On the House Pollie Awards

Last updated 15:50 21/12/2009

Since it's nearly time for On the House to adjourn for the year, I thought we should dish out a few awards from the performances of 2009.

Being a blog, this is interactive, so I'm assuming y'all will contribute your own thoughts on who did well and who didn't.

So without further ado, On the House's pollie awards are as follows:

Politician of the Year: It's fast becoming a cliche but I still can't go past Prime Minister John Key. It wasn't a faultless performance by any means, but he held the Government together well through a mixture of charm and the occasional stern word. Better than I and many other commentators expected, he's more popular now than when he took office, and after the worst recession in 60 years you can't argue with that.

Highly commendeds go to Justice Minister Simon Power, who powered through the work this year, Health Minister Tony Ryall, who got us through Swine Flu, and Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia, who navigated her party through some difficult times.

Idiot of the Year: ACT Leader Rodney Hide. Trashed his public credibility by claiming the perks he'd always railed against, big-noted to a journalist at an ACT function and denigrated his boss on more than one occasion. No wonder former president Sir Roger Douglas and Heather Roy tried to roll him.

Highly commended to Maori Party MP Hone Harawira. I've seen him nominated for worst peformer, but I don't think that's fair. Harawira did some dumb things, but you never doubted his sincerity. Plus he remains a rock star in his electorate.

Worst Performance by an MP: National backbencher Melissa Lee. Completely stuffed up the Mt Albert by-election campaign, embarrassed herself and her party, wrecked her chances of promotion, still under a cloud over funding received by her film company during the last election campaign.

Highly commended to Labour's Ashraf Choudhary, who appears to have done absolutely nothing but eat his lunch. Again. 

Loser of the Year: Has to be former minister Richard Worth. Lost his job in a witch hunt and his reputation got trashed without ever being found to have done anything illegal. Tried and found guilty in the court of public opinion for little more than being an aging Lothario.

Backbencher of the Year: Labour's Jacinda Ardern. She's smart, she's good in the House, she can deliver a decent speech and says what she believes. A rising star for Labour.

Highly commended: National's Nikki Kaye. A close second, Kaye has concentrated on shoring up Auckland Central for National. Took on one of her own ministers over the preservation of some trees in her electorate and won.

Most Improved MP: Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee. Put to rest accusations of a low work rate who wasn't the sharpest tack in the pack. On top of his portfolio and a canny political strategist to boot.

Highly commended: Transport Minister Steven Joyce. Straight into Cabinet, and didn't put a foot wrong.

Least Improved MP: Finance Minister Bill English. 2009 should have been his year, but he lost the moral high ground established in the Budget over the silly housing allowance claims he made on his Karori home.

Begrudging MP Who's Annoying But You Have To Respect Them MP: ACT's John Boscawen. Painful but always on-message. You might not agree with his somewhat extreme views, but he's not afraid to voice them at every opportunity. Doesn't suffer his leader's vanity.

Simply Most Annoying MP Without Redeeming Qualities: Labour's Chris Carter. Not only did he do nothing, he complained like mad when the media fingered him for spending thousands of taxpayer dollars flying him and his partner around the world. Even pulled the "it's because I'm gay'' line. Acted like a prima donna. Annoyed the public, infuriated his colleagues.

The I-Told-You-So Award for proving the media wrong: This also goes to Key. He said the economy would improve faster than we thought and he was right. He said Copenhagen would be a failure and it wasn't worth going and he was right about that too. He said the Reserve Bank would continue to cut interest rates and he was ... well, two out of three ain't bad.

Those are the major ones, I think. Feel free to add your own.

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Post a comment
Bill Brown   #1   04:07 pm Dec 21 2009

Spot on, Colin. I am glad to see Tony Ryall getting some praise. he has always been a strong performer in the House and is now a sure-footed Minister who knows his stuff. And he wears the best shirts and ties!

Next year - let's not underestimate John Key as Mr Smiley. Although his denigrators like to paint him as a mere money trader, in fact he was a highly successful global executive and you don't make it without having huge talent. I have no doubt when he does put the boot in he does it in private and it hurts.

eddie   #2   04:38 pm Dec 21 2009

I'm curious why you missed out Goff and King...hone being a 'rock star' in his own electorate says more about that electorate than Hone.

I think National have done well, I also feel the pandering to anything Maori want will soon wane with the electorate.

Is Choudhary a list MP?, i can't see any electorate voting for this guy, and if he is a list MP, i can see him being moved down a good few places due to his 'do nothing' attitude to make way for someone who has a zeal for making a difference.

I think 2010 will bring more heat on Key and the Govt, as you said 2009 was just steerng the ship through terrible economic times, so i believe more accountability and more National policy should be on the cards next year.

good blog, be interesting to read who sees who as having a great/bad 2009 in others opinions.

Joshua Teal   #3   04:50 pm Dec 21 2009

Colin, surely Phil Goff should have got 'Least improved MP'. He's a man of long parliamentary experience and yet hasn't made any headway whatsoever this year.

The comparison of Jacinda Ardern vs Nikki Kaye is interesting, and will of course be a highlight of the next election campaign. But remember that Ardern (list) doesn't have the sort of constituency work that Nikki Kaye (Auck Central) has, and consequently probably appears more 'active' in Wellington.

Kat   #4   05:44 pm Dec 21 2009

"and after the worst recession in 60 years you can't argue with that."

More piffle Colin?

Worst recession where and for whom?....where were you in 1991-2?....this so called recession is a blip compared to the huge unemployment, business closures, bankruptcies, mortagee property sales, high inflation rate, high interest rates, and general bashing of beneficiary's by Richardson & co during those dark years.

Goff gets 'man of the year' award from me for hanging in and proving all the gloating righties wrong...again.

Kevin James   #5   05:51 pm Dec 21 2009

Great summary Colin. Seems John Key was just the antidote NZ needed and got. His happy demeanor is so refreshing, one the NZ public obviously respond well to.

Dave T   #6   07:15 pm Dec 21 2009


Good to see people like Joyce right up there just shows you that buisness people are what the country needs in parliament vice professional self intrest groups (politicians and academics).

eddie   #7   07:22 pm Dec 21 2009

haahaa, good on ya Kat, Kiwi's love the underdog...but you take to the next level. ONE year after dear leader 'left the building' and he has just managed to get above her in preferred PM polls.

I guess you have to now be the 'man' and tell Colin he's rubbish as Jennifer is back in Texas, tsk, tsk Kat. Grow up and see it from Colins point (as a parliamentary commentator) and not your red tinted one eyed perspective please.

Why don't you ask Colin why Goff/King were not in the rankings, perhaps he'll tell you what he thinks, although i guess you'll not like it!

Ben   #8   08:17 pm Dec 21 2009

The Nostradamus award for apocolyptic conspiracy theories: the clear winner is.......bobberesford.com!

johnbt   #9   08:40 pm Dec 21 2009

I wonder if the pollies ever get around to doing end of year ratings on the journos? And. Is it true that Kat is Trevor in drag?

Mike   #10   08:59 pm Dec 21 2009

Actually pretty good picks. Key has yet to do anything and has got through on a smile but it works for him and people are not yet ready to scratch the surface. English has been a joke as has hide, who has no credability left at all. But the worst minister of them all must surely be tolley - with no background in education and a refusal to listen to the experts she has marched blindly forward with her nat standards which are doomed to fail because they will not improve learning or make teachers accountable. All up labour lite have done a good job of maintaining labour policy - with, thanks to ryall a nice tie. As for a govt of ideas that can take the country forward they failed - the job summit failed, the goal of catching up with aust failed. So all up a year of no ideas from the party of the status quo.

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