A reader has e-mailed me regarding the infamous Cullen quote of “We won, you lost, eat that” and it does appear that in fact the quote has got mangled over the years.
At the time Cullen announced his retirement, there was a lot of searching for the quote. I even had a couple of calls asking me if I could recall where and when. I said I was pretty sure it was during the Employment Relations Bill debate as I was pretty much in Parliament from 9 am to midnight every day for a week as the main analyst on that law. I think I wrote over 1,000 amendments!
Anyway I recall Cullen saying it after one of the mammoth fillybustering sessions came to an end. And it was indeed at that time, but not quite as legend now reports it. My reader has seen the original video footage:
it was the day of 16 August 2000. Parliament has just finished the 7th and final day of the Employment Relations Bill second debate. The Clerk has just announced there will be a debate for the 3rd reading of the ERB.
Speaker Hunt calls for a meal break as both sides stand after what must have been a long morning.
Cullen is heard on the camera mic as he stands saying in a loud voice to his front bench colleagues, “We won, they lost, let’s do lunch”.
It seems the original quote has been through Chinese whispers since then, and the “eat that” part is not accurate. The first media reports of it were some days later.
So as a farewell present to Dr Cullen, Kiwiblog is pleased to set the record straight!