The voters are always right. Even when they are wrong, they are right. So observed Mike Moore after Labour suffered election defeat under his leadership in the early 1990s.
Moore's sermonising may have plumbed all of the philosophical depths of an advice column in the Reader's Digest or something that fell out of a Christmas cracker. But two decades on, his words have never been more pertinent or relevant.
New Zealand voters can be cruel, ruthless and unforgiving - more so when they are made to feel stupid. They are never to be taken for granted.
Despite that warning, the 2014 election campaign witnessed parties no longer listening to voters and instead engaging in a bidding war to end all bidding wars. Voters consequently felt they were being treated as really stupid.
The profligate promises reached their zenith in the most naked and desperate example of pork-barrel politics seen in a very long time - New Zealand First's commitment to reopen the hopelessly uneconomic Napier to Gisborne railway line.
But Internet Mana then made an even bigger leap into the spending abyss, promising free tertiary education to attract the youth vote. It simply was not credible. The youth vote was far more sensible. It found a home elsewhere.
The Greens sought to look like they were more fiscally responsible than National. They contracted an economic think tank to corroborate their numbers. No one believed them. Not even the think tank.
Along with Labour, the Greens promised a capital gains tax as a revenue-raising device to fund extra spending. It was the political equivalent of munching on cyanide pills. Labour stressed most people would end up not paying the tax. No one believed it. They believed it even less when Labour's leader could not say which items would be exempt from the tax.
Labour plugged on oblivious to the fact that its "we know best" arrogance was taking it down the road to oblivion.
National was the only party really listening to the voters. Some would argue too much so. National's leader has long had a proven track record for inclusion in a special clan of politicians once dubbed by David Lange as "poll-driven fruit cakes".
But National delivers what voters want - not what National thinks they should want - within reason and within fiscal boundaries.
One of the more intriguing and astute analyses of this year's election came from an unlikely quarter - the recently-appointed chief executive of the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research, Laurence Kubiak.
He argues Key's success as a politician is down to him coming across as anything but a politician.
Key and his Cabinet colleagues instead present themselves as the nation's managers and problem-solvers rather than ideologically-driven warriors seeking to impose their world view on everyone else.
The strategy reflects the fact that the bulk of voters no longer identify strongly with a political party.
Key has thus shifted the political battle away from being ideologically-based to being driven by the practical and the pragmatic, something which is in far greater harmony with the modern day voter.
With Key seeking to go further and align the national interest with National's interests, attacking him risks being marginalised from the political mainstream.
It was consequently difficult enough for the centre-left to make headway in 2014 without allowing a figure as polarising as Kim Dotcom to lead the charge against Key.
Voters felt disenfranchised by Dotcom's reach, financially and in the media, which was fixated on him.
They were angry that he tried to make most of the campaign null and void by announcing he would drop a bombshell in the final week which would destroy Key.
That Dotcom failed to deliver just made them more angry.
The backlash was enough to cement what turned out to be a stunning victory for Key.
Dotcom now talks wistfully of a return to the hustings in 2017. He should save his breath and what is left of his money.
The public's rejection of Internet-Mana and the failure likewise of Colin Craig's Conservative Party to clear the 5 per cent threshold reinforced confidence in the New Zealand Voter's good judgment not to fall into the arms of the next Flash Harry who comes across the horizon.
The trouncing of Dotcom made the New Zealand Voter a strong contender for Politician of the Year but for the total apathy which greeted the publication of Nicky Hager's book, Dirty Politics. The public, by and large, could not be bothered getting indignant about the abuse of power in the Prime Minister's office. Dirty politics was brushed under the carpet as being no different from normal politics.
That is disturbing. If anything, however, Dirty Politics only succeeded in strengthening support for Key and National. The hash that the Prime Minister has made of the whole wretched business has tarnished him but far less than he deserves. His scorecard is marked down accordingly.
But the bottom-line in politics is power - the gaining of it, the exercising of it and, just as crucially, the retention of it.
