A Green MP'S witty response to controversial church leader Bishop Brian Tamaki has taken out the public's vote for quote of the year.

Denise Roche's winning quip - "Sex just can't be that good" - was in response to Tamaki blaming recent destructive quakes on homosexuality and "the weight of human sin".

The comeback won Massey University's 2016 Quote of the Year after capturing almost 30 per cent of the total vote, beating a quote by Colin Craig's former press secretary Rachel MacGregor.

MacGregor's quote - "In the beginning I really admired Colin. It was only as time went on that I realised he was a douche bag" - attracted 18 per cent of the vote.

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"What's unusual this year is that almost half of the votes went to two women who, in different contexts, challenged conservative leaders," says Massey speech writing lecturer Dr Heather Kavan.

"Neither Roche nor MacGregor were seeking the limelight. Roche was answering a journalist's question on the spot and MacGregor was a witness in a court case."

Kavan believes it was the humour underlying Roche's comment that won the day.

"I think a lot of people vote for the quotes that make them smile. Denise Roche's statement was quick-witted and funny. She conveyed her point without denigrating Tamaki, in a situation that left others struggling for words."

And it's not the first time Destiny Church has sparked a memorable one-liner.

Former MP Georgina Beyer famously confronted Destiny protesters outside Parliament in 2004, exclaiming: "Oh my God, I feel like I'm standing in a Nuremberg rally!"

In 2013, Maurice Williamson, an MP for Pakuranga since 1987, gave his gay rainbow speech defending same-sex marriage, which Tamaki and other religious leaders opposed.

A line from this speech won the 2013 Quote of the Year.

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"The irony is that in 2003 Tamaki prophesied that Destiny Church would be ruling New Zealand in five years. Here we are 13 years later, and, far from leading Parliament, the church is a catalyst for MP's best one-liners," Kavan said.

This year's competition was a much closer contest than 2015, when high school student Jake Bailey won an unprecedented 77 per cent of the vote.

"Although we didn't have Jake Bailey's inspirational words of last year, there were a lot of colourful comments born out of challenging circumstances," said Kavan.

2016 Quote of the Year finalists in order

1.

"Sex just can't be that good." - Green MP Denise Roche when asked about Brian Tamaki's statements that homosexuality causes earthquakes.

2. "In the beginning I really admired Colin. It was only as time went on that I realised he was a douche bag." - Rachel MacGregor testifying at Colin Craig's defamation trial.

3. "I do name a lot of my animals as an insurance policy, because if you name a chicken Meryl Streep, in all fairness you can't eat Meryl Streep." - Actor Sam Neill explaining his animals' names on The Graham Norton Show.

4. "You can tell that she's a negotiator. I've never won an argument with her in my life." - Dylan Kelly describing his mother, the late union leader Helen Kelly.

5. "You're a clever cow to skip and dance while the land beneath you is disappearing down the hill." - Farmer Derrick Milton after helping rescue three cows stranded by the Kaikoura earthquake.

6. "All I can say is that I gave it everything I had. I left nothing in the tank." - Prime Minister John Key announcing his sudden resignation.

7. "If Americans were given a choice, they would have a gun on their flag." - Comedian Matt Stellingwerf at the Billy T. James 2016 Stand up Comedy Awards.

8. "I may be short, Mr Brownlee, but at least I could sing." - Ray Columbus' response to Gerry Brownlee's criticism of him, to be printed after Columbus' death.

9. "You want a nose job? Well I'm going to give you one." - Paul Henry's daughter, Bella Henry before fighting Naz Khanjani from The Bachelor in the ring.

10. "A haka would have provoked them, they wouldn't understand what it means, and these guys are looking at any reason to take a shot at us." - Kereama Te Ua after delivering a stirring haka during protests against the Dakota Access pipeline at Standing Rock.