Wellington, July 22 NZPA - Fresh-faced Labour MP Chris Hipkins' voice broke in Parliament today.
The MP, who is aged in his early 30s, had a bad cold and croaked through his questions while getting a ribbing from the National benches.
When it got too much, Speaker Lockwood Smith intervened.
"All of us at times get a frog in our throats and lose our voices. I invite the member to have a drink of water, and I invite members to give him a reasonable chance to ask his question."
Some wag was quick to retort that all MPs had also gone through puberty.
Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee then heavy-handedly tried to argue that because Mr Hipkins was young and suffering a crackly voice, he was wrong.
When another red-headed youngish MP also born in 1978 -- Darren Hughes -- got to his feet the jibes flew again, but he was ready for them.
"I think you've had your day, Gerry" was his response.