Massey's quote of the year finalists announced

Last updated 11:13 09/12/2013
Aaron Gilmore
LAST ACT: Following his valedictory speech, Aaron Gilmore walked out the door from the House for the last time as an MP.
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Big gay rainbows, quips about spying, and Aaron Gilmore's admission that he's a dickhead feature among the finalists for New Zealand's quote of the year.

But it's not all politicians among the 10 finalists named by Massey University with singing sensation Lorde and award-winning author Eleanor Catton also making the list.

To vote for your favourite quote finalist, click here

The winning one-liner will be decided by public vote with Massey speech writing specialist Dr Heather Kavan calling it a good year for quotes.

"Lorde's 'I'm not a spreadsheet with hair' is powerful because it helps dispel the myth that it's okay to judge people by their monetary value, rather than by their unique abilities," Dr Kavan said. "I think this is a myth many people would love to see dispelled."

Politicians featured prominently again, with seven different lines from Maurice William's now-famous speech nominated.

"They were all great quotes and it was difficult to choose between them," Dr Kavan said. "In the end we chose the gay rainbow quote because the speech became known as the gay rainbow speech."

Dr Kavan said quotes from politicians tend to dominate the list because they get a lot of publicity.

"With some of the quotes, especially the ones in which Kim Dotcom and Winston Peters question the Prime Minister, there is also an element of pleasure at seeing someone in a superior position questioned," she said.

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

Memorability and humour were top among the judging criteria.

 "We were also keen to get quotes that were relatively spontaneous, such as Winston Peters' 'What didn't he know and when didn't he know it?'," she said.

"Another criterion was context. We chose 'He's an extraordinarily lucky cat' because Moomoo's story made international headlines and even the word 'extraordinarily' seemed like an understatement."

Voting closes at 5pm on Thursday December 19, with the winner announced on December 20.

The finalists for quote of the year are:

"If there was a dickhead that night, it was me" - Former MP Aaron Gilmore reflecting on how he got intoxicated and called a waiter a 'Dickhead' at the Heritage Hotel in Hamner Springs.

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"Why are you going red, Prime Minister?" - Kim Dotcom at the Parliamentary enquiry into the GCSB spying on New Zealand residents. 
"I'm not, why are you sweating?" - Key's reply to Kim Dotcom.

"The GCSB, the only government department that will actually listen to you" - Unknown origin but repeated on social media.

"Male writers tend to get asked what they think and women what they feel" -  Man Booker prize winning novelist, New Zealand's Eleanor Catton.

"I'm not a spreadsheet with hair" - Auckland singer/songwriter Lorde.

"What didn't he know and when didn't he know it?" - Winston Peters querying John Key's knowledge of the Parliamentary Service's actions.

"In New Zealand nobody takes you seriously unless you can make them yawn" - author James McNeish at the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival.

"That little ball of fluff you own is a natural born killer" - Gareth Morgan's Cats to Go campaign website.

"He's an extraordinarily lucky cat" - Massey University veterinary surgeon Dr Jonathan Bray after removing a crossbow bolt from the head of Wainuiomata cat Moomoo.

"One of the messages that I had was that this bill was the cause of our drought. Well, in the Pakuranga electorate this morning it was pouring with rain. We had the most enormous big gay rainbow across my electorate" - Cabinet minister Maurice Williamson in his speech to Parliament supporting the gay marriage law.

- Manawatu Standard


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