'Pineapple on pizza? Demand the debate': National's new campaign parodied in memes

National's new 'Demand the Debate' campaign has been given comical treatment, with Twitter users demanding a debate on contentious issues like whether pineapple should be included on pizza. 

National unveiled a new billboard in Auckland in Mt Wellington on Sunday to kick start its new campaign calling on the Government to give Kiwis more say on issues that weren't campaigned on, such as the He Puapua report and the $785m Auckland cycle bridge. 

But the meme-worthiness of the image of National leader Judith Collins next to the text, 'Demand the Debate', was too tempting for the Twittersphere. 

"This is too much fun," said one Twitter user who posted a series of memes, where the original National Party poster promoting the campaign was edited to look as though a debate was being demanded on the appropriateness of pizza toppings. 

The same Twitter user posted another meme poking fun at allegations leveled against National MP Harete Hipango of inappropriate spending of taxpayer money over the purchase of furniture. 

"Sofas are a business expense aren't they?" says the text of the meme against the backdrop of 'Demand the Debate' and the image of Collins.

Another meme made fun of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appearing to call Collins a 'Karen' during a hate speech debate in Parliament last month. A 'Karen' broadly refers to an entitled white woman. 

The meme includes the text, "should I change my name to Karen?", next to the image of Collins and the 'Demand the Debate' signage. 

Other memes drew attention to the endless National Party leadership speculation. The latest UMR poll shows Collins below ACT leader David Seymour as preferred Prime Minister.  

"Who should be the leader of the National Party? Demand the debate."

Others just wanted feedback on what's best to have for dinner on a Sunday. 

"Sunday roast or KFC for tea? Demand the debate."

There are signs the new campaign has got off to a lukewarm start among the National Party caucus, with just three National MPs - Chris Penk, Simeon Brown and Stuart Smith - re-tweeting the announcement from Collins on Sunday. 

Only Penk, former National MP Matt King, and the National Party itself, liked the post. 

But Collins has been busy re-tweeting news articles and commentary about the new campaign, signing off each one with the hashtag #demandthedebate. 

"The Labour Government continues to make policy announcements that were never campaigned on and will have a significant impact on New Zealanders," Collins said on Sunday. 

"Every week, I'm contacted by thousands of Kiwis who are worried they just don't have a say in the future of their country anymore. They're being kept in the dark and their questions go unanswered by Ardern's Government."

It hasn't gone unnoticed that National's new campaign bears resemblance to ACT's series of 'Honest Conversations' rallies. 

"Some people say 'Demand the Debate' sounds a little like 'Honest Conversations'," said ACT leader David Seymour. "I couldn't possibly comment."

Collins says the first part of the campaign will focus on He Puapua, a Government report commissioned in 2019 that sets out a roadmap to co-governance between the Crown and Māori by 2040. 

The report was commissioned as a response to the former National-led Government signing New Zealand up in 2010 to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. 

Collins, who has accused the Government of a "separatism by stealth" agenda over He Puapua, has questioned why Māori will be consulted before the wider public on suggestions in the report. 

Her questioning of He Puapua led to accusations of racism by the Māori Party and the Greens.