Boomer comment not really ok - minister

Minister for Seniors Ayesha Verrall. Photo: RNZ
Minister for Seniors Ayesha Verrall. Photo: RNZ
Minister for Seniors Ayesha Verrall does not think it's helpful to describe older people as "boomers".

Green MP Ricardo Menendez-March was yesterday announced as the party's spokesperson for seniors, and quickly criticised on social media for stating he was ready to ask seniors "are you ok, boomer?".

The comment was made in reference to Chloe Swarbrick's infamous exchange with National MP Todd Muller in the House, in which she told him "Ok boomer" after he interrupted her speech on the Zero Carbon Amendment Bill.

In the same post Menendez-March pointed to the amount of welfare support seniors receive.

"Hardship grants for senior citizens have increased over the past few years, with growing inequities for our migrant, Pasifika and Māori senior citizens.

"Everybody deserves to grow old with dignity," his post said.

Menendez-March continued the post, saying: "Hardship grants for senior citizens have increased over the past few years, with growing inequities for our migrant, Pasifika and Māori senior citizens. Everybody deserves to grow old with dignity".

"Boomer" is short for baby boomer, the term used for the generation born between 1946 and 1964. That generation is now aged between 56 and 74.

When asked about Menendez-March's comment, Verrall said MPs were responsible for their own statements.

She wouldn't say if she would use the phrase, but added "the important thing is to be respectful for all the people in our community".

Verrall was asked by reporters if seniors are hard done by.

"When you look at the situation of individuals within any wider group you'll find people who need to be worthy of compassion and that's the way we should make sure we see all the people in our community," she said.

Menendez-March said the word 'boomer' described an age group in the same way millennial does.

"The conversation I am here to have is the reality that again while there is a generational wealth gap ... there's still inequities between people in the baby boomer generation and we need to confront that and work towards having policy that will fix that."

There needed to be a conversation about why people did not like the phrase "boomer", Menendez-March said.

"If people feel uncomfortable about being denoted as part of an age group, I think that's a conversation we need to have about why is it that the term baby boomer has suddenly become a slur for some people and not a term like Millennial or Generation X."

 

 

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