Sense and satire prevail:
Speaker Trevor Mallard has turned the making of molehills into mountains into something of an art form lately.
There was the great necktie debacle, in which he decided Māori Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi's hei-tiki did not qualify as a substitute tie, and then overruled his ruling that MPs had to wear ties altogether.
This week the privileges committee had to meet to decide whether a video poking fun at Labour MP Anna Lorck - during discussion of the Food (Continuation of Dietary Supplements Regulations) Amendment Bill - was allowed.
A National Party video depicting Lorck as an infomercial saleswoman extolling the virtues of Berocca in the morning and magnesium at night was something of a test case.
Newish rules ban editing Parliament TV footage in a misleading fashion, and were to replace a ban on the use of it for satire.
However, MPs are notoriously sensitive about being made fools of and, pushed to their extreme, the new rules could have had the same effect as the old ban on satire.
Sense prevailed: The MPs on that committee decided the video was clearly satire and was allowed, provided a minor amendment was made to make it clear Lorck was talking about her grandfather taking deer velvet and pollen, not herself.
The committee had a suggestion for the Speaker too: next time, suggest a change to the video rather than leaping straight to take-down orders and referring it to the committee.
The committee includes Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins, who possibly had more pressing issues to focus on.
The minister in charge of the food bill, Ayesha Verrall, kept perspective, tweeting a photo of her preparations: a glass of Berocca.
Preparing for the committee stage and 3rd reading of the Food (Continuation of Dietary Supplements Regulations) Amendment Bill pic.twitter.com/3cnbQsF1wx— Ayesha Verrall (@drayeshaverrall) February 17, 2021
New minister Jan Tinetti told Parliament about the Government's Keep It Real Online programme, including a mini-series for students called The Eggplant.
"I'm proud this Government doesn't shy away from difficult topics and is doing what works for young people, even if some people of the Boomer generation don't yet know what an eggplant means."
The Speaker – who had no idea what the eggplant was all about until he was told afterwards - assured people he was older than a Boomer, "so the member probably hasn't insulted me!"
Sorry, Trevor, your birth year of 1954 does qualify you as a Boomer.
For those who do not know, the eggplant emoji is used by some to represent a part of the male anatomy, and can be paired with other fruit and vegetable emoji to signify activities that may or may not beun-parliamentary.
Beehive Diaries notes that in medieval and Renaissance times, the eggplant was considered to have aphrodisiac properties. The Millennials did not invent everything.
Speaking of aubergines, on Thursday Statistics NZ released the births and deaths statistics for 2020 showing the birth rate was at a record low.
When NZ went into lockdown last March, there was much speculation about a pandemic baby boom.
Statistics NZ commented: "Most babies registered in 2020 were conceived before New Zealand moved to Covid-19 alert level 4 on 25 March 2020. Data to be released in May 2021 will include births that were conceived during the lockdown restrictions."