Stuff have published their 2019 political awards. They include:
- Rookie on the rise: National MP Hamish Walker has a long career ahead of him. This year he made a lot of political hay over the downgrading of the Lumsden Maternity Centre, to such a point that he entered the preferred prime minister polls. Not bad for a guy who was only elected in 2017.
- Backbencher of the year: National MP Nicola Willis, for the second year running. This year Willis, a former staffer for John Key, ran a strong campaign against Julie Anne Genter over Wellington transport. One to watch.
- Party leader of the year: Simon Bridges began the year with the rot of the Jami-Lee Ross saga hanging over him, and the airing of real questions over his leadership. He’s put those questions to bed and has kept the party vote up in the polls.
- Politician of the year: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had a year for the history books. Her response to Christchurch hit the exact right note – not just rhetorically but also legislatively. It was not a perfect year but it’s unlikely to be one she will ever top.
So National MPs got rookie of the year, backbencher of the year and party leader of the year. Not bad. And I wouldn’t quibble with Ardern getting politician of the year on the basis of her response to Christchurch.