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The election and Dirty Politics dominated Massey University’s 2014 Quote of the Year competition – and a quote from the man at the centre of the storm has been voted this year’s most memorable.
Controversial blogger Cameron Slater garnered 21 per cent of the 4,197 votes cast to take out the competition with: “I play politics like Fijians play rugby. My role is smashing your face into the ground.”
Massey University speech writing specialist Dr Heather Kavan, who runs the annual competition, says it’s not surprising that Mr Slater has remained top of mind after this year’s bruising election campaign.
“We’ve seen in previous years that contentious quotes can be popular,” she says. “But this year the results have been more unpredictable than usual, with quotes emerging from the election in the top four, slugging it out for weeks.
“In the last days before the poll closed, almost 40 per cent of the votes were split between two quotes that referred to Cameron Slater – Pam Corkery’s one and Slater’s own. This isn’t altogether surprising – Slater is a colourful and controversial New Zealander who seems to like bold declarative sentences, and neither he nor Corkery are known for their reticence.”
Dr Kavan says that unlike last year’s winner, MP Maurice William’s famous gay rainbow speech, this year’s list had less inspirational rhetoric. It’s the political insults and gaffes that have stuck in people’s minds.
Internet Party press secretary Pam Corkery’s emotional tirade ("You work in news you puffed up little shit!...When will you glove puppets of Cameron Slater just piss off?") came in second place with nearly 17 per cent of the vote.
“I think the footage made the outburst memorable,” says Dr Kavan. “Corkery later speculated that if she had been a male the quote might not have received so much attention, and I think that’s a good point. A well-dressed female swearing like a trooper takes people by surprise. Also, the glove puppets part was witty, given its spontaneity.”
Similarly, Dr Kavan believes the power of MP Steven Joyce’s quote (“We think it’s, um, pretty legal”), which came third, was magnified by television footage.
“Those two words ‘pretty legal’ might have been forgotten had they been printed in a newspaper. But we saw footage of Joyce smiling as he said the words, prefaced by United States comedian John Oliver describing the utterance as a ‘brilliant legal defence’. This provided a moment of humour during a steady diet of negative news items and dirty politics.”
The first quote not related to the 2014 election came in sixth and was drawn from an anti-drink driving campaign.
“I was pleasantly surprised that ‘No more beersies for you’ made it to the top six, and I imagine the Health Promotion Agency is too,” Dr Kavan says.
The finalists for the 2014 New Zealand Quote of the Year, in order of number of votes:
I play politics like Fijians play rugby. My role is smashing your face into the ground. (Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater after Nicky Hager's book Dirty Politics was released)
You work in news you puffed up little shit!...When will you glove puppets of Cameron Slater just piss off? (Internet Party press secretary Pam Corkery at a campaign event, when the media kept asking for an interview with Kim Dotcom
We think it’s, um, pretty legal. (Steven Joyce asked by reporters about the use of a song for the National election campaign that sounded very similar to one by Eminem)
I'm sorry for being a man. (David Cunliffe’s unusual apology at Labour's domestic violence policy launch at a Women's Refuge forum)
It was all steam and no hangi. (Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis describing Internet-Mana after it failed to deliver on the hype on election day)
No more beersies for you. (Tagline in this year’s Health Promotion Agency advertising campaign to reduce harmful alcohol consumption.)
I did not have textual relations with that blogger. (Spoof of John Key's initial denial that he had received texts from Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater tweeted by Lloyd Burr of RadioLive)
He could probably survive shooting little kittens in his garden with a shotgun. (Kim Dotcom on how little impact Dirty Politics had on Prime Minister John Key’s approval ratings.
It terrifies me how much of our economy is stuck inside a dairy cow. (Comedian Te Radar talking to farmers at Fieldays)
Get past the breath-taking PR snow job. (Former CERA communications adviser Tina Nixon describing the press conference to announce the resignation of chief executive Roger Sutton after a sexual harassment complaint)
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Created: 19/12/2014 | Last updated: 19/12/2014
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