Gareth Morgan says Obama inspired 'lipstick on a pig' line

Cheering, packed out halls and queues for selfies are all symptoms of the Ardern Effect, and Opportunities Party leader Gareth Morgan doesn't like it.

On Sunday he tweeted "Jacinda should be required to show she's more than lipstick on a pig," and on Monday was forced to explain.

"I'm calling the Labour Party you know with its vacuous policies a pig - and I'd actually call the Nats the same," Mr Morgan said.

Despite the heavy criticism, he's doubling down.

"I'm not apologising because I'm talking about the Labour Party here and the Labour Government, I'm not talking about Jacinda."

Jacinda Ardern doesn't really care. "I haven't sat and analysed it, I'm not particularly bothered by it," she said.

Mr Morgan pointed out he's not the first to use the analogy. "I like that one cos it's exactly what Obama said."

President Obama caused a storm after using the same phrase about his Republican opponent John McCain, and McCain's running mate Sarah Palin.

"I could have said something more Gareth Morgan like it's like polishing a turd," Mr Morgan said.

Bill English said it was "deliberately appalling".

"Look if you've got an attitude like that I don't think anyone in public life would want to work with him that's outside the acceptable boundaries of political criticism and language," he said.

Women's Minister Paula Bennett said Mr Morgan is simply attention seeking.

"He knows exactly what he's doing. He's gasping for relevance, and so he's gone for a cheap shot that he knew would get the kind of reaction that he's getting."

Mr Morgan - who doesn't want to engage in personality politics - took aim at another politician today.

He called Winston Peters "Winston Muldoon" and a "complete sellout" and said "He's after basically what I call the Brash Trash votes."

He added that yesterday he called him a turncoat.

Mr Morgan admits his move was calculated. "Well you have to get cut-through to be able to have the discussion we're having now," he said.

When asked why he didn't invite reporters to a press conference about policy he said "because you wouldn't turn up".

Mr Morgan wants policy to be the priority but the focus on him today was about anything but, and he's made it clear if he doesn't like the way the campaign's going he'll take it to twitter.

Newshub.

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