Twelve epic failures of the year

SEAN PLUNKET
Last updated 05:00 08/12/2012

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OPINION: It's almost the end of the year, hard news is drying up and we are all looking forward to the Christmas break.

It's the time of year news folk publish their annual rankings of movies, politicians, sportspeople, businesses and music.

I'm not above doing the same but rather than pick the best of 2012 I thought it might be fun to look back at the worst of the year. Rather than wax lyrical about the high points and the achievers, I'd like to remember the things that didn't go so well in the past 12 months and those forced to swallow the bitter pill of defeat rather than chomp on the fruits of victory.

If success has many fathers and failure is an orphan there isn't a parent in sight when it comes to my Twelve Epic Fails of 2012.

Asset Sales: John Key can tell us he expected a few problems with the partial privatisation of state-owned energy companies till he is blue in the face but there's no way he thought all those mum and dad investors wouldn't be putting little parcels of Mighty River shares under the tree for the kids this Christmas.

Bus Lanes: Wellington City Council's cunning plan to make buses go faster probably didn't involve slowing golden mile traffic to a snail's pace or turning pedestrians into human skittles. The barriers on Willis St did work but had to come down when we needed to control all those role-playing backpackers in town for The Hobbit premiere.

The Syrian uprising: Tunisia, Libya, Egypt - they can all get rid of their oppressive regimes with a couple of protest marches, a few dozen mobile phones and a Facebook page. Bashar al-Assad is proving a little harder to shift.

The extradition of Kim Dotcom: Had the FBI and its friends in New Zealand law enforcement had their way, the larger than life German would be eating porridge in Gitmo by now but thanks to some truly impartial judges and a string of bungles and blunders, he's now a New Zealand resident and local hero.

Shane Cameron: The Mountain Warrior's last performance reduced one sports journalist to tears. His management must be having problems finding opponents who haven't already beaten the snot out of him.

Mike Tyson's visit: All the PR spin in the world wasn't going to convince the Government to make an immigration exception for a man who has been touring the States making jokes about the woman he was convicted of raping. He might be a great role model but only for pit bulls, misogynists and criminals.

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Drug cheats: Lance Armstrong learnt you can't fool all of the people all of the time and, after years of running from the truth, went awfully quiet when stripped of his titles. At least he made Nadzeya Ostapchuk look like an amateur for trying to cheat our Val out of her Olympic gold medal.

David Cunliffe: To have a conspiracy to overthrow your political leader you need at least one other person to conspire with and it is a really good idea to shut up about it in the meantime. It takes real talent to make David Shearer look tough and mean but Mr Cunliffe managed to achieve that.

Hekia Parata: So the Budget backdown on funding for manual classes was embarrassing but the debacle over Novopay and open revolt at the way Christchurch schools are being restructured suggests she may be finding the Cabinet curriculum a little too demanding.

Paul Henry on Aussie breakfast telly: Both people who watched the show thought he was appalling which just goes to prove it isn't always our best and brightest who make the jump across the ditch.

The anti-fracking campaign: You can show someone setting tap water on fire a million times over but that doesn't mean hydraulic fracturing causes earthquakes, global warming or Aids. Having asked the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment to investigate, the Greens now have their hemp knickers in a knot because she did and found no immediate cause for concern.

Marmite: In a supposedly developed country like New Zealand why has it taken more than a year to set up new production facilities to make a yeast spread. We've all tried the alternatives but they just aren't the same. If we can bring back the Choco-ade biscuit, why can't we make Marmite?

- Fairfax Media

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