OPINION: Just when you thought the political year was over, our annual Polly awards have rolled around again and after a rollercoaster year the Fairfax political team has a big list of awards to hand out.
Quote of the Year: "One of the messages that I had was that this bill was the cause of our drought. Well, in the Pakuranga electorate this morning it was pouring with rain. We had the most enormous big gay rainbow across my electorate – Cabinet minister Maurice Williamson in his speech on the gay marriage bill for which he later became a YouTube hit with a 1.5 million views.
Runner-up: "I had a Catholic priest tell me that I was supporting an unnatural act. I found that quite interesting coming from someone who has taken an oath of celibacy for his whole life." – Williamson in the same speech.
Winner of the Year: Say what you like about David Cunliffe – and many of his colleagues do – his rise to the Labour Party leadership within a year of being exiled to the back benches and written off as a political prospect is an extraordinary political comeback.
Loser of the Year: John "cabbage boat rider" Banks ends 2013 on track to losing the leadership, losing his party and giving up on his seat after fighting a losing legal battle against a bid to put him in the dock over donations to his Auckland mayoral campaign.
Wally of the Year: Aaron "don't you know who I am" Gilmore who resigned after a drunken night out at a Hanmer Springs resort where he clicked his fingers at staff, called a waiter a dickhead, threatened to use his influence with the prime minister to have the waiter sacked, and generally acted like he was someone important rather than one of National's most obscure backbench MPs.
Other awards are:
Look on the bright side award – to Gilmore. Everyone knows who he is now.
Titanic award for best performance as a sinking ship to State-owned coalminer Solid Energy for its dive from Cabinet darling to basket case.
Edward Snowden award for services to Big Brother – David Henry and Paula Rebstock who snooped on people's private emails, phone and swipe-card records without even needing a warrant. Who needs the Government Communications Security Bureau?
Houdini award – Education Minister Hekia Parata for her logic-defying escape from demotion despite managing to alienate just about everyone in the sector, including parents.
Bob Hope Thanks for the Memories award – Social Development Minister Paula Bennett who shook the Westie dust off her boots faster than you could say Upper Harbour after she was saved from certain defeat in Waitakere by the creation of a new National-leaning seat in Auckland.
Bermuda Triangle award – Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, Alfred Ngaro, Ian McKelvie, Moana Mackey, Rajen Prasad, David Clendon, Raymond Huo, Jacqui Dean and Rino Tirakatene. Last seen headed for the back bench of their respective parties. (National MP Colin King disqualified himself after a late run at hitting the headlines when he was de-selected from his Kaikoura seat).
No pressure award – National MPs Shane Ardern, Katrina Shanks, Cam Calder, Chris Auchinvole, Jackie Blue, Paul Hutchison, Kate Wilkinson and Phil Heatley for answering the party's call for rejuvenation.
Extreme Makeover award – Labour MP Shane Jones who put his hand up for the leadership and rehabilitated himself from being a politician on his way out to one on his way back up.
Burning your bridges award – Energy Minister Simon Bridges for his Campbell Live meltdown over deep-sea oil drilling.
Tui "yeah right" award – MPs Trevor Mallard, Amy Adams, Murray McCully and Steven Joyce who all had important business in San Francisco during the America's Cup campaign.
Austin Powers International Man of Mystery award – Trade Negotiations Minister Tim Groser who disappeared into Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations for days on end and never revealed what was said.
Simon Powers quit while you're ahead award – Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain who cut short his political career by deciding to retire at the next election.
Brendan Horan thick skin award – Auckland Mayor Len Brown who seems to be alone in believing people will have forgotten about his transgressions by the time the next election rolls around.
Mea culpa of the year – Gilmore again, for this confession: "If there was a dickhead on that night it was me."
Nest feathering award – to politicians on all sides of the House for predictably allowing self-interest to rule over public interest by grabbing back control over some of their perks in legislation that was supposed to put them in the hands of an independent body.
Zero to Hero award – Williamson whose "gay rainbow" speech made him a gay icon worldwide and merited him an invite to one of America's top-rated talk shows (though creative differences meant he turned it down).
Knucklehead award – John Key for labelling journalists who questioned him "knuckleheads".
Biggest twit award – National MP Tau Henare who has built up his Twitter profile around such gems as "Jesus some people talk about a load of old s… sometimes".
Nothing in life is free award – Kris Faafoi, Clayton Cosgrove, Annette King and Phil Goff whose enjoyment of SkyCity's corporate hospitality at the rugby was in stark contrast to Labour's vociferous opposition to "crony capitalism" and the SkyCity convention centre deal.
Maxwell Smart shoe-phone award – UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne who despite his denials was fingered by the so-called Henry inquiry as the possible leaker of a sensitive GCSB report after it accessed his phone, swipe card and email records.
No man is an island award – Mana Party leader Hone Harawira who has managed to alienate just about everyone in Parliament.
Life after political death award – Katrina Shanks who quit Parliament for a new job representing the nation's funeral directors.
Gutter politics award – Prime ministerial staffer Jason Ede seen getting down at street level to take a picture of some rubbish after the press gallery party to post on a Right-wing blog.
Apollo award – Conservative Party leader Colin Craig who struggles with the idea of man landing on the Moon but seems to have no trouble believing in the power of prayer.
Donald Trump award – Cabinet ministers Kate Wilkinson and Phil Heatley who were told "you're fired" at the start of the year.
Rumble in the jungle award – Kim Dotcom and John Key for this exchange. "Why are you going red, prime minister?". John Key to Dotcom. "I'm not, why are you sweating?"
Questionable question of the year – NZ First MP Asenati Lole-Taylor to Police Minister Anne Tolley: "Would she feel harassed and intimidated if she was asked while walking down the street 'how much for a blow job?'."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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