Grant Robertson defends Kelvin Davis' 'cringeworthy' rhyming speech as 'lighthearted'

Labour's Grant Robertson has stepped up to defend Kelvin Davis after a tirade of criticism was levelled at the deputy leader for his "cringeworthy" and lengthy rhyming victory speech.

Davis spoke following the Party's landslide victory in Saturday night's general election. 

He rhymed for 11 minutes hailing leader "Whaea Jacinda" before she addressed the crowd at the Labour election headquarters.

The speech was blasted on social media as  "cringeworthy", "mean-spirited" and "a complete disaster" - but Robertson says it was simply "lighthearted".

Speaking to The AM Show host Duncan Garner on Monday, Robertson said the speech was aimed at Labour supporters.

"I think he felt he was speaking to Labour people in the room, giving a lighthearted introduction speech," he said.

"There were a lot of different speeches given over the night right across New Zealand."

Garner asked Robertson if he was embarrassed by the speech, labelling it "pathetic".

Robertson replied he was not at all embarrassed.

"It's important to acknowledge that everyones worked hard in an election'll get a range of different speeches throughout the night."

Robertson also levelled some lighthearted criticism back at Garer, referencing a promise The AM Show host made back in July. In an opinion piece about how Labour would never poll high enough to govern alone, Garner promised to go vegan for a year if the Party did.

"I'm so confident Labour won't poll this high on the night, or even high enough to govern alone, that if I'm wrong - and if either happens - I promise to become a vegan for a year" he wrote.

"I've just been checking out some vegan restaurants in Wellington so I'll take you down to Aunty Minas for a tofu curry," Robertson joked.

Garner didn't seem wildly enthusiastic about the idea, but said he would pay his own way if Robertson did take him out.