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
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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 business columnist Matthew Hooton.
Following the Christchurch mosque terror attack, Hooton had high praise for PM Ardern's reponse to the tragedy. "In the last week," he wrote, "Jacinda Ardern has demonstrated the empathy of Ronald Reagan after the Challenger disaster and the steely resolve of Margaret Thatcher after the Brighton hotel bombing." This changed the political context in New Zealand.
While Jacinda Ardern declared 2019 the "year of delivery", Hooton reckoned that for NZ First, it must be the "year of divorce" - or at least an initial move into the spare room. Policy-wise, he wrote, the Coalition was clearly failing - with no obvious progress on health, education, poverty, homelessness or mental health.
In April, Hooton wrote that should an election be held at the time, Jacinda Ardern would win in a landslide. Due to the sense of national unity and pride following Ardern's empathetic and decisive response to the Christchurch terrorist attack, she could be confident in securing a Labour-only Government.
In February, Hooton predicted that the probability of SIr Michael Cullen's capital gains tax (CGT) ever being implemented was close to zero. While Labour's plan was to recommend a modest new tax, Cullen recommended "the world's most severe CGT", with a rate of 33 per cent for those earning over $70,000 a year in their ordinary job.
When Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced a Wellington transport package in May - involving a billion-dollar-plus airport tram - inquries by the Opposition revealed a secret letter from Green MP Julie Anne Genter in the background. The process of unveiling this letter, showed the Official Information Act (OIA) was broken, according to Hooton.