Todd Muller squares off against Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for the first time

Jacinda Ardern faces of against Todd Muller for the first time during Question Time in Parliament...
Jacinda Ardern faces of against Todd Muller for the first time during Question Time in Parliament today. Photo / Pool

New National Party leader Todd Muller has gone toe-to-toe with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in the House for the first time.

Although Muller's line of questioning was not particularly fiery, an exchange between NZ First Minister Shane Jones and National's Paul Goldsmith caused a stir during question time this afternoon.

Muller – who rolled Simon Bridges to become National's leader late last week – focused on small business and jobs over the course of his line of questioning.

Unlike Bridges, whose first question was strategically vague in a bid to make it harder for the Prime Minister to prepare, Muller's first question was straight to the point.

"What is the Treasury's most recent estimate of unemployment in the third quarter of this calendar year, and what is the Government's specific plan to arrest the sorts of job losses we've seen over the past two weeks?"

Before answering, Ardern congratulated Muller on becoming the new Opposition leader – but that's where the pleasantries ended.

In response to questions about the plan, Ardern rolled out a familiar phrase – "we've gone hard, and we've gone early" before repeating job statistics unveiled in the Budget.

Muller came at her again – "does she accept that more direct cash support to businesses will help prevent job losses".

National has been promoting a policy of giving Covid-19 impacted businesses direct cash grants.






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