MP's quip in debate on same-sex marriage voted the year's best

National MP Maurice Williamson's "big gay rainbow" reference during the same-sex marriage debate has been chosen as quote of the year.

The minister beat memorable lines by Man Booker Prize winner Eleanor Catton and chart-topping teenage singer Ella Yelich-O'Connor, better known as Lorde.

Mr Williamson's winning quote received 45 per cent of the vote in a Massey University-run competition.

During the final reading of the same-sex marriage legislation in April, he said: "One of the messages that I had was that this bill was the cause of our drought. Well, in the Pakuranga electorate this morning, it was pouring with rain. We had the most enormous big gay rainbow across my electorate."


Mr Williamson said although he usually prepared his speeches, his contribution to that debate was unrehearsed and pulled together in the debating chamber. "I'd done no preparation at all, about four minutes and four bullet points on a scrap of paper - 'gay onslaught', 'celibacy', 'physics' and 'gay rainbow'."

The response had been overwhelming. "I seriously didn't expect it would make the Howick & Pakuranga Times. I've been told that it's played in 59 countries, been translated into 16 languages. I've got the Dutch, the Spanish, the German, the Swedish version on my iPad."

Massey University speech-writing specialist Heather Kavan said the speech was irreverent, visual, disarming and witty, but it was also emotionally moving for those affected by the marriage equality bill.

She noted that it had global impact, including 1.5 million views on YouTube and endorsement from high-profile individuals such as Stephen Fry and Ellen DeGeneres.

Political quotes took the top three spots in the competition.

In second place was an anonymous quote which was repeated on social media during reform of the Government spy agency: "The GCSB, the only government department that will actually listen to you."

It was the second year in a row a National MP won. Last year, Social Development Minister Paula Bennett's "Zip it, sweetie", a retort to Labour MP Jacinda Ardern, got the most votes.