'May be just the eyebrow': Judith Collins on how her Backbencher puppet could look

The Backbencher pub in Wellington is home to many politicians, but not necessarily the human versions of them.

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Judith Collins, David Seymour and Chlöe Swarbrick are readying themselves to view their puppet versions at the iconic Backbencher pub. Source: Q+A

For decades, New Zealand politicians have been immortalised into latex puppets at the pub right opposite Parliament.

This year, the three new politicians getting a puppet are National’s Judith Collins, the Green’s Chlöe Swarbrick and ACT’s David Seymour.

"It means that you've made it," Judith Collins said.

"Well this is obviously the pinnacle, the climax, the epitome or even the epitome of being a member of Parliament," David Seymour said.

"As far as 21st century politics goes, it’s pretty cool," Chlöe Swarbrick said.

The Backbencher pub owner Alistair Boyce said sometimes it can be difficult to pick which politicians make the final cut.

"The no brainer is the Prime Minister, The Leader of the Opposition, and then it gets difficult," Alistair Boyce said.

"We had to make some hard decisions as to who would be around and for how long and how big a contribution, they're likely to make over the decades to come, and that actually became quite easy so it was Chlöe Swarbrick and David Seymour," he said.

Traditionally, the creators of the puppets tend to focus on a politician’s physical characteristics or policies.

"I really hope that my puppet isn’t being euthanised, or it could be sitting at a charter school, or it could be speaking freely," Seymour said.

"I think that they'll probably focus on a bit of a devilish look, and it may just be the eyebrow," Collins said.

"In the paper for example, one of the two cartoons that I’ve got has me with a giant bong, so yeah," Swarbrick said.

The puppets cost thousands to make, often taking up the entirety of the Backbencher’s marketing budget.

"This is an artwork, it is sculpted and then latex and everything is formed around the sculpture, so it’s a real process," Boyce said.

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While being interviewed about his forthcoming Backbencher puppet, Seymour crooned his favourite tune. Source: Q+A

"I just hope Chlöe’s one is made out of recycled materials," Seymour said.

Swarbrick is also setting a record at the Backbencher pub, becoming the youngest politician to ever be made into a puppet.

"I've been to the Backbencher pub before and I’ve seen those puppets and I remember thinking that they were cool and funny, but this is pretty momentous," she said.

As for Collins, she sees her puppet immortalisation as a message for the National Party.

"It's really good that I’m there, it's not past leaders, it's me there now and for the future."

Despite the concern about over-emphasised facial features, these three politicians couldn’t be happier to part of the Backbencher puppet society.

"I think it’s a cool part of our political culture that you look at democracy around the rest of the world and we can do these nice little things," Seymour said.

"It's actually a real privilege and it does make me laugh because I think we need to have a few laughs in our lives," Collins said.

"Look it’s not quite akin to taking pride of place in an art gallery or a museum but if anywhere I think the Backbenchers is where we fit," Swarbrick said.

Pub owner Boyce said the entire experience is amazing and like Christmas.

"Long may we be allowed to be irreverent and satirise the politicians and for them to respond in kind and may it never be a day where satire and due irreverence is shut down."

The new puppets will be revealed on Tuesday evening at the Backbencher pub.