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PM's resignation among year's best quotes

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 7/12/2016 Sean Martin
John Key © Reuters/Jason Reed John Key

Prime Minister John Key's shock resignation speech has made a list of the year's top quotes, alongside touching tributes and a quip about clever cows in a year defined by surprises.

Mr Key's statement that he "left nothing in the tank" has been listed as a finalists in Massey University's 2016 Quote of the Year contest.

Organiser and co-judge Heather Kavan said one of the years' major themes was "shock" and the phrase captured the heart of Mr Key's message.

In other shocks, the Kaikoura earthquake got two nods on the list: one farmer reminding us of the plight of three stranded cows that made global headlines, while Green MP Denise Roche took a swipe at Brian Tamaki's much-panned theories about natural disasters.

A bittersweet quote from late union leader Helen Kelly's son, Dylan Kelly, about his mother has also made the list, while Ray Columbus' posthumous crack at Gerry Brownlee also appears.

Other contenders include Bella Henry's tough talk about Naz Khanjani before their boxing bout, Rachel MacGregor's opinions about her former boss Colin Craig, Sam Neill's TV banter about naming pets, and quote from Kereama Te Ua about his haka at the Standing Rock protest.

And of course, it would be hard to talk about 2016 without hitting on US elections, with comedian Matt Stellingwerf's quip on their love of guns also making the list.

Voting for the top quote closes on December 15, with the results announced the following day.


"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

"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

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

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

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

"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

"You want a nose job? Well I'm going to give you one." - Bella Henry before fighting Naz Khanjani

"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's death, quoted by Vicki Anderson

"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." - Sam Neill explaining his animals' names on The Graham Norton Show

"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

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