As we say goodbye to 2019 and welcome in 2020, 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 five from investment columnist Brian Gaynor.

Tax plan likely to go the way of the Titanic

Back in February, Gaynor wrote that the recommendations from the Tax Working Group (TWG) clearly showed that the New Zealand stock exchange couldn't win a trick. After the NZX and Financial Markets Authority announced a joint study to "focus on accelerating the growth of our capital market", the TWG kneecapped the initiative.

The trials of Eric Watson

. Watson and his companies, including Cullen Group, ended up oweing a massive $203.7m because of court decisions in the UK and New Zealand. Brian Gaynor reported on the events that led to this situation.

Numbers reveal the scale of Fonterra's failure

Columns on Fonterra usually receive heated and emotional responses - so it's no surprise that this was one of Gaynor's most read columbns of the year. He focused on the naive attitude that the farmgate milk price and co-op dividends are the key issues for dairy farmers, and why this is a major contributor to the poor performance of their company.


Hisco's excesses were endorsed by directors

While former ANZ Bank New Zealand CEO David Hisco was publicly humiliated over personal expenses, Gaynor reported that this humiliation hadn't been fully endorsed by the top end of Auckland. Despite his failings, Gaynor wrote that at least across the Tasman, Hisco should be lauded for extracting so much cash out of the NZ economy.

Why Aussies are winning retirement race

In January, a major Australian Productivity Commission report on superannuation presented an opportunity to compare retirement savings on both sides of the Tasman. Unfortunately, the comparisons were not flattering - Gaynor explained why New Zealanders have significantly less retirement assets than Australians and how can we reduce this massive gap.