times, just as it had responded to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick asked about renters and Ardern said the Opposition had no clue about how to make houses more affordable or support first-home buyers.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson said no easy answer existed for cost-of-living problems but the Government was doing what it could.
He said Kiwis buying petrol would have immediate relief thanks to yesterday's excise-duty reductions.
Robertson said the next Budget would focus on reducing emissions and move towards renewable energy goals.
He said these steps would help build a more resilient economy less dependent on the whims of global energy fluctuations.
National's finance spokesman Simon Bridges, who announced his retirement today, asked about living costs and suggested the cost-of-living crisis was much broader than an energy crisis.
Bridges said fresh produce and other food prices were soaring as well.
He said energy, food and housing costs were all ballooning, and tax cuts were needed.
Robertson told Bridges the National Party was only keen on repeating old policies such as slashing taxes for the richest people and giving "$2 a week to those earning $45,000 a year".
"Will I always be his favourite National Party finance spokesman?" Bridges asked.
Robertson said he'd faced off against six National finance spokespeople and after giving it some thought, Bridges was probably in the top half of that group.
"What will he miss most about me?" Bridges asked.
Robertson said he loved Bridges' recently-found ability to not take himself too seriously.
And he jokingly said he was looking forward to Bridges hosting the "Country Calendar baby yak special".
Parliament marks March 15 anniversary
MPs have reflected in the House three years on from the March 15 Christchurch mosque terror attacks that killed 51 people and injured more than 40.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern brought a motion to the House to "acknowledge the continuing impact on the Canterbury Muslim Community and Muslim New Zealanders, reassert the promise we as a House made to protect Muslim New Zealanders and their right to be safe from fear, and thank all those who have worked so hard to rebuild the impacted communities".
"We remember the 51 who were killed. We remember the injured. We remember the families who suffered such all-encompassing loss," Ardern said.
"The communities that embraced them and we remember the moment where we felt like everything changed around us in an instant.
"March 15 is a date in our collective national history where we learned about the very worst and the very best of humanity."
Ardern said there had been many changes since then, including firearms laws, counter-terrorism and the Royal Commission of Inquiry, which provided 44 recommendations.
Many of those were still being worked through, including strengthening hate crime and speech laws, which Ardern and Justice Minister Kris Faafoi earlier today were unable to commit to passing this term.
Ardern said as such there was more work to be done, particularly to combat islamophobia in New Zealand.
"Three years on we turn to our Muslim community for inspiration to remain resolute in our task to protect one another, to better understand one another, to work together towards a safer, kinder nation."
National Party leader Christopher Luxon said the terrorist attacks "stood against everything we stand for".
Green Party justice spokeswoman Golriz Ghahraman said this day three years ago was "when our nation's heart was broken".
She commended the response of love and unity at the time, and said more needed to be done today to protect our most vulnerable communities.
"The people at those incredible vigils, three years ago, are watching. They will hold us to account. Their acts of love, their resolve, is the standard we have to hold ourselves to from now on."
Following those speeches will be Question Time, where National Party leader Christopher Luxon will be first up addressing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Luxon is likely to continue his party's attack lines against the Government around what it says is a cost-of-living crisis.
It comes after Ardern on Monday announced a 25c-a-litre reduction in fuel tax and halving of public transport fares for three months.
She also acknowledged the "crisis" around rising costs for many families, which she largely attributed to global factors including Russia's war on Ukraine.
Question Time also comes after a turbid morning in the political world with National's finance spokesman Simon Bridges announcing his imminent retirement from politics.
The former Crown minister and former leader of the Opposition holds the third question, and is set to go up against Finance Minister Grant Robertson, pressing him on if the cost of living crisis was wider than an energy crisis.