Political awards

I’m not going to dish out political award – like that vast majority of New Zealanders I have no idea how our MP’s actually work beneath the vanity veneer of PR and the fog of media wars.

Journalists have been somewhat distracted this month with actual political news to deal with but some have managed to review the year.

Tracy Watkins and Vernon Small: Didn’t see that coming: A year of political bombshells

It was the year no-one saw coming. A year when everything we thought we knew about politics was tipped on its head. Brexit. Donald Trump.

No one sees what’s coming, but Brexit and Trump certainly went against most predictions.

Brexit means major changes for the UK and for Europe.

Trump looks like meaning major changes for the US and potentially for the world.

John Key quitting. So much for a quiet year between elections.  There wasn’t a Beehive staffer or Press Gallery journo who wasn’t wilting in the final week before Christmas.

While Key’s resignation excited the local pundits in what is usually a wind down period it is not anywhere near being in the same league.

So far the only changes are a few tweaks to Government under a Prime Minister who was already a major influence, and a few tweaks to ministerial responsibilities that most people won’t notice.

It perhaps opens up next year’s election a bit, but despite Labour’s glee it may not end up making much difference in what was already regarded as an uncertain election. Everyone is still predicting Winston will be ‘king maker’ – and even that’s no change from the last couple of elections.

Watkins and Small name Key as Politician of the Year – for resigning?

Apart from that it was a fairly uneventful and unremarkable year for Key. Most notable was his lack of success in changing the flag and despite getting the TPP over the line it now looks to be dead in the US  water. I wouldn’t say that Key had an award winning year.

They dish out a number of corny awards, but there is one that looks to be a deserved mention:

Backbencher of the year. National MP Mark Mitchell. He chaired the Foreign Affairs and Trade select committee through the divisive Trans Pacific Partnership legislation and helped turned hearings from being fractious to respectful, and even good-natured. On top of that he seems to have earned a reputation as an all-round nice guy, even from his political opponents, and got his reward with a ministerial promotion.

Most of the public probably haven’t heard of Mark Mitchell let alone are aware of his quiet achievements in Parliament.

There are 121 MPs in Parliament most of whom (if not all) are working hard and doing their best. Voters get to see little of this – all we usually see is a few attention seekers granted coverage by media who tend to accentuate the absurd and exaggerate a few issues and events.

If I was to do any award it would be not singling out a single person, it would be for the quiet achievers in Parliament who make a difference without being noticed by most of the people most of the time.

These MPs are the unsung backbone of our democracy.

Leave a comment


  1. David

     /  24th December 2016

    I find it quite surprising to myself how little it seems to matter that Key has resigned, and I quite liked him as a PM. I am strangely pleased he has quit and hoping the government might loose its abject fear of doing anything.
    The country is flying along though.

    • Yeah, I don’t care that Key has resigned either, he’d had enough after a full on ten years so fair enough for him to bail out.

      I think the economy is likely to be a bigger influence than one past Prime Minister, especial as the new Prime Minister is as responsible for the state of the economy as the old one.

    • I agree. He seemed indispensable but his leaving caused barely a ripple.

    • PDB

       /  24th December 2016

      No one cares because it is end of year and politics is far from most people’s minds. No doubt Key’s influence will be missed closer to the election.

  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  24th December 2016

    I’d give an award to the silent achievers in local government like our Mayor, John Carter, who go about quietly doing good with minimal media b.s. trying to make things work despite the mountain of bureaucracy heaped on our shoulders by Wellington paper pushers. I don’t know where they get the stomach for it.

  3. Klik Bate

     /  24th December 2016

    Still ‘looming large’ 😎

  4. artcroft

     /  24th December 2016

    I’d give Politician of the Year award to McCully for getting a resolution against settlement building in Palestine through the UN. Well done.

  5. Gezza

     /  24th December 2016

    Award Nominations for 2016

    Best PM. John Key – had the most experience.
    Quiet Achiever. Bill English
    Most Improved. Amy Adams.
    Messiest. Murray McCully.
    Disruptive in Class. Winston Peters.
    Most Obvious Bullshitter. Steven Joyce.
    Best Defence Minister. No nomination.
    Best Apology. Paula Bennet.
    Worst Apology. Andrew Little.
    No Apologies & No Prisoners. Marama Fox.
    Best Singer. Marama Fox.
    Best Ukelele Player. Te Ururoa Flavell
    Best Guitarist. David Shearer.
    Best Violinist. Metiria Turei/Andrew Little.
    Best Fiddler. John Key.


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