At this time of year, lacking any real news to report or comment on, columnists shoddily resort to lists of the best and worst of last year, silly awards, mock school report cards and tortuous alphabets telling you things like "A is for the Agony Helen Clark felt on election night, B is for the Boredom of covering the House ..."
It is a cheap trick used to fill an otherwise blank page in the paper and keep the editor off the back of columnists who are otherwise desperately trying to get back outside in the sun and rev up the barbie for lunch.
I shall not resort to such a lazy device as looking back at the year that was. No, I will put on my turban, whip out a crystal ball and tell you now what will be hot and what will be not hot in politics this year.
Where are you on the list? Okay, that too is a cheap trick but, hey, at least I'm trying.
HOT in 2009
Well, he is the Prime Minister; all power and patronage is in his hands; the previous three National Party leaders never won an election and, after a near-decade of idle tedium sitting in opposition, the National caucus will cry "Hosanna!" every time he walks into the House.
Working in the Beehive
New governments mean new jobs for the boys and girls. Plenty of changes to be made mean the place will be buzzing with energy and excitement. Well, for the first six months, anyway.
Government press secretaries
Those who were Opposition press secretaries will find the journos are nicer to them now they have the ear of a minister and access to real secrets. Those who were journalists and now have become press secretaries will discover just how much they never knew and quickly become somewhat contemptuous of their old Gallery colleagues.
He may not be the highest-ranked Cabinet minister and he's been saddled with the millstone of Broadcasting, and the thankless task of backing up John Key in the flagging tourism industry, but he is Minister of Immigration so he has the power to grant migrants residency status. Every MP in Parliament will come to him for immigration favours for their constituents and he can leverage this to extract all kinds of political favours in return.
As Speaker, Lockwood gets a cool apartment in Parliament; everyone has to kiss his butt because he wields such huge power on the hill; plus he gets to wear a flowing gown and a rather fetching wig.
The economy may be tanking but the lobbying industry has gone into high gear as sector groups and businesses try to wring concessions and benefits from the new government. Plus the lobbyists' lunch budgets go up as they have to wine and dine a whole new bevy of power brokers.
Someone is going to have replace the shrinking public service.
Heavy construction companies
How many billions is National planning to spend on building infrastructure? There's your profits for the next three years.
Roll on the next wave of tax cuts.
NOT HOT in 2009
There is nothing lonelier and more dreary than three gloomy years sitting on the Opposition backbenches. Once you had power, now you do not.
New Zealand First ex-MPs
Actually, there is something worse than being in opposition. Being out of Parliament. No perks, no prestige, no free taxis - 2009 will suck.
You know the government hates you, is trying to figure out how to fire you and, even if you survive the purge, the minister will slash your budgets.
Under Labour, your career flourished. National sees you as waste, a non-core service. Think about retraining as a consultant.
Any power over government policy the unions once had has now evaporated for at least three years. They will now have to go back to the much harder job of protecting their members' rights.
Politicians used to talk to you because you controlled immense wealth. Now you are skint and likely to want a hand-out, you have become a pariah.
Everyone hates you and Gerry Brownlee wants to bust your chops because it will be popular. Besides, he hasn't beaten anyone up for ages.
Because you won't get a tax cut and the Government keeps making nasty noises about how you should get a job.