Best leader of the year? Hmm, Russel Norman’s done a very good job but is very much in his Honeymoon period – he’s yet to be seriously tested. Winston, on the other hand, has come back from the dead in a way that few thought was possible and has dealt with the Horan stuff admirably. So, Winston. Runner up, John Key – as much as I don’t like to admit it John Key must be doing something right – his party is systematically destroying the economy but he’s still the voters’ favorite.
Worst leader of the year? John Banks. That’s the end of the Act party (thanks John, I greatly appreciate that). Runner up, David Shearer – he’s had a year of media honeymoon and he’s pissed it away and alienated his membership in the process. Here’s a tip for 2013 David – figure out what you stand for and then find a way to say it clearly. It’ll be a lot easier to cope in interviews and debates if you are articulating policy from a firm coherent ideological position. Also, show, don’t tell – if you want people to know you’ve got political vision then you need to show it – not bang on endlessly about how you’ve got political vision (honestly it’s like you’ve taken the most literal reading of Lakoff possible).
Best frontbencher of the year? Tony Ryall. Remember the big heath cut scandal of 2012? Neither does anyone else. The circus of ineptitude that has been the fiftieth parliament thus far has allowed Ryall to work under the radar.
Worst frontbencher? Hekia Parata.
Best backbencher? Well that was a hard one – there have been quite a few backbenchers doing good work. From Gareth Hughes who has been a constant thorn in the side of the government, Andrew Little who took Collins on and won (and bonus points for gangnam styling it in the house – a comic deadpan masterpiece), Julie Anne Genter who has been relentless in showing up the absurdity of the government’s roads of national significance, Sue Morony who’s paid parental leave campaign showed women voters exactly who National are… But I think the backbencher of the year has to be Louisa Wall – in getting her marriage equality bill through it’s first reading she showed the great value of lobbying and of working with supporters outside of parliament to achieve a result.
Worst backbencher? Brendan Horan. Just resign, Brendan.
Political loser of the year? Hekia Parata.
Political winner of the year? The Labour party membership. I think 2012 will come to be seen as a turning point in the Labour party’s history and potentially in the history of democratic participation in New Zealand (and, of course, you can be one of those winners by joining up).