Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick has slammed the "toxic" culture in New Zealand politics and revealed the barrage of abuse she receives on social media.
"Politics is f*****. Parliament is a toxic culture that chews people up and spits them out. You become inhuman and disconnected from the people you purport to represent," Swarbrick said in a new Loading Docs documentary about the MP.
The Green MP has led the charge on drug law reform, specifically the cannabis referendum, and the need for more mental health services. She has also spoken candidly about her own experiences with mental health.
As a result, Swarbrick said she has become a target for personal attacks on social media.
But it's not just social media with the 26-year-old saying her age is often used in Parliament as a way to discredit her. And when she responded to heckling from a National MP with "OK Boomer", Swarbrick said she was accused of being insensitive.
While Swarbrick said the comment was meant ironically, she still received barrages of abuse.
"I am totally robust to criticism around policy, but not constant personal attacks."
"You cannot grow so thick a skin you cannot hear anymore. It is exhausting teetering around that edge," she said in the documentary.
Swarbrick isn't alone in her complaints with two other former MPs recently speaking out about their treatment while in politics.
Former broadcasting minister Clare Curran, who resigned after failing to disclose multiple meetings and being dumped from Cabinet, said Parliament was a toxic place.
"Mine has not been an easy ride. Over 12 years I have been promoted and demoted more times than I can count," she said during her final speech in Parliament.
Curran also hit out at the media, saying they held an important democratic role but were not "judge and jury".
"Politicians should be held accountable but we are not prey."
Former National Party MP Sarah Dowie also criticised the media during her final speech in Parliament.
Dowie highlighted her treatment, following a police investigation last year into text messages she sent to Jami-Lee Ross, as an example of how women MPs are unfairly attacked.
"One woman said to me recently, Sarah you were absolutely trashed in the media in 2019 and yet these other MPs experience a couple of media cycles of scrutiny and hide behind mental health issues for their bad behaviour," she said.
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