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PoliticsSeptember 17, 2018

A soon-to-be-deleted look at New Zealand politicians’ worst tweets


No platform has caused as much career havoc as Madeleine Chapman looks back (but not that far back) on New Zealand politics’ best worst tweets.

This story was published in September 2018.

There’s no greater marketing tool than the words “This tweet has been deleted”. The thrill of imagining what once was and is no more. Then the smug satisfaction of knowing it will never be truly gone because if it was a Tweet worth deleting, someone definitely screengrabbed it. Tweets never die, instead they’re repurposed into memes that will serve as rebuttals to anything disagreeable the original Tweeter might say for the rest of their cursed online life.

Australian prime minister Scott Morrison tweeted a video last week with the caption “QT was on fire today [fire emoji] Good work, team.” The video itself was fairly mundane – members of parliament raising their hands during parliamentary question time – but the soundtrack set it apart.

Yes, that is Fatman Scoop’s “Be Faithful”, a great song that features the lyrics

Who fuckin’ tonight?
Who fuckin’ tonight?
Who fuckin’ tonight?
Oh, oh
Who fuckin’ tonight?
Who fuckin’ tonight?
Who fuckin’ tonight?
Oh, oh

Morrison was made aware of this and shortly after deleted the tweet. But it was too late. Scott Morrison will forever be known as the Australian prime minister who, in his first month in office, tweeted a video with a song that salutes its listeners who “hit it from the back, who want to have sex with no strings attached.” L’iconique.

Here in New Zealand, politicians don’t bow to public Twitter pressure so easily. They stand by their Tweets for better or for worse, usually for worse.

Clare Curran

Like Clare Curran, who, moments after announcing her resignation as minister for broadcasting, reprimanded RNZ political editor Jane Patterson for tweeting about … politics.

Yes, the tweet is no longer available but that’s because Curran chose to go all in and delete her entire account. Brave, unprecedented, and entirely the right move. We’ll all miss her whale content.

Colin Craig

Besides Curran, there’s just one deleted tweet that springs to mind. In 2013, a tweet was sent out from then leader of the Conservative Party Colin Craig’s Twitter account. It read, “according to the gay activist community, under age sex or kiddy fiddling is ok as long as the child is of the same sex as the perpetrator (sic)”.

The tweet was deleted moments later. Craig announced that his account had been hacked and that he would be hiring security experts to find the culprits. No updates have been given and we can only assume the investigation is ongoing.

What could be better than the forbidden fruit of a deleted tweet? A tweet that should’ve been deleted but for some reason was not. Which brings us to virtually every other tweet by every other politician in New Zealand.

Gareth Morgan

No longer an aspiring politician, Morgan was the most prolific candidate on Twitter during the 2017 general election. He tweeted about anything and everything, and for one fateful night he tweeted exclusively about poo, specifically the poo of freedom campers.

But somewhere along this shit slide Morgan managed to tweet something very offensive. He later claimed it was a saying oft uttered in the business sector. Jury’s still out on that reasoning.

Judith Collins

In more recent fake news, National MP Judith Collins called upon Jacinda Ardern to denounce a new French law “that protects pedophiles against rape charges”, as reported by notorious fake news website In doing so she broke the first rule of being a credible person online: don’t share bullshit articles, especially when they’re very clearly bullshit.

After being made aware that the article she had so solemnly shared was in fact bullshit, Collins broke the second rule too: don’t double down after learning you just shared a bullshit article.

Great save, Judith

Winston Peters

In 2011, British politician Ed Balls went viral by accidentally tweeting what was meant to be a Twitter search: Ed Balls. Not to be outdone, Winston Peters sent out this tweet in 2017.


It was the perfect tweet. His account got widespread attention without any real ridicule because of course Winston Peters searches his name everywhere.

Helen Clark

In any other world, it would be impossible to beat Winston Peters’ magnum opus. But we live in this world, the same world where former prime minister, and frenemy of Peters, Helen Clark spends huge amounts of time on the cursed platform. With 53k tweets under your belt, some will be excellent, most will be boring, and a lucky few will go down in local Twitter history. There’s nothing to say here. No context needed. Just read and enjoy.

Keep going!