Oh dear.

On Sunday, The Opportunities Party (TOP) leader Gareth Morgan tweeted "all that matters is policy. Jacinda (Ardern) should be required to show she's more than lipstick on a pig. Will she be?".

Morgan was responding to a tweet referring to Labour's popularity bounce.

The reaction was immediate - distaste.


Morgan has defended himself, citing former US president Barack Obama's use of the phrase as the inspiration behind his tweet.

Obama's context was different, though.

In 2008, Obama was making a rally speech, and referencing the Republican party in general and Senator John McCain's policies.

He prefaced the "lipstick" comment carefully by commenting on the similarity between George W. Bush's policies and McCain's.

"That's not change, that's just calling the same thing something different."

And then he said: "You can put lipstick on a pig, it's still a pig."

At a press conference yesterday, Morgan said he had been having a dig at the Labour Party, which he believed needed to provide some policy depth beyond the Jacinda effect.
And he referenced Obama as the inspiration behind the tweet.

The problem being, of course, that Morgan's tweet had said "Jacinda should be required to show she's more than lipstick on a pig."

Morgan admitted, one hand firmly on the shovel he had dug his hole with, that he could have used other terms.

Like "if you polish a turd, it's still a turd".

In went the spade again.

"Or you know, changing a badge on a Skoda, is one we used to use in high school."

If Morgan wants to cite Obama as a reference, perhaps he could study the former president's record-breaking tweet last week.

"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion..."

Whilst the hot water Morgan is stewing in isn't spiced with race or religion, it reeks of judgment. Because that is what his clumsy tweet invited - judgment of Ardern.

Morgan's political slogans include Care. Think. Vote. Perhaps it should be: Care. Think. Tweet.