'Plonker', 'dysfunctional geriatric', 'rat': It's silly season in Parliament

Insults and allegations were hurled in Parliament all over the show as MPs bashed out a new law banning foreign donations above $50.

The chaos began during a parliamentary session held under urgency on Wednesday morning to get the foreign donations ban passed. 

It started with Deputy Prime Minister and New Zealand First leader Winston Peters telling a National MP: "You can look as cross-eyed as you like."

National MPs dished it right back, with MP Tim Macindoe describing the Deputy Prime Minister's comments as "typical, obfuscatory, arrogant [and] bombastic".

Macindoe went on to call Peters a "rat", only to be described as a "dysfunctional geriatric" in return by Peters.

New Zealand First MP and Cabinet minister Shane Jones joined the row, suggesting the smell of rat may be coming from Macindoe. 

"His nose was too close to his rear orifice."

National MP Gerry Brownlee got up to have a crack too, with Peters heckling all the way through.

Peters accused Brownlee of not having the "intellectual capacity to understand what his parameters are".

What wasn't picked up on the parliamentary microphones was Peters calling out "plonker".

Parliament has rules - a list of unparliamentary language:

-          "Shrewd old bird" - that does not fly

-          "Hypnotized rabbits" - that's banned

-          "Snotty nosed little boy" - that's unparliamentary

-          "Silly old moo" - also not okay

New Zealand First MP and Defence Minister Ron Mark was caught on tape in 2015 saying "shut the f**k up".

Peters got a telling off from Deputy Speaker Anne Tolley for his language in the House on Wednesday.

"You're a senior member of this House, sir," she told Peters. "I'd ask you to stop."

The term "plonker" wasn't ruled unparliamentary, and therefore it didn't bring the House of Representatives into disrepute, and neither was "dysfunctional geriatric".

Tolley told Newshub the remark was "in response to being called a 'rat', so it was tit for tat".

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern wouldn't comment on whether "plonker" is suitable parliamentary language.

Jones said there are a "host of other colourful terms other than 'plonker'".

Most of the controversy in the House centred on allegations New Zealand First has been hiding donations through the New Zealand First Foundation.

In another twist, the former president and treasurer of the party wrote a joint letter to the Justice Select Committee saying they want to shed some light on the inappropriate internal workings of the party that seemingly aren't monitored or controlled by electoral law.

The pair wants to submit behind closed doors because they say they face substantial legal and personal threats "should we make public statements on these issues".

When National MP Nick Smith mentioned the letter in Parliament, Peters could be heard saying "oh, this is rubbish".

There are just seven more sitting days of Parliament before the House rises for Christmas, and given some of the behaviour on display, the break cannot come soon enough.