Some of the finalists for the 2014 New Zealand Quote of the Year Competition.

Vote for 2014 Quote of the Year

To vote for the 2014 Quote of the Year go to:

From David Cunliffe’s apology for being a man, to the punch line from an anti-drink driving advert and an emotional tirade by Internet Party press secretary Pam Corkery, it has been another strong year for the witty one-liner.

The 10 shortlisted finalists in Massey University’s annual Quote of the Year competition will now be put to a public vote.

As you would expect from a year with one of the most explosive election campaigns in living memory, politics dominate this year’s list.

“Most of the nominations were for quotes by politicians,” notes Massey University’s speech writing specialist Dr Heather Kavan, who helped choose the shortlist.

“In previous years we’ve had more entries from diverse sources, such as writers and artists. This year there was a striking number of entries related to Dirty Politics and John Key’s interactions with Cameron Slater.”

From Lloyd Burr’s tweeted spoof of the Prime Minister’s denial that he was in contact with Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater (“I did not have textual relations with that blogger), to Slater’s own response to Dirty Politics (“I play politics like Fijians play rugby. My role is smashing your face into the ground”), Nicky Hager’s book certainly generated some of the year’s most memorable utterances.

Dr Kavan says that unlike last year’s winner, MP Maurice Williamson's famous gay rainbow speech, this year’s list has less inspirational rhetoric – a result, no doubt, of the bruising election campaign.

“There has been a trend this year towards large numbers of insults and gaffes. If there was any soaring rhetoric during the election, no one seems to have remembered it. Instead, phrases like ‘puffed up little shit’ have lingered,” she says.

She also has no idea which quote will ultimately win the competition.

“In every other year there’s been a predictable winner, but this year the competition looks like it will be more intense. 

“Confessions tend to be memorable, so I expect David Cunliffe’s ‘I’m sorry for being a man’ to be high on the list. Quotes that can be said in other contexts are usually popular too, such as ‘We think it’s, um, pretty legal’.”

While unsure how the public will vote, Dr Kavan says the quote she wished she’d said herself was Tina Nixon’s “Get past the breath-taking PR snow job”.

“While the other quotes are interesting and amusing, this one has the ring of authenticity. Regardless of what side we take on the Sutton issue, we all want to see fair play. Each year I ask speech writing students what emotion drives them, and the quest for justice and fair play tops the list every time.”

Dr Kavan started the New Zealand Quote of the Year four years ago because she found her speech-writing students had trouble identifying memorable New Zealand lines.

“The quotes I knew were too old for the students. Edmund Hilary’s “We knocked the bastard off” was said in 1953. Muldoon’s one-liner about Kiwis going to Australia “raising the IQ of both countries” and Lange’s “I can smell the uranium on your breath” quip were both said in the 1980s. 

“I thought there must be some good contemporary New Zealand quotes, but no-one is collecting them.”

Dr Kavan and her judging panel narrowed down several dozen entries nominated throughout the year by Massey students and the general public to a top 10.

Now, it is your chance to vote on what stuck in your mind or tickled your fancy this year.

To vote for the 2014 Quote of the Year go to:

Voting closes at 12pm on Thursday December 18, with the winner announced on December 19.

The shortlisted finalists for the 2014 New Zealand Quote of the Year are:

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)

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 Eminen)

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)

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)

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.

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) 

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) 

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)

No more beersies for you. (Tagline in this year’s Health Promotion Agency advertising campaign to reduce harmful alcohol consumption.)

Related articles

Whale Oil blogger takes out Quote of the Year
'Gay rainbow' speech wins Quote of the Year
'Zip it, sweetie' voted best quote of 2012
'Legend' anti drink-drive line is quote of the year 2011