'Gay rainbow' speech wins Quote of the Year

A Kiwi politician's speech that had a global impact and almost one and a half million views on YouTube has been voted as this year's quote of the year.

MP Maurice Williamson's now-famous 'gay rainbow' speech beat out the competition with an impressive 38% of the vote in the Massey University Quote of the Year competition.

Dr Heather Kavan, a speech-writing specialist at Massey University's School of Communication, Journalism and Marketing, said the quote's win was expected.

She said 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," Dr Kavan said.

Mr Williamson's colourful support for the bill clearly struck a chord with New Zealanders as seven different lines from the speech were nominated.

"In the end we chose the gay rainbow quote because the speech became known as the gay rainbow speech," she said.

GCSB quote placed runner-up

The competition runner-up, with 16% of the vote, also related to one of the key political issues of 2013 - just what information are government agencies collecting about us?

The quote, "The GCSB, the only government department that will actually listen to you" is also the first time a non-attributed quote has made the shortlist.

"Several anonymous quotes from social media were nominated this year, including this one, which reflects the growing use of social media," Dr Kavan says.

"But this quote stood out because it was funny and most people can relate to having a frustrating experience with a government department."

At the beginning of December Dr Kavan and her 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.

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.

Top 10 quotes of 2013, in order of number of votes:

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.

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.

Watch MP Maurice Williamson's witty speech supporting the Marriage Amendment Bill. Source: Parliament TV

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