West Auckland MP Paula Bennett's "zip it, sweetie" has earned her the top honours in Massey University's 2012 Quote of the Year competition.
The quip to Auckland Labour MP Jacinda Ardern was the clear winner with 57 per cent of the total vote.
Massey University speech-writing specialist Dr Heather Kavan said the quote's win was no surprise.
"There's something almost primal about two women fighting, and the line seemed completely unscripted," she said.
"As far as jibes go, it wasn't outrageously cruel, Jacinda Ardern laughed it off.''
Kavan said it is also a quote that can be repeated in different contexts.
Finance Minister Bill English came a distant second in the competition with his quote estimating the value of selling state assets: "I just want to emphasise that it is not our best guess, it's just a guess."
Kavan said his quote is appealing because of its unintentional humour.
"With some of the quotes, especially the Bill English one, there's also ... the pleasure of seeing someone in a superior position say something that makes them look stupid," she said.
A good quote is usually brief, witty and original, she said.
Kavan and a judging panel narrowed down several dozen entries, nominated by Massey students and the general public, to a top 10. The shortlist was then put to a public vote to find the winner.
The Top 10 quotes of 2012:
- ''Zip it, sweetie.'' (Paula Bennett to Jacinda Ardern in Parliament.)
- ''I just want to emphasise that it is not our best guess, it's just a guess.'' (Bill English on the financial value of selling state assets.)
- ''Oh f...k! I can't afford that.'' (Ewen Gilmour on living for another 40 years.)
- ''I don't remember.'' (John Banks' response on his helicopter ride to Dotcom's mansion.)
- ''You think I came up the river on a cabbage boat.'' (John Banks responding to media questions about Dotcom.)
- ''Who needs to be able to quote Shakespeare if you can play rugby?'' (17-year-old Joshua Iosefo on Campbell Live giving his Mt Roskill Grammar School speech.)
- ''Nonu, Nonu, Nonu, boom!'' (Actor Byron Coll as an overly familiar fan in the Mastercard All Blacks advertisement.)
- ''New Zealand's got some great brains out there and most of them are kids.'' (Luke Nola accepting the New Zealand Television Award for Best Children's/Youth programme.)
- ''Your dish was a car crash, but all of the occupants survived.'' (Josh Emett judging on Masterchef New Zealand.)
- ''I come to Wellington and I'm scared to be here.'' (Bob Parker speaking about the state of Wellington buildings.)
- The Dominion Post
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