It's that time when we reflect on the year gone by and wonder what awaits us for the next 12 months. Its that wonderful time of year when families are with each other, friends catch up and children wait with much anticipation for the old guy in red.
Like many old boomers I like to keep an eye on my employees in Parliament, some fairly elected by the good people of their respective constituencies, and others appointed by a favoured pecking order to blindly and, in some cases rabidly, espouse the dogma for their particular brand of politics.
It is a good time to look back at a few of our leading members of our Parliament and their performance over the past 12 months. In terms of politics I am a swinger, so not dyed in the wool about any particular ideology.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is having some challenges with her transformational Government.
Not much is actually being transformed due, partly, to the constraints of her coalition partner NZ First. However if kindness, empathy, communication skills and charisma were what makes a great Prime Minister, she would be New Zealand's finest.
Her truly compassionate handling of the tragedy of the mosque shootings and the recent tragedy at Whakaari was superb and genuine.
She has a tough year coming up with NZ First starting to get into election mode, drawing lines in the sand and hoping their base will forget the party's betrayal in 2017.
She is loved on the world stage but that will not cut much ice with an electorate that is not seeing issues of child poverty, housing and health addressed. I could have a savor two with her and Clark.
Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges is also having a rough time of it.
He is unfortunate to not have the charisma of the PM, and one gets the feeling he does not have the confidence of his caucus.
He seems to be warming the seat for the next incumbent, possibly Judith Collins, and then Christopher Luxon, once he gets his feet under the table next term.
His handling of the Jamie Lee Ross "affair" and the donations scandal still haunts him. He will stay Leader of the Opposition until at least after the 2020 election.
If National loses he will be gone, and Judith arrives. One polite half-pint perhaps.
Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard has the unenviable job of trying to manage a raucous Parliament.
Being an ex schoolteacher, he always looks like he is in the last period of the day and wants the bell to go. He tries hard to hide his fondness for the Government and his utter disdain for Simon Bridges and Paula Bennett.
National is lucky that he enjoys a good personal friendship and a love of rugby with Gerry Brownlee. He is quick to penalise National but lets Labour get away with blue murder. Great to share a joke with.
Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters, the old salty dog of politics.
I was a very young man when he became a National MP in 1979, now I am a pensioner and he is still going strong. Winnie has the art of snake-oil salesmanship perfected but he needs to work on his body language.
The eyelids fluttering when he is under pressure from the media is a sure sign he is fibbing outrageously. He is the darling of the grey set, the old charmer in a suit with the winning smile and the ability to say whatever anyone wants to hear.
His performance in the house is disruptive at the right time and he likes to play the man or woman rather than the ball. He is never one to let the real truth get in the way of a good joke. Good to have a whisky with.
Co-Leader of the Greens James Shaw is the only sound and sane performer amongst that weird far corner of the house. He is with the wrong crowd. He could fit into either National or Labour with his views on business and the economy. Probably a nice guy to have a beer with.
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Act leader Davis Seymour is the Nigel-no-mate of the House. No one listens to him but he punches above his weight at times. He has had some successes. He needs a couple of mates which may happen after the next election. Could be good for a laugh and a pint.
Standