The Westminster Shield

Jane Clifton writes:

Also off-limits to the media was the Saturday night dinner – a great pity, as this saw senior party figures giving what delegates could not stop gushing about as very superior comedy in the course of a fun debate.

The waspish observational humour of Attorney-General Chris Finlayson was the top crowd-pleaser, though delegates were also charmed by a taste of the habitual faux-one-up-manship English and Prime Minister John Key go in for. A senior Young Nat also ventured a killer impersonation of Key. The party members spent the evening happily lampooning one another, more traditional foes like Winston, Labour and the Greens all but forgotten for the evening.

The debate was great fun. The Attorney-General did win the prize for best speaker – for his right of reply speech. What was funny is only half way through the debate did he realise he had to do one! Chris is an incredible debater.

The mimicking of the PM was spot on. That particular Young Nat is very good at doing it.  He gets the mannerisms and tone so well.

The PM and Deputy PM were two of the three Judges, and both made their judging comments at the end. I have to say they were brilliant – arguably funnier than the teams themselves.  It made me wish the debate was being recorded, so they could be on You Tube. It would probably put up 10% in the polls.

The Westminster Shield is the traditional inter-region debating shield for the National Party. It got revitalized this year after a 20 year or so break, with a North Island and South Island team. The moot was that the South Island should become an independent state – with the North Island team having to argue in favour and the South Island team against.

Many many funny points made – mainly against the rival teams, or in the case of one team – against their own team members. I’d love to blog some of the lines, but its unfair to take them out of the context of a humourous debate and have them on the record.

The contest was very close, but by half a point the South Island team of Nick Smith, Amy Adams and Neil Miller won the 2012 Westminster Shield.

With a degree of regret I can advise that the line which probably got the biggest laugh from the audience was from the Prime Minister when he asked if it was only him, but didn’t David Farrar look like a hobbit size version of Kim Dotcom. Even I had tears of laughter at that one.

The second funniest line of the night involved a reference to “50 shades of grey”. I can’t say more than that, but it was very well chosen (and no this one did not refer to me).

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