The Tron's winners of 2013
And yes, David Bennett really is on the listPAUL BARLOW
Waikato Times' columnist Paul Barlow gives us his winners for 2013
Even I can't miss how well the Chiefs managed to do this year, with back-to-back wins of Super Rugby titles - and even though they were snubbed for team of the year at the Rugby Awards, they're well deserved champions who once again showed that hard work and determination are great keys to success.
With a last minute swell of pressure before the election, Hamilton City Council gifted The Meteor to a trust group with the express purpose of saving it from any future attempts to sell it off. The City Council also agreed to more public art by accepting a gift from acclaimed artist Michael Parekowhai. Local film makers also did well, with locally produced film Serve & Protect winning People's Choice at the prestigious Show Me Shorts film festival this month, and Waikato films made the short list for Make My Movie and a Hamilton film from Hillcrest High took out the Someday Awards. All we need now is an art gallery...
While social media has been around for a while now this was the year it really started taking a hold in the lives of Hamiltonians. From the growth of the passionate #lovethetron movement through to the award-winning Hamilton Ring Road Twitter feed to election coverage in real time, it was a busy year for our smartphones.
The nature of elections being what they are we saw some winners there, including Mayor Julie Hardaker becoming the first re-elected mayor in 18 years.
While the campaign was highlighted with robot telephonists, water meters and fluoride the best part of the election process this year was seeing such a diverse range of candidates who all who brought something different to the table.
While Philip Yueng was elected Hamilton's first Chinese councillor the campaign run from Anjum Rahman was the first we've seen that combined social media, traditional campaign elements, a winning personality, and real heart. it's a pity Hamilton East voters went for mud slinging Garry Mallett instead and missed out on someone who is actually passionate about the city.
No really. If I had to pick one politician who surprised me in a good way though, it would have to be David Bennett, National Party MP for Hamilton East.
While I disagree with an awful lot of what National has done since coming to power, David surprised everyone by switching his vote on the Marriage Equality Act to support the historic legislation - being the only MP to do so in the process. The legislation itself will be seen as one of the defining moments of New Zealand history, a moment where we took a stand over what was right and what was easy - and David's choice to change his vote helped that. He can stand proud that he helped make New Zealand a better place before helping sell it off.