John Key leaves a jagged hole at the top of the National Party. None of his possible successors can fill that gap. None have his skills or his odd, blokey charisma.
It is said all political careers end in failure, but John Key's didn't, and in that he is unlike perhaps any other New Zealand prime minister.
Labour was odds-on to win the Mt Roskill by-election. Now that it's happened, there is a sense of anti-climax.
OPINION: The state abandoned children put into its care – and now it must do what it can to put that negligence right.
Labour can't hope to form a government without the Greens. That is a brute fact of arithmetic: Labour polls at about 30 per cent, and there are no signs it could win enough votes to govern on its own. Hence Labour's "memorandum of understanding" with the smaller party.
Politicians wanting to spend $100m on new buildings at Parliament can't expect the voters to applaud. The public expects a double standard: one rule for MPs, and a tougher one for everyone else.
The Government's quake relief fund for Wellington is welcome. Businesses trapped inside the cordons in the capital are as much victims of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake as the tourist operators in Kaikoura. Both are cut off from their customers by a natural disaster outside their control.
Prime Minister John Key says National is the underdog in the Mt Roskill by-election. This remark allows him to pave the way for defeat while also galvanising the faithful to turn out and vote.
OPINION: What sort of law needs constant resort to a "safety valve" to prevent gross injustice from occurring?
Wellingtonians, according to one Christchurch earthquake survivor, are smug about their ability to withstand the Big One. Certainly the capital has long claimed to be well ahead of the rest of the country in its earthquake readiness.
OPINION: A senior Muslim cleric's comments are anti-Semitic and outrageous, but they do not reflect on the tens of thousands of New Zealand Muslims who reject such views.
OPINION: Trump's victory is not just about the end of one pact, but a political consensus that held for decades.
The earthquake has raised a host of hard questions and has put Acting Minister of Civil Defence Gerry Brownlee in a bad mood. The mood will soon pass, but the questions won't.
National has been teasing the voters for years with vague talk about tax cuts. Prime Minister John Key is doing it again on the eve of election year, so he must be serious. You can't keep raising expectations this way and then do nothing about it. National is positioning itself as the party of tax cuts.
An American navy warship's welcome help for earthquake-stricken Kaikoura is a nice symbol of the strong ties between New Zealand and the United States. The links have endured despite a serious spat over nuclearism, and a series of disagreements over trade.
Mayor Justin Lester says "it's not my job to create chaos or fear or hysteria." Of course it's not. But he wouldn't have created any chaos or fear or hysteria if he had simply delayed his "business as usual" declaration for several days.
Politicians have a tricky job after natural disasters. The voters' need for reassurance is urgent. People are reeling from shock and need their lives to return to "normality" as soon as possible. They need the comfort of routine.
The earthquake is exposing more and more problems in our safety systems. Some of these shortcomings are large and will take a lot of fixing. But some are indefensible and must be fixed immediately.
OPINION: The double whammy of earthquakes and floods has revealed Wellington's terrible vulnerability.
OPINION: This was another terrible wake-up call for the shaky islands.
Bullying is a coward's form of torture, and it can be deadly. Cyberbullying might seem to be less threatening than the older physical kind, but this is not so. Cyberbullying can follow its victims into every corner of their lives, whereas there are usually physical refuges from old-fashioned bullying.
OPINION: Maybe Donald Trump's bark is worth than his bite.
OPINION: Donald Trump's election to the US presidency feels like an epoch-turning event. It is also a horrifying one.
OPINION: The Commerce Commission has failed to grasp how radically all journalism is changing.
Election year is getting close and parties are thinking about policy. Labour leader Andrew Little made a pitch at his party's conference in Auckland for work schemes for the unemployed. The policy aims to help the many thousands of young people not in employment, education or training.
Opinion: Gareth Morgan's never been short of ideas but it will take more than that to get his new party into Parliament.
Judge David Collins has restored justice and common-sense in the difficult case of rugby player Losi Filipo. Filipo has now got the punishment he deserved, and Collins has set a useful set of precedents which should help in future with misbehaving sports stars.
Editorial: A report on the Saudi deal says there is no evidence of corruption or bribery, but finds almost everything else about the payment bad.
Editorial: Our country remembers the horrors of Gallipoli and, to a lesser extent, of the Western Front in World War I. It does little to remember the colonial wars within New Zealand.
OPINION: More than a Parliament's worth of bygone MPs still draws travel perks. That's outrageous.