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Design: TIna Tiller
Design: TIna Tiller

Pop CultureOctober 15, 2023

All the weird and wonderful moments from Saturday night’s NZ election coverage

Design: TIna Tiller
Design: TIna Tiller

Tara Ward relives the highlights from the Election 2023 live TV coverage. 

Laser Kiwi was the winner on the night

The undoubted star of the evening was Three’s Linda the Laser Kiwi, who appeared at the press of a button to either give birth to a politician or… simply kill them with her laser beams? Much like a human birth, it was a sight to behold, and it’s no wonder former National MP Paula Bennett was so amazed when she first heard about Linda:

It was like the time the Weta pooed live on AM, but weirder. Before our very eyes, Linda plopped out an egg on national television, and then used the pure, unbridled force of her laser eyes to hatch two New Zealand First MPs from her still-warm deposit – or as they call it in politics, “a double yolker”. 


However, things took a sinister turn when Linda went rogue and decided to get rid of some MPs. Labour’s Sarah Pallett failed to retain her Ilam seat, and was quickly obliterated by Linda’s radioactive glare. Linda! What have you done?!

Teenager captures mood of the nation

A Newshub interview with ACT party candidate Andrew Hoggard featured this silent supporter (Hoggard’s nephew), as he captured the weary vibe of a nation who had just endured a campaign that ran for approximately three thousand years.

Media goes batshit at sight of food

It was bedlam in Remuera when Amanda Luxon emerged from the Luxon home to deliver the waiting media some free food. TVNZ’s Melissa Davies was quick to ask the question every wife wants to be asked: “Did you hand-roll this pastry yourself?” Amanda had not, and nobody asked if the pastry was part of her husband’s $60 supermarket spend that week. 

On to more pressing matters. What flavour pizza was it? Amanda said she didn’t know; she hadn’t ordered them. Was that Watties Tomato Sauce? Of course it was. After facing a barrage of questions, Amanda departed by dropping the bombshell that she really loved the fairy lights in her garden – not just now, but all year round. “They are year round fairy lights,” she explained.

There was big banter on Newshub

Patrick Gower was flying high on electoral excitement all night, and the Newshub team were having a ball. Paddy was in The Matrix, he was in Paddy’s Parliament, he was in his element. He cheered on his favourite MP Maureen Pugh (“Let’s go, Maureen!”) and told his colleagues that when they said “battleground” (had anyone even said battleground?), they had to really mean it. “BATTLEGROUND!” he shouted. “BLUE-NAMI!” he cried. “THIS IS MY HOUSE ON ELECTION NIGHT!” All in all, the LOLs hit faster than those beams from Linda’s eyes. 

Look! We’re on the TV!

Political opinions may differ, but last night proved that nothing brings people together more than realising they’re on the TV. Some of the biggest cheers came from Tamati Coffey’s supporters during an live cross with Whakaata Māori, when they made so much noise that Coffey could barely hear. “They’ve just seen themselves on the television,” Coffey explained. Say no more, we understand completely.

Two ticks for the snazzy graphics

There were incredible scenes from the fancy new Newshub set, where the expert panel were haunted by politicians hovering silently from the ceiling. “Take a look at my big biscuit,” Ryan Bridge said at one point, summoning up a fancy bit of VR that was definitely not edible. Not complaining, but some of us would have really appreciated a proper VR biscuit.

There was also an impressive giant vibe on TVNZ1, where Jack Tame was frequently transported to the Beehive so he could loom over some tiny toddler chairs. 

Up the Wahs

Some party-goers in Dunedin appeared to be slightly confused about what event they were attending, with one reveller making a “sign” by holding up their “phone” with subliminal political message “Up the Wahs” on it. Or were they at the right party all along? Makes you think. 

John Campbell brings up the middle finger, again

It’s not an election night without old mate JC bringing up the naughty finger, and thank goodness for it. Having already told Jack Tame he was both “as hot as an oven” and “all over this like a rash”, John had one thing to say about voters turning away from Labour. “The middle finger’s been shown all over the shop,” he declared. This is how you make politics exciting, everyone!

Christopher Luxon was feeling great

After Chris Hipkins conceded, Luxon arrived at Auckland’s Shed 10 and talked briefly to journalists as he walked in. “I’m feeling great,” he told TVNZ’s Maiki Sherman. “It’s been a great day and a great result, I thought it was going to be great, we had great support across the country, it’s just great to see.” Wait until he finds out about Linda the Laser Kiwi! That really WAS great. 

Welcome to Sadville, population: two

As National began to celebrate, the party was well and truly over for Labour. “It really is Sadville,” TVNZ reporter Benedict Collins said as he crossed live from the Labour party event, aka the bleakest party in the world. The lights were on and nobody was home, and a lone cleaner swept up the last of Labour’s hopes and dreams. “I even saw a sausage roll on the floor,” Collins admitted quietly.

Everyone needs to have a really long sleep

It was all over at midnight, and Three ended by contemplating how life will change for the Luxons. “They’ve got an eighth house they can live in now,” Samantha Hayes said, while over on TVNZ, John Campbell made a speech about the power of democracy. “I hope we wake up in the morning and get along with each other, because if we don’t, where does that leave us?” Well John, it leaves us with Laser Kiwi Linda and a double yolker, and Paddy Gower channelling his best Backstreet Boys impression: “Winston’s back, alright!” What more do you need, New Zealand? 

Keep going!