The ‘Minister of Twitter’ has left Parliament, leaving a group of contenders eager to take over the mantle.

The changing fortunes of National MP Judith Collins and departure from Parliament of prolific Twitter users Tau Henare (National) and Asenati Lole-Taylor (NZ First) have left the thrones of Parliament's top tweeters vacant. Below are nine contenders, and the former holder of the "Minister of Twitter" title, whose keen not to be forgotten.

1. Jacinda Ardern (Labour)
@jacindaardern. 25,200 followers The second highest of any MP after Prime Minister John Key, according to research by social media analyst Matthew Beveridge. Even former Labour leader David Cunliffe has only 14,500 followers. It is unclear why - Ardern isn't the most prolific or attention-grabbing Twitter user, but is a quiet achiever with a gentle sense of humour. Tweets are a mix of her MP's diary, things her mother said ("Perils of having your mum stay - the morning assessment of the bags under your eyes") and good-natured ribbing of her colleagues. Recently tweeted a "no moaning" contract her father made her sign as a child - something some on Twitter might want to adopt.

2. Andrew Little (Labour leader)
@AndrewLittleMP. Followers: 4840. It can't last, but Little has shown a knack for tweeting both to put his critics in their place and to promote himself. First gained attention by tweeting a photo of his cat Buddy taking a swipe at his leg while Little was posing for a photographer. Other highlights include Little's response to Cameron Slater's claims Labour had tried to kill him. Little tweeted: "Have searched Leader's office. No gun cabinet. No knives. Also checked library. No candlestick holder, nor Miss Scarlett." His staff and the time constraints of his job will undoubtedly turn his account into the same bland churn of PR material that characterises John Key's.

3. Chris Bishop (National)
@cjsbishop. Followers: 1850. Trevor Mallard's opponent in Hutt South is taking over from Tau Henare as Mallard's "bromance" partner on Twitter. One of the more even-handed characters, applauding good jokes and praising rivals for speeches when deserved.


4. Grant Robertson (Labour)
@grantrobertson1. Followers: 10,400. In between taking pot shots at John Key and cricket tweets, Robertson gets a few pearlers in. Of a photo of Police Minister Michael Woodhouse on a grand podium in the middle of a seemingly empty beach, Robertson tweeted: "On Survivor (Planet Key) this week: Michael Woodhouse loses the immunity challenge and is banished to the Big Podium." Most memorable exchange this year was after someone proposed a sitcom starring Judith Collins and Robertson. Robertson suggested George and Mildred "but with weapons". Collins replied he was being hard on himself given George was "a lazy, do nothing, gambling moaner". Robertson replied: "Who said I was George?" Is also humble - of his low ranking on a blog's "hottest MPs" list: "my hotness is so powerful it is not necessary to talk of it."

5. James Shaw (Greens)
@jamespeshaw. Followers: 2220. He mocks Chris Finlayson for speaking Latin, uses words like "whence" and had this to say about Bill English's claim NZ had a "rock solid economy": "Actually, I reckon it's a milk solids economy."

6. Paula Bennett (National)
@paulabennettmp. Followers: 3853. Most National MPs' tweets consist of quoting John Key or re-tweeting John Key's tweets. Paula Bennett has better things to do. After Samoa's Prime Minister urged women MPs not to forget their housewifely duties, Bennett tweeted: "can't read the full story, rushing home to cook husband dinner." She posted a photo of herself on Santa's knee. And she used Twitter to call out Labour's Phil Twyford for making a cat gesture at her, implying she was catty.

7. Trevor Mallard (Labour)
@TrevorMallard. Followers: 7391. His duties as Associate Speaker have reduced his tweeting from the debating chamber, but Mallard is still active and he and Henare are still at it. Mallard pulled him up for using "less" instead of "fewer" recently. And after Henare tweeted about the existence of taniwha, Mallard advised: "Grab some DNA bit of GM then all sorted" - a reference to his own plan to bring back the moa.

8. Winston Peters (NZ First leader)
@winstonpeters. Followers: 9257. Winston Peters can't send his own tweets but he can dictate them. As well as targeting the sins of John Key, he has some whimsical moments. Had a Q and A which included questions such as: "Who would win in a fight between a dinosaur and Batman?" Peters' answer: "Batman wins all of his fights." Peters tweeted photos of his dog Beau and his neighbour's cat Rascal during the campaign. One recent tweet questioned the excesses of the nanny state after he discovered toilets on his floor were blocked off with traffic cones and fluorescent poles for cleaning.

9. Peter Dunne (United Future leader)
@PeterDunneMP. Followers: 5698. One of the most prolific tweeters but can go too far, usually when trying to take down Winston Peters. After a patchy performance in Parliament, Dunne tweeted Peters' hands were "shaking more furiously than usual". He compared New Zealand First to the Ku Klux Klan. He also questioned why the media bothered to "report [Peters] as a serious political player" - apparently forgetting Peters secured 208,300 votes at the election, more than United Future's 5286. It will rankle that Peters has far more followers.

And don't forget: Tau Henare
@tauhenare. Followers: 6061. He's out but not gone. Henare was dubbed "Minister of Twitter" and has clearly decided he still deserves the title, describing himself as "Minister of Twitter outside Parliament" in his biography. He continues to tweet with vigour; one of his tweets even landed him before the courts for an alleged breach of suppression.