New Zealand has listened and voted, awarding Simon Bridges' slip of the tongue as this year's best quote in Massey University's annual Quote of the Year award.

In July, the leader of the Opposition accidentally referred to his deputy Paula Bennett as "Paula Benefit" during a media interview.

"Winston Peters spends a huge amount of time on me, on Paula Ben- Benefit- Bennett," he said at the time.

The gaffe resonated with New Zealanders, attracting 21 per cent of the 3322 votes cast by those who took part of the competition.

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Competition organiser and Massey speech-writing specialist Dr Heather Kavan said she was blown away by Bridges' taking the top spot.

"I didn't expect voters to experience Simon Bridges' unconscious mind as more entertaining than some of New Zealand's best comedians," she said.

"I think the win comes down to the twinge of delight we feel when we see people in power make a mistake."

New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi on the set of The Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi on the set of The Hunt for the Wilderpeople.

Dr Kavan said Bridges' kind of mistake is what is called a "white bear", from a psychology experiment where people were people were told not to think of a white bear and couldn't stop mentioning it.

"The stumble itself isn't that bad ─ even eloquent speakers like Barack Obama make slip-ups," she said.

"And Simon Bridges' error probably won't resound in history as much as George Bush Senior's 'We've had some sex, uh, setbacks.'"

The runner-up was filmmaker Taika Waititi describing discrimination in New Zealand, who claimed 18 per cent of the vote.

"It's racist as f***. I think New Zealand is the best place on the planet, but it's a racist place," he said.

Following shortly behind Waititi was Sir John Key and his comments about Australia's constantly-changing prime ministers.

"I used to say, 'Mate, I don't really mind who turns up, just wear a name badge so I know who it is'," the former New Zealand Prime Minister said.

Quote of the Year finalists, listed in order of votes garnered:

1.

"Winston Peters spends a huge amount of time on me, on Paula Ben- Benefit- Bennett." National Party leader Simon Bridges' slip of the tongue when referring to colleague Paula Bennett.

2. "It's racist as f***. I think New Zealand is the best place on the planet, but it's a racist place." Filmmaker Taika Waititi describing experiences of discrimination.

3. "I used to say, 'Mate, I don't really mind who turns up, just wear a name badge so I know who it is'." Former Prime Minister John Key on trying to keep up with who the latest Australian Prime Minister is.

4. "We're quite a fiddly-looking shaped country – a bit like a half-eaten lamb chop." Actor and comedian Rhys Darby speculating on why New Zealand is left off world maps, in a Tourism New Zealand video.

5. "I think Minogue is an amazing partner, but perhaps sometimes his ideas don't align with actual rational thinking or any evidence or any intelligence." Officer O'Leary (actor Karen O'Leary) of Wellington Paranormal describing Officer Minogue.

6. "I don't know exactly what she said, but I know if you play it backwards it says 'Help me!'" Comedian Melanie Bracewell when asked to recall Melania Trump's answer to a reporter's question, on Have you been Paying Attention?
7. ''Wonky Donkey has had a good run for a donkey with three legs." Author Craig Smith after sales of his children's book skyrocketed when a video of a grandmother reading it went viral.

8. "It's so refreshing to see a straight white man not succeed in comedy right now." Comedian Rose Matafeo responding to British comedian Naz Osmanoglu's jokes about her ethnicity.

9. "I do find it slightly offensive that everyone thinks that every New Zealander starred in either Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit." Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern discussing Hobbiton on The Stephen Colbert Show.

10. "A little bit of a snafu." Graeme Ball of the New Zealand History Teachers' Association describing the NZQA History exam where year 13 students were stumped by the word "trivial".