Key did that in 2014 by holding National's share of the vote at over 44 per cent for the third election in a row and above 47 per cent for the second in a row. Regardless of the sorry performances of National's opponents, these results are astonishing enough alone to secure Key the title of Politician of the Year.
But enough of him. It is time to hand out other awards in what has surely been the craziest year in New Zealand's political history.
Winners Andrew Little; Paula Bennett; Cameron Slater. Has Labour's luck finally changed? Little nearly did not make it back into Parliament following Labour's dreadful election. His victory in the party's subsequent leadership contest could hardly have been slimmer. But he has taken on the cloak of leadership with gusto. Labour finally has a game-changer. National would be foolish to still believe otherwise.
Bennett got the jobs she wanted in the Cabinet reshuffle. Now positioned as deputy leader-in-waiting as a minimum - and could go even higher when Key eventually departs.
Slater got slam-dunked by Dirty Politics; his influence within the corridors of power has consequently diminished. Outside, it has grown exponentially. Bad publicity is good news for Whale Oil.
Losers Labour's Grant Robertson; Winston Peters. Robertson's narrow defeat in the Labour leadership ballot partly compensated by reward of shadow finance portfolio. It is the Opposition benches for Peters - not the cross-benches. A world of difference.
Dog tucker Kim Dotcom, Jason Ede, Maurice Williamson and (almost but not quite) David Cunliffe, Hone Harawira and Laila Harre.
In the recovery room Judith Collins, David Parker and Colin Craig.
Survivors Peter Dunne, Te Ururoa Flavell.
On the rise National's Simon Bridges, Jonathan Coleman and Maggie Barry; Labour's Phil Twyford, Kelvin Davis, Carmel Sepuloni, David Clark and Megan Woods.
Gone but not forgotten Shane Jones, Tony Ryall, Act's Jamie Whyte and Tau Henare.
Gone and soon forgotten Kate Wilkinson, promised much as star of National's 2005 intake, but delivered little. Also Asenati Lole-Taylor and Andrew Williams, who were pushed down New Zealand First's list and out of Parliament .
Gone and instantly forgotten National list MP Claudette Hauiti, who quit after using her parliamentary credit card for personal spending; National's Colin "Mr Invisible" King. An MP for nine years whose sole claim to fame is to have absolutely no claim to fame.
Endangered speciesClayton Cosgrove - off Labour's front bench; Trevor Mallard's moa - off the planet.
Most expensive lapse of judgment Maurice Williamson's loss of his ministerial job after he contacted police in connection with an investigation into businessman Donghua Liu.
Missing in action The Prime Minister's memory.
Biggest fib Kim Dotcom's "moment of truth".
Outrageous fortune Brendan Horan picking up a tidy backbencher's salary for three years as an independent MP after being kicked out of New Zealand First. Democracy you can put a price on.
Quiet achiever Murray McCully and New Zealand's campaign for a seat on the United Nations Security Council. The mouse roared.
Best speech National's Steven Joyce and his merciless lampooning of David Cunliffe's many apologies.
Worst speech Cunliffe's misguided marathon conceding of defeat on election night.
Loony tunes Asenati Lole-Taylor's belief that the Reserve Bank is overseas owned; the Greens' Steffan Browning for suggesting homeopathic remedies be trialled as a cure for Ebola.
Mission impossible Jamie Whyte's fruitless efforts to breathe life into the cadaver otherwise known as Act.
Poacher turned gamekeeper Trevor Mallard, Parliament's perennial naughty boy, becomes an assistant Speaker.
Gift suggestions for Santa A detailed map of Christchurch airport for Gerry Brownlee, a copy of Dirty Politics for John Key so he can find out what was really going on in his office; a surplus of any kind for Bill English; a beer to cry into for David Cunliffe; a few thousand instant new homes in Auckland for Housing Minister Nick Smith; a new populist cause for Winston Peters so he can stop flogging his old ones to death.