'Big gay rainbow' wins votes

Last updated 05:00 20/12/2013

MP Maurice Williamson uses the power of laughter to show his support for the gay marriage bill.

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A comment about an "enormous big gay rainbow" that was seen on the day Parliament voted on the marriage equality bill has been voted the quote of the year. 

National MP Maurice Williamson’s speech in support of gay marriage has won the Massey University Quote of the Year competition with an impressive 38 per cent of the vote - the second year in a row the competition has been won by a Member of Parliament. 

The speech was so well endorsed by the public that seven quotes from it were submitted to the competition. 

Williamson, speaking in support of the Marriage Amendment Bill which allowed gay couples the right to legally marry, said he had received a message that the bill was the cause of the drought. 

"Well, in the Pakuranga electorate this morning it was pouring with rain. 

"We had the most enormous big gay rainbow across my electorate," Williamson said.

Massey University speech-writing specialist Heather Kavan said the global impact of the speech meant the win was not a surprise. 

"It has almost one and a half million views on YouTube ,and famous people including Stephen Fry and Ellen DeGeneres liked it, but what makes the quote so appealing is its irreverence.

"Several people commented on international social media that, in the countries they came from, no politician would have the courage to make fun of a priest in a televised parliamentary speech."

Williamson was invited to appear on American chat-show Ellen after the speech shot him to international fame, but declined due to timing constraints. 

The competition runner-up was a quote of unknown origin that circulated on social media relating to what information government agencies collected about New Zealanders. 

"The GCSB, the only government department that will actually listen to you" - became the first non-attributed quote to make the competition’s shortlist. 

The nomination of several anonymous social media quotes reflected the growing use of social media, Kavan said. 

This year’s voting reflected the importance of issues, but also that Kiwis enjoy a bit of a laugh, she said.

"While the top three quotes are political, I think a lot of people also voted for the quote they thought was the funniest, rather than for political reasons. 

"The issues are important – especially to those deeply affected – but so is the wit."

Kavan and her judging panel narrowed down several dozen entries nominated by Massey students and the general public to just 10 at the beginning of December. 

The shortlist was then put to a public vote.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett’s three-word put-down "Zip it, sweetie" to Labour MP Jacinda Ardern was last year’s Quote of the Year, and the inaugural winner was "I've been internalising a really complicated situation in my head" from the New Zealand Transport Authority’s ‘Legend’ campaign.


1. 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. 

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

=3. 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.

=3. I'm not a spreadsheet with hair – Auckland singer/songwriter Lorde.

5. 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.

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

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

=8. In New Zealand nobody takes you seriously unless you can make them yawn – author James McNeish at the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival.

=8. That little ball of fluff you own is a natural born killer – Gareth Morgan's Cats to Go campaign website.

10. 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.

- Stuff

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