Trans-Tasman roll call - the best and worst of the 2015 political year
National is starting to suffer third termitis, and some of its minister's are burnt out. That's the view of transTasman, which has just released its annual roll call, the publication MPs look forward to with equal parts excitement and dread.
Labour does not fare much better in the yearly roundup - transTasman's editors say Labour is still reeling from electoral defeat and they have published a list of MPs whose time is up.
Most MPs will wince when they read their report card from roll call, which strips bare the political rhetoric and delivers an unvarnished opinion on Parliament's best and worst performers.
This year's publication has delivered a big curve ball, meanwhile, with its award for politician of the year going to an MP who many Kiwis may never have heard of, ACT leader David Seymour.
Seymour knocks Prime Minster John Key and Finance Minister Bill English off their perch - with transTasman saying Seymour represents a new generation of MP. While not much was expected of him when he entered Parliament last year, he has surprised everyone with "his skill, his workload and his ability to do the job of an MMP minor party". That is, to help the Government, but also criticise it and have its own opinions when necessary.
"Seymour has done all this, and done it tactically, belying his age (32) and lack of experience."
Others have not fared so well, with transTasman doling out some harsh words for some of Parliament's lesser lights. But the big guns have not escaped the sights of transTasman's editors either - they say National is showing signs of third-termitis and senior ministers like Gerry Brownlee and Murray McCully are looking tired, out of sorts, or burnt out.
"Some are looking to the future - [Speaker] David Carter looks as though he will be pleased to relinquish the Speaker's chair for a Knighthood and a cushy foreign posting, where he will no longer have to be selectively deaf, while Tim Groser will also be looking forward to an ambassadorial posting".
But in their usual acerbic fashion, the transTasman editors do not hold out much hope for the next generation of ministers, pointing that while a clean out would make way for new faces "we are loath to call it all talent".
Labour fares little better, with transTasman saying it is still reeling from electoral defeat and Andrew Little's ascension to the top job.
"He is battling to get his caucus behind him and to an extent has succeeded, but there are still many in the party's ranks who should be looking to their futures - Clayton Cosgrove, David Cunliffe, David Parker and Trevor Mallard should all be looking for new jobs."
As for the minor parties, "political mercenary" Peter Dunne "is still waiting to see which way the wind will blow, Winston Peters still has his group well under his thumb, while the Greens are coming to terms with a post Russel Norman direction as James Shaw makes an impressive debut in the co-leadership stakes".
The Maori Party is dismissed as disappointing.
Here is a list of the best and worst performers after Seymour, who scored 8.5/10.
Top Five - National
Finance Minister Bill English - 8/10
"A foundation for the Government's ongoing success. Dependable and canny as always, finally getting the books back into the black, even if only for a short time, has been a big deal for him. The power behind the throne."
Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully 8/10
"He has been a virtual blur this year, rushing through so many countries and doing so much. Failed to secure Middle East peace though. A strong year for the man, which has ended in a hospital bed. He made a massive effort."
Prime Minister John Key - 7.5/10
Takes a tumble from last year's rating of 9.5. His popularity is undented, despite ponytail gate and other controversies.....The flag debate may deflate his ego but he is still far and away New Zealand's most popular leader."
Justice Minister Amy Adams - 7.5/10
"We said she would be one to watch and she has added to that impression with strong performances across all her portfolios."
Trade Minister Tim Groser - 7.5/10
"Another minister who has had a huge year and weathered some storms. He is expected to leave soon for a less pressured environment."
Bottom five - National
List MP Paul Foster-Bell - 2/10
"Last year we suggested he sharpen up his act. He hasn't."
Taranaki MP Barbara Kuriger - 2/10
Says she wants ot help promote regional growth. Her own area is doing well but it's clear she hasn't had much impact anywhere else."
List MP Melissa Lee- 2/10
"Probably should be considering another career. Her bus has well and truly pulled out."
Kaikoura MP Stuart Smith - 2/10
Replaced an MP who was a waste of space, but proving he's better is tough as well, says transTasman.
Coromandel MP Scott Simpson, Rodney MP Mark Mitchell, List MP Brett Hudson and List MP Nuk Korako - all on 2.5/10
On Simpson, transTasman says: "Can't seem to get anyone's attention outside the committee he chairs". On Mitchell, they say: "Another holder of a safe seat. A good example of why we should consider fixed terms for MPs." Hudson: "We said he would have to prove he is anything more than a lightweight. So far still punching at his expected level." Korako: A man considered genial by most, who has done nothing to change anyone's opinion.
Top five - Labour
Annette King - 6.5/10
Struggles to shake off the mantle of the 90s but is still a dominant force in the party. Labour will need her experience heading into a tough election in 2017.
Andrew Little - 6/10
Making a good first of the leadership, getting his MPs on side and on message. Still not using all his MPs strengths to full advantage. Polls need to move quickly and needs better advice.
Kelvin Davis - 6/10
Gets up the PM's nose and has a social conscience.....is ready to be thrown into the attack and relishing it.
Chris Hipkins - 6/10
If Labour ever gets back into power, he will be at the top table.
Phil Twyford 6/10
Another of the young Labour stars who has worked his heart out on housing and transport issues. Deserves a big role in the next Labour Government.
Bottom five - Labour
Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene - 2/10
Another MP going nowhere fast. No prospect of advancement.
Port Hills MP Ruth Dyson - 2/10
Another Labour MP on her last legs. Needs to move on.
Mangere MP Su'a William Sio -2.5/10
His role is to deliver the Pacific Island vote and as long as he is there he probably will
List MP Clayton Cosgrove, Mana MP Kris Faafoi, Tamaki Makaurau MP Peeni Henare, List MP Sue Moroney, Manukau East MP Jenny Salesa, Ikaroa Rawhiti MP Meka Whaitiri - 3/10
Cosgrove is "a shadow of his old self" and on the outer - probably time to go, says trans-Tasman. Of the others, it says Faafoi had promise, but is yet to deliver, Moroney has worked hard but "it's not enough", Salesa has talent but hasn't shown it and Henare has had no memorable moments so far.
NZ First leader Winston Peters - 7/10
Stealing the Northland by-election from National proves once again his political judgement rarely fails him and he doesn't need pollsters to tell him where the voter sentiments lie. He still holds dreams of being king-ma
Green Party co-leader James Shaw - 5.5/10
"One to watch. Could be a real threat to Labour and deserves to be where he is."
National had five MPs increase their score from last year, five stay the same and 33 decrease their score.
Labour had no MPs rise, four stay the same and 22 drop.