One Question Quiz

PoliticsSeptember 11, 2015

Politics: A Good Sport – A Guide to the Use of Metaphor in Parliamentary Debate


Economics and politics can be hard, so to make it easier for us to get the hang of things, our elected representatives oftentimes turn to metaphor. Here is a selection of examples from this year, drawn from Hansard, the official record of parliamentary debate.

Bill English, National, 22 July 2015:

“The fact is that if the dairy industry is 20 percent of exports – and, actually, it is a bit less than that – it is because it has been a successful, globally competitive industry. It would be a bit like asking why New Zealand does not diversify from rugby because the All Blacks are too successful. We have got all our eggs in the All Black basket.”

Kelvin Davis, Labour, 27 May 2015:

“When the All Blacks go to the Rugby World Cup this year in order to bring home that William Webb Ellis Cup, they need a surplus of points—more points—than the other team. If they end up with a deficit of points, they are losers; they have lost. That is why the people of New Zealand are losing because of this Budget.”

Clayton Mitchell, NZ First, 23 May 2015:

“We are in urgency at the moment, on a Saturday morning, and I am sure there are many, many people at home who are absolutely riveted to this. Watching this debate is like watching an All Blacks test match.”

Unnamed member interjects: “It’s afternoon.”

Brett Hudson,National, 25 March 2015:

“Well, New Zealand got off to a cracking start in 2015, just like the Black Caps last night against South Africa. We are wishing them the very, very best for this Sunday, because I can tell you that for New Zealand Kiwis and their families, under this Government, the success continues to roll on.”


Matt Doocey, National, 25 March 2015:

“We have our own regional development heroes in the Government: our team captain, the Prime Minister; our all-rounder, Bill English; our fast bowler, Steven Joyce; and, a pair of safe hands, our wicketkeeper, Gerry Brownlee. Not only have we seen the rise of the Black Caps recently but we have seen the rise of another powerhouse: Canterbury regional development.”

Jonathan Coleman, National, 18 March 2015:

“John Key and Brendon McCullum back themselves. They are on the front foot. Andrew Little is like someone going out to face the West Indies without a box on – hesitant, fearful, wandering around the crease. New Zealanders back winners. They back John Key. They are backing National, and go the Black Caps on Saturday for a great world cup quarter-final.”

Alastair Scott, National, 11 February 2015:

“A team without inclusiveness, a team with two or more factions, and a team with public disagreement will never gain the confidence of the New Zealand public. Imagine if Conrad Smith or Ben Franks publicly said they wanted Richie McCaw’s job. Imagine if Richie McCaw said: ‘Right, boys, we’re going to be playing a free-flowing game of footy this weekend.’ and then Sam Cane said: ‘I’m not happy with that statement. I think we’re going to have to discuss this in caucus.’ So too the Labour Party continues to be segregated and dysfunctional.”

Russel Norman, Green, 10 February 2015:

“When it comes to the war against climate change we can no longer live in denial by saying we are so small that we do not matter—the mantra of this Government. That is not the Anzac spirit. That is not the spirit of the Māori Battalion. If you excuse the sporting metaphor, imagine if the All Blacks believed that when they ran on to the pitch to face a country ten times as large as theirs. The climate crisis is a universal call to arms, and we in this House need to play our part.”

A complete list of 2015 references in parliament to Lorde / Ella Yelich-O’connor follows.


Keep going!