Matt McCarten on politics

Matt McCarten is a Herald on Sunday political columnist

Matt McCarten: Sinners and saints on both sides

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Len Brown was the biggest loser. Photo / Richard Robinson
Len Brown was the biggest loser. Photo / Richard Robinson

My political winners and losers for the year.

Losers

5. Peter Dunne. The Hypocrite. Always pompous and self-righteous about the conduct of fellow parliamentarians so his exposure as a possible sneaky leaker tarnishes him.

4. Pita Sharples. Santa's Wee Helper. The undermining by his fellow MPs forced his humiliating resignation as co-leader. His public persona of being John Key's little helper leaves a legacy of his once radical party morphing into a mere adjunct of the National Party.

3. David Shearer. The Good Man. Was decent and smart enough but didn't have the inside party experience. His public performances were the death of him. It will take some time to rebuild his career and image. Cunliffe owes him nothing so it'll be a long road.

2. John Banks. The Hard Man. A Christian fundamentalist moralist accused of cheating and lying. He's quitting and heading to court. A sad end to a poor boy who tried to make good.

1. Len Brown. The Sinner. A leader of the left in public who in private believed he was entitled to the good life of the elites. A man who gained the whole world, but lost his soul. Can he be redeemed?

Winners

5. Winston Peters. The Master. He doesn't do much, but doesn't need to. His execution of Dunne shows he's still the master. The favourite to be kingmaker after next year's election.

4. Russel Norman. The Enigma. He has made the Greens serious economic players and was the main grunt behind the asset referendum. It'll be difficult for Labour to keep him away from a finance role in Cabinet.

3. John Key. The Lucky One. He's still the favourite to lead the country. The economy under his watch is doing just fine. He rules unchallenged but is starting to show signs of arrogance. His churlish response to losing the referendum was sulky.

2. Colin Craig. The Fringe Dweller. He's now in the mainstream because Key needs him. Out of electoral desperation, National will give him one of their seats to bring in several more MPs. Provided he keeps away from some of his nutty ideas, he could be National's salvation.

1. David Cunliffe. The Contender. He's finally got the job he feels he deserved in 2011. He's made the fight competitive and invigorated his party. The byelection win in Christchurch was massive. If he can manage his relationships with possible coalition partners and get his constituency to the polls, he will be prime minister next Christmas.

- Herald on Sunday

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