NZ politicians' best and worst insults

Kelvin Davis isn't the first Kiwi politician to take a crack at the opposition, and won't be the last.

At the weekend, the newly crowned Labour deputy leader, on live TV, lashed out at no fewer than seven high-ranking MPs before he was brought to heel.

Some of his cracks were clever - "Paula Bennett [has] mastered the Lynn of Tawa effect" - some of it cruel - "Jonathan Coleman, the doctor of death".

And his attack on Gerry Brownlee was quite simply surreal - "We've got Gerry Brownlee, who's got the energy of a small hill."

But if the Te Tai Tokerau MP wants to make a career of slinging mud, he's come to the right place.

Here's some of the greatest insults Parliament has heard, and some of the worst.


Winston Peters on Gerry Brownlee, 2005

"It is like asking a kindergarten teacher to explain algebra - he just gets that mystified look about him and starts to yell and scream nonsense in frustration."

Tau Henare on Hone Harawira, 2011

"So racist he has chocolate milk in his cup of tea."

John Key on David Cunliffe, 2014

"David Cunliffe remains as popular in the Labour caucus as a pussy cat at Gareth Morgan's house."

Nandor Tanczos on the rest of Parliament, 2000s

"Drunk in charge of a country."

Jacinda Ardern and Paula Bennett.
Jacinda Ardern and Paula Bennett. Photo credit: Getty

Paula Bennett to Jacinda Ardern, 2012

"Zip it, sweetie."

Jacinda Ardern on Todd Barclay, 2017

"By the time Auckland gets rail to the airport... [Bill English] will be 86, I'll be 66 and Todd Barclay will be into his teens."

Rob Muldoon on Bill Rowling, 1970s

"A shiver looking for a spine to run down."

Mike Moore on Rob Muldoon, 1974

"He could go down the Mount Eden sewer and come up cleaner than he went in."

Mike Moore and David Lange, 1990s.
Mike Moore and David Lange, 1990s. Photo credit: Getty

John Key on Tuhoe, 2010

"The good news was that I was having dinner with Ngati Porou as opposed to their neighbouring iwi, which is Tuhoe, in which case I would have been the dinner."

Winston Peters to Gerry Brownlee, 2012

"That sort of insult should require an apology, particularly from some illiterate woodwork teacher."

John Key on the Opposition, 2013

"I know who I'll be voting for, and it won't be the devil beast."

David Lange to Jerry Falwell, 1985

"I'm going to give it to you if you hold your breath just for a moment... I can smell the uranium on it as you lean towards me."

Labour's Frank Langstone on National's Ronald Algie, 1949

"His brains could revolve inside a peanut shell for 1000 years without touching the sides."

David Lange on Jim Bolger, 1987

"An itinerant masseur, massaging the politically erogenous zones."

David Lange on Winston Peters, 1980s

"The only member of Parliament named after a concrete block, and I can understand that."

David Lange on Robert Muldoon, 1970s

"I wouldn't call the Prime Minister gutless. That's all that's left of him."

David Lange on National leader Jim McLay, 1980s

"The statement which has been made by the leader of the Opposition was that the intelligence has stopped. I don't know whether that was a personal confession or whether it was a statement of position."

Peter Dunne.
Peter Dunne. Photo credit: The Nation

David Lange on Peter Dunne, 1980s

"A man whose life is so boring that if it flashed past he wouldn't be in it."

Robert Muldoon on expats to Australia, 1970s

"New Zealanders who leave for Australia raise the IQ of both countries."

Winston Peters on Gareth Morgan, 2017

"A toothless sheep... a thinned-out version of Kim Dotcom."

Gareth Morgan on Paul Henry, 2016

"A tax loophole cowboy."

Gareth Morgan on himself, 2016

"I've spent 40 years on economics, right; two f***ing weeks on cats. What am I known as? I'm the cat guy."

Winston Peters on John Key

"John Key's politics could be described as Keydashian. Keydashian politics: all photo opportunities, a fair bit of something else, and a shallow blokiness."

Gerry Brownlee on Helen Clark, 2004

"Helen Clark is like a soldier who has lost the map to her own minefield."



John Tamihere on Paula Bennett, 2012

"That bloody fat girl.''

Michael Cullen on John Key, 2000s

"Rich prick", "scumbag"

Trevor Mallard.
Trevor Mallard. Photo credit: Photosport

Trevor Mallard to Chris Finlayson, 2009

"Tinkerbell, can you settle down?"

Gareth Morgan on his Twitter critics, 2017

"Idiots... doormats... Dumbkopf... social media whore... nutty".

Gareth Morgan on freedom campers

"Bottom feeders and bleeders."

Gareth Morgan on old ladies with cats, 2016

"They're nutso."

Winston Peters on Marama Fox, Gerry Brownlee and Chris Finlayson, 2016

"Unsightly trio of drama queens."



Here's a collection of insults deemed unparliamentary at the time they were uttered in the House, from Parliament's Hansard archive.

1933: "financial Frankenstein", "shrewd old bird"

1936: "fungus farmer"

1943: "retardate worm"

1946: "Quasi-parsonical" and "Clown of the House", "I would cut the honourable gentleman's throat if I had the chance"

1949: "Hypnotised rabbits"

1959: "Not fit to lick the shoes of the Prime Minister"

1963: "Sits on his behind", "energy of a tired snail returning home from a funeral"

1966: "great ape", "ridiculous mouse"

1976: "frustrated warlord"

1977: "John boy"