They've hustled the hustings in the Labour leadership battle and on Sunday to the winner will go the spoils, or the booby prize, depending on your views of the merits of becoming Opposition leader. But the contestants for Labour's leadership have put in a sterling effort at entertaining us and appalling us in the battle of the metaphors over the past fortnight. In the spirit of rewarding participation, below are some awards for Shane Jones, David Cunliffe and Grant Robertson, as well as some of their enthusiastic supporters, to take straight to the pool room.
The Artful Dodger award for picking pockets:
David Cunliffe. Grant Robertson announced the living wage - five minutes later Cunliffe did too. Shane Jones announced Pasifika TV - five minutes later Cunliffe did too. Robertson made a joke about boy bands. It was Cunliffe's by the next day. Shane Jones announced regional development measures including a rail link to Marsden Pt. The next day, Cunliffe announced a package suspiciously similar.
Best supporting actor:
John Key, who was invoked as the measure against which the others could prove their mettle. Having seen off three Labour leaders in succession already, he leaped to his job with enthusiasm, sledging away happily, declaring David Cunliffe the winner in advance and holding off on his departure to Europe so his new rival could get in a first Question Time against him.
The John Banks award for greatest transmogrification:
David Cunliffe for his leap from the business-friendly face of Labour to waving a bunch of "socialist red" roses around and singing paeans from the Workers' Songbook.
John Wayne award for straight shooting:
Grant Robertson for bluntly pointing out Shane Jones could not win, however successful he was in the polls. Shane Jones for saying of the Greens: "I am going to harvest and find my votes in Middle Earth - not flat earth."
5-plus a day award for best fruit and veg promotion:
David Cunliffe: "I know you're not allowed to talk about sweet kumaras, but it's my obligation to give you just a little taste of why I should be the kumara that you're all munching on."
Tae kwon do below the belt award:
Shane Jones for this clanger about John Key: "I'm going to tie a bungee cord around the sensitive spot, and then I'm going to get those callipers and cut them. And then the trader from Wall St and the mercenary of capitalism can suffer what he deserves - a dead cat bounce."
Merry Wives of Windsor award for playing hard to get:
Andrew Little, Raymond Huo, David Parker. Each camp has tried to claim them, but they have continued to refuse to say whom they are backing.
Woody Allen Zelig award for best human chameleon:
David Cunliffe. In 2011, he morphed into a character from bro'Town to fit into the audience at the flea markets. The sequel came at the Whangarei hustings meeting when he tried out his Maori styles, complete with the use of "eh" to end sentences.
Joni Mitchell award for best rendition of Both Sides Now:
Su'a William Sio for signing Shane Jones' nomination form, but supporting David Cunliffe.
Son of a Preacher Man award for best evangelical performance:
David Cunliffe, who is the son of a preacher man, for his campaign launch and his vibrato a la Martin Luther King "this little town" soliloquy at Blackball. In fact, for his entire campaign.
Where's Wally? pantomime award:
Robertson, for telling Seven Sharp his partner Alf was too busy to be at the pub for the interview just before the camera caught Alf at another table. He's behind you, Grant!
The oh-er double entendre award:
Joint winners: David Cunliffe for "the only 'mon' I want to poke is John Key" answering a question about Pokemon. Shane Jones for "What the hell is a soft piece? Doing things in a soft fashion has never really been a failing of mine."
Mahatma Gandhi award for humility:
Shane Jones. Of course. For this: "Round Aotearoa I've always found I've been very popular with women." Runner-up: David Cunliffe. For having a portrait of himself that was bigger than those of former Labour PMs at his campaign launch. For "I've got John Key's number and he knows it".
Shane Jones award for out Jones-ing Jonesy:
Patrick Gower, 3News: "It's gonna be Cunliffe's butchery in the caucus room next Tuesday if he gets the job."
Maryan Street, for tweeting a photo of herself giving Jones a bear hug after he said, "I am never ever going to be universally cuddled by Maryan Street and others."
Best Twitter hashtag:
#AndHereComesKiwi. The reference to 1983 Melbourne Cup winner Kiwi, who came from the back of the field to win, was picked up by Jones' supporters as he nudged out Grant Robertson in the polls. Appropriately, Kiwi's sire was Blarney Kiss.
Hellers' award for biggest pork barrel:
Trevor Mallard. Usually the "numbers man" for one of the contenders, this time round when the going got tough, he got going - off to San Francisco to enjoy the America's Cup.