Parliament's day of protests: From moving hikoi calling for life-saving drugs to Māori Party decrying racism

It was a day filled with protest at Parliament, beginning with a moving hikoi calling for more money for life saving drugs, and ending with the Māori Party being thrown out of the debating chamber.

Braving the pouring rain and lying down on the hard concrete, the Lie Down for Life protest made its way to Parliament on Wednesday to tell the Government they are worth it, and to demand a significant budget increase for drug-buying agency Pharmac. 

"What price would you put on four to five to six more years of somebody's life?" one protester said to Newshub. 

Another woman said: "You shouldn't have to be on a Givealittle page; you shouldn't have to mortgage your house."

The protesters handed over a petition with 100,000 signatures calling on the Government to double Pharmac's funding. Images shown at the protests depicted people who've died before getting access to the medicine they need. 

Each of their names was read out as Health Minister Andrew Little listened on. 

He listened to people still fighting, like Bella Powell, a 17-year-old who's had to pay for her own Cystic fibrosis drugs.

"I shouldn't have to stand on these steps and argue just for the right to live."

Fiona Tolich has fought tooth and nail for a drug called Spinraza to treat spinal muscular atrophy. Her son Ryker, just 10 years old, told the Minister of Health he shouldn't have to watch his mum cry.

"During lockdown she couldn't hide it from me and my little sister - she is the strongest person I know, but my country is breaking her," he said. 

Pharmac currently gets a billion dollars a year. The drugs on its waitlist that have already been approved and just need funding would cost another $400 million. 

But there were no promises from the Health Minister for next week's Budget. 

"It is the job of all of us to make sure we have a health system - all parts of a health system - that serves the needs of all New Zealanders," Little told the crowd. 

After pouring their hearts out in the pouring rain, disappointed is an understatement. 

"It's too late for them. The people that need this stuff now need it now! Sort it out!" a protester said directly to the politicians gathered. 

"That was probably the most lackluster speech I've ever heard," said Bella Powell.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the need for new drugs is infinite. 

"It is fair to say that the need and calls for new drugs is an endless one," she said. "There are significant new drugs constantly coming on stream."

Little couldn't give the protesters any commitments. 

"I can't get ahead of the Budget announcement," he told Newshub. 

It wasn't the only protest at Parliament on Wednesday. The Māori Party has had enough of National leader Judith Collins' questions about Māori partnership.

Maori Party co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer asked the Prime Minister in Parliament to share her view on whether the Opposition's "continued attack on Māori is racist". 

House Speaker Trevor Mallard said Ardern didn't need to answer because it's beyond the realm of her responsibility. 

Māori Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi said over the past two weeks there had been "racist propaganda and rhetoric towards tangata whenua". 

Waititi was thrown out of the House for performing haka on the floor of the debating chamber.

"The Opposition leader has been constantly bashing Māori," Waititi told reporters. 

Collins sees it differently. 

"That's a very lazy categorisation and I will not stop asking questions," she said. 

Those questions are stoking an uncomfortable conversation.