2019 ended in tragedy when Whakaari decided to let everyone know she was upset, taking the lives of 17 with a further two missing and injuring many others. A very sad event which shocked our wee nation to its core and put New Zealand in the international news.
While absolutely tragic in every way, this death toll is eclipsed by the tragedy that occurs on our roads every day of the year. Three hundred and fifty-one people have died on our roads as at December 30, 2019.
Commentators like to review the preceding twelve months yearly around Christmas time. I love sport and enjoy politics so will stick to these.
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In terms of politics the coalition Government's year of transformation did not happen.
Housing issues remain unresolved, highways are still clogged in various parts of the country with no action in sight to relieve congestion other than the pipe dream from the Green Party that we should all walk, cycle and use public transport.
A big ask in provincial and rural New Zealand.
But then the majority of Green Party voters are inward-looking urbanites unaware that past the Bombay Hills, the Ngauranga Gorge and across Cook Strait there is a whole country of people who now have to rely on the personal motor vehicle to actually live and thrive in that huge rural sector that provides the cities the export earnings we all need to enjoy our standard of living.
On the upside, the Government has started to improve our ageing railway infrastructure. Well done.
It has also improved funding for families, put in place a heating allowance for the old and sick as well as beneficiaries, done its best to deal with miscreant landlords gouging tenants and is trying to increase police by 1800 on top of existing staff in three years.
This last goal will not be achieved within three years and they have already moved the goal posts by removing the word "net" from the promise, calling the Police Commissioner and the Police Association president liars for actually believing the original promise and trying to hold them to it. I know who I believe.
This Government is only being held together by the charisma of the prime minister and the hunger for power of the deputy prime minister, but is now starting to fade with all the broken promises that are stacking up.
2019 was really the year of compromise for this Government just in order to stay in power. 2020 will only be worse when New Zealand First really starts playing games in order to win back its lost voter base, the oldies. Look out for election bribes, they are coming.
The sporting year has been average, to say the least.
The Rugby World Cup was brilliant until the semifinal when many of the All Blacks did not bother turning up.
Being on the end of a good old-fashioned butt-kicking by England on the world stage will probably be good for the ABs in the long run, I am really trying to convince myself of that.
The only consolation was South Africa beating England in the final, so at least the cup stays in the southern hemisphere, its natural habitat by now.
There was another bitter pill to swallow when the Black Caps were denied the one-day Cricket World Cup on a technicality, seeing the English team again march away a winner.
New Zealand performed well in some other sports events.
Road cycling saw George Bennett shine in the Tour de France.
New Zealand, over the past few years, is stamping itself as a country of very tough riders in this gruelling, almost month long event.
I can see the day when New Zealand riders form a big part of a Kiwi-sponsored team in professional road-cycling.
It has been an interesting year on the personal front, becoming a granddad for the first time, selling my first book and getting the chance to talk to you all weekly via this column.
I hope you all had a happy Christmas and wish you all a prosperous and enjoyable New Year.
• Rob Rattenbury is a Whanganui based freelance writer.