Labour leadership hopeful Shane Jones says he wants to string up Prime Minister John Key with a bungy cord around a "sensitive spot."
The off-colour remarks were delivered at hustings meeting in Hamilton last night.
Around 250 Labour members attended the event, to hear Jones and rivals Grant Robertson and David Cunliffe make their pitch to be the party's next leader.
David Shearer quit last month after failing to lift the party's performance in the polls.
Jones' speech mostly focused on regional development - which he has made a theme of his campaign.
But he veered into an attack on Key - who he called a "mercenary of capitalism" and a "snake-oil salesman".
Jones launched his bid to be leader last week calling Key a "$50m gorilla", referring to the former currency trader's personal wealth.
"I'm going to tie a bungy cord around a sensitive spot and then I'm going to get those callipers and cut them and then the mercenary of capitalism can suffer what he deserves - a dead cat bounce."
A "dead cat bounce" is Wall Street slang for a short-lived recovery in the price of falling stock. It's derived from the notion that even a dead cat will bounce if dropped from a great height.
His comments were reportedly met with nervous laughter from the crowd.
Speaking from the Marshall Islands this morning, Key said Jones' intentions towards him "sounds painful".
"If they want to spend their time taking about parts of my anatomy or my personality they are free to do so. I don't think it will win them a lot of votes," he added.
Jones has already privately apologised to Robertson after making quips about his sexuality.
And in Whangarei earlier this week he said some female MPs don't like him.
"I've always found that I've been very popular with women. I've never been at the top of the hit parade with feminists. But the women I want to appeal to are the women that read the Woman's Weekly, not Germaine Greer."
HOPEFULS MAKE THEIR PITCH
The two-hour hustings – one of 12 party rallies being held around the country to decide on a new Labour leader – was a good-natured affair, with all three candidates giving well-received speeches.
As well as Jones, the two other hopefuls wasted no time in asserting their claims.
Robertson said Labour’s mistake in the 2011 election was it talked too much about what the party was against, rather than what it was for.
He remained confident he was the one to clearly and directly communicate the party’s messages.
"A home, job, family and future are Labour’s values. That is what Labour offers and that is what I will offer."
He said there needed to be jobs in the regions. "I think today of the 180 workers at Huntly who got that news they would be out of job. I think of those scientists at AgResearch.
"It’s happening because there’s a government that has an economy about the deals that they make with Sky City and what they can sell-off."
He said New Zealand needed to create a new economy where people were put first and that would not be achieved through "neo-liberal" or "third-way policies".
Cunliffe, who played up that he was born in Te Aroha and primary-schooled in Te Kuiti, said Waikato was the engine room of agricultural and pastoral industries and an engine room of innovation.
"I’m very upset about the fact that 170 jobs are going to be cut from AgResearch Ruakura. That’s on top of 130 at NZ Post, 95 in the Huntly mine.
"Unemployment is climbing hugely in the Waikato. It was about 3.8 per cent when we left office it’s now 7.3."
He said he would implement a system of partnerships between central government, regional government and key industry groups in each region to try and lift what was possible.
"The Labour government that I lead will drive economic development in all our regions."
He reiterated his commitment to a living wage and said he would implement it within 100 days of taking office.
Cunliffe also announced his commitment to an urgent inquiry into safety standards in the forestry industry. He pledged to get Government off the sideline and "into the game".
- © Fairfax NZ News
Rate the Government's progress around drinking laws:Related story: New drinking law a vital step