As we say goodbye to 2020 and welcome in 2021, it's a good time to catch up on the very best of the Herald columnists we enjoyed reading over the last 12 months. From politics to sport, from business to entertainment and lifestyle, these are the voices and views our audience loved the most. Today it's the top three from Fran O'Sullivan.
Ardern the master of political spin
Jacinda Ardern defied the Gods with her boasts that New Zealand was "the envy of the world" for eliminating the Covid-19 virus.
In August, Ardern took the stage at the Auckland Town Hall to launch Labour's election campaign, telling her supporters New Zealand was preparing to take on the huge challenge of rebuilding the economy in the wake of the Government's relative success in driving out the virus.
But the emergence of a new coronavirus cluster changed the rhythm of this election.
More to Liddell than Trump connection
When President Donald Trump pumped top aide Chris Liddell to be the next OECD boss, it was billed as (potentially) the first time an American might get the top job.
Liddell's New Zealand origins — he still retains dual citizenship — were merely incidental.
That didn't stop his New York-based PR endeavouring to drum up soft support back here once the nomination was in the pipeline.
He is still that cliche — "boy from Matamata" — after all.
But cue moral outrage down under once his nomination for the secretary-general's role was public.
Ardern and Morrison too slow to face big coronavirus question
There should have been only one serious topic on the agenda for the trans-Tasman prime ministerial talks in Australia back in February.
That is the Australian Prime Minister's decision to move ahead of international authorities and warn his country to prepare for a coronavirus pandemic, and if, or even when, the New Zealand Prime Minister would follow suit.
And even more importantly, what joint actions would the two prime ministers take to keep the citizens of Australasia safe?