Parliament's back: Māori Party walks out, National pulls no punches and Labour vows fewer broken promises

The parliamentary stage has been set and the tone of the term has been established on Parliament's first official day, the State Opening. 

The Māori Party walked out after being shut down by the Speaker, National pulled no punches and Labour is promising to break fewer promises. 

Drizzly and drenched, the country's most powerful people poured into Parliament on Thursday to hear the Queen - or at least her representative - lay out the Government's to do list. 

"This Government is committed to relentlessly pursuing progress," Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy said the Speech from the Throne, essentially the Government's contract with the people. 

The speech included a litany of promises to first-home buyers. 

The Government is promising to "review housing settings with a view to implementing policies that improve access to the housing market for first home buyers". 

The Government is also promising to "continue the overhaul of the welfare system", and is committing to delivering effective and free COVID-19 vaccines. 

"We're hopeful that 2021 will be the year of the COVID vaccine," Dame Patsy said. 

The 2017 version of the speech wound up being littered with broken promises, from a capital gains tax, to cheaper doctor visits, light rail and KiwiBuild. 

"We intend to stick with our agenda, what we campaigned on and what New Zealanders have brought us here to do," said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. 

She pushed back on the suggestion her Government broke promises, referring to the formation of the previous Government which involved three parties. 

"I don't think that's necessarily fair." 

After the day's promises were made, the former Prime Ministers, dignitaries, and who's who of hobnobblers got together for a waiata and to smash some morning champagne. 

Then it was back to the House, back to reality, and back to the biffo. 

"The Prime Minister has not delivered. It's got worse," said Opposition leader Judith Collins in her response to the Speech from the Throne. 

She criticized the Government on law and order, accusing them of wanting to "give all those criminals a big hug and they'll make them be good boys and girls". 

Collins also attacked the Government's "failure to deliver on housing". 

The Prime Minister shot back: "I will forever find it galling to be lectured by the leader of the Opposition, who left us a housing crisis."

The Māori Party tried to speak in Parliament but they were shut down before they could even argue their case, so the co-leaders Rawiri Waititi and Debbie Ngarewa-Packer walked out. 

"He didn't even allow the chance of having what Rawiri said translated so he was intolerant of us being able to speak in the reo," said Ngarewa-Packer. 

Waititi said: "We have been silenced and we will not be silenced, we will not be subjugated, we will not be assimilated."

House Speaker Trevor Mallard says MPs are only allowed one speech for the State Opening. The Māori Party can use their maiden speeches like everyone else

And there's plenty to say as these are tough times.

"The global picture is bleak. The ongoing impact on the global economy is the most significant risk to our future growth," said Dame Patsy in the Speech to the Throne. 

"Crises do not form an orderly line waiting to be addressed."

An overarching promise made by Ardern delivered by the Governor-General was to make New Zealand better than it was pre-COVID. 

Here's hoping the 2017 Speech from the Throne, with all its brokem promises, isn't the blueprint.