New Zealand is all set to witness the 2017 General Elections to determine the membership of the 52nd New Zealand Parliament, to be held on Saturday, September 23. The elections have provided the perfect backdrop to a video compiled by the University of Auckland Public Policy Club, which features a range of most prominent leaders reading out and responding to rude tweets from common people.

14 politicians formed part of the video including Prime Minister Bill English. The other politicians that were showcased in the video reading out meanest tweets for them were: James Shaw, Julie Anne Genter, Peter Dunne, Marama Fox, Chris Hipkins, David Seymour, Nikki Kaye, Gareth Hughes, Gareth Morgan, Gerry Brownlee, Chris Bishop, Simon Bridges and Te Ururoa Flavell.

On one hand, where PM English read a tweet suggesting he has bad breath, an allegation he promptly refuted, on the other hand the video showcased Maori Party’s Te Ururoa Flavell being mocked because of his grey beard fading into his grey tie. Not to forget Green Party leader James Shaw, read a tweet telling him to “f*** off and be stupid in private.”

The idea behind the video was to involve students from all backgrounds in the education and development of political knowledge. The Policy Club has a special focus on increasing youth engagement in politics by encouraging and educating youth to discover their political voices. Part of that encouragement is promoting political discourse which is constructive and helping people forge meaningful discussions with others who may think differently to them.

 To the surprise of the Club members, most of the leaders were keen to participate in the video. In fact, when the narrowed down list of tweets was sent to the politicians, some of them rejected a few tweets calling them way too ‘soft’ and sought a few harsher ones.

The idea to get well-known figures reading mean tweets about themselves was popularised by late-night US talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live, whose creators first did it in 2012.