Social Development Minister Paula Bennett's quip 'zip it, sweetie' has been named as Massey University's quote of the year.
The three-word put-down to Labour MP Jacinda Ardern was the clear winner, said Massey's Dr Heather Kavan, a speech-writing specialist at the School of Communication, Journalism and Marketing.
"There's something almost primal about two women fighting, and the line seemed completely unscripted."
"As far as jibes go, it wasn't outrageously cruel - Jacinda Ardern laughed it off, by tweeting, 'Kids sitting in the gallery could be forgiven for thinking they were watching a Hairspray revival.'"
Dr Kavan said "Zip it, sweetie" was also pleasing to the ear because it has nice rhyming syllables, and it is a quote that can be repeated in different contexts.
Dr Kavan and her judging panel, which also included Massey's Vice-Chancellor and former politician Steve Maharey, narrowed down several dozen entries nominated by Massey students and the public to a top 10.
The shortlist was then put to a public vote to find the winner.
The Top 10 quotes of 2012
1. Zip it, sweetie. (Paula Bennett to Jacinda Ardern in Parliament.)
2. I just want to emphasise that it is not our best guess, it's just a guess. (Bill English estimating the financial value of selling state assets.)
3. Oh f...k! I can't afford that. (Ewen Gilmour after his doctor told him he was going to live for another 40 years.)
4. I don't remember. (John Banks' response when asked about his helicopter ride to Dotcom's mansion.)
5. You think I came up the river on a cabbage boat. (John Banks responding to media questions about Dotcom.)
6. 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.)
7. Nonu, Nonu, Nonu, boom! (Actor Byron Coll as an overly familiar fan greeting Ma'a Nonu in the Mastercard All Blacks advertisement.)
8. 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.)
9. Your dish was a car crash but all of the occupants survived. (Josh Emett judging on Masterchef New Zealand.)
10. I come to Wellington and I'm scared to be here. (Bob Parker speaking to an emergency management conference in Wellington about the state of Wellington buildings.)
- © Fairfax NZ News
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