It was meant to come across as fighting for the suffering people of Christchurch. But it ended up sounding petty, senseless and bordering on offensive.
Senior Labour MP Maryan Street timed her line of questioning in the House yesterday to coincide with a protest in Christchurch by business owners frustrated with being continuously denied access to their central city premises to salvage what they can.
That is a legitimate source of frustration. They are trying to piece their lives together after the February 22 earthquake, and having their livelihoods back up and running is an important part of that.
But according to Street's questions, their grievance is the result not of safety concerns, but because the Prime Minister has been sauntering around the CBD like some celebrity tourist.
We blogged about this yesterday, but Derek Cheng's piece is worthy of further comment. His beginning is relatively innocuous, but his disdain for Ms Street's antics is more plainly stated later on - read on:
How dare John Key be present in the CBD! He is only the country's leader in the midst of one of the most tragic natural disasters in the country's history. Imagine the outcry if he had not gone.
And it's not like he was free to run in and out of red-stickered buildings, grabbing essential printouts and laptops while he was there.
Several cabinet ministers also made the journey to Christchurch in the immediate aftermath. As they should have. They sit around the cabinet table to consider the best response to the crisis. They needed to see the crippled CBD first-hand.
And what of Street's own colleagues - Phil Goff and Labour's Christchurch-based MPs Brendon Burns and Clayton Cosgrove? They have all spent time in the CBD. Is it their fault, too?
Street could easily have raised the plight of Christchurch CBD business owners without trying to make it John Key's fault. Painting it as she did only served to trivialise their case, as well as her own.
Quite so. Street's questions may not have been intended as a smear against John Key, but that's how they came out. We're sure that she would love to have the chance to rephrase her second and third supplementary questions, but they are now writ in history for eternity, courtesy of Hansard.
Of course Maryan Street isn't the only politician guilty of making crass remarks this week. Trevor Mallard accused John Key of hiding under his desk to avoid questions on the Rugby World Cup, and Melissa Lee made an unfortunate comment on Twitter yesterday about Phil Goff's red tie at the Christchurch earthquake memorial service.
Social media can be an MP's friend, but it can also be a thorn in the MP's side if their comments are injudicious. As the election draws closer, it will be interesting to see who the next victim of foot-in-mouth-via-social-media is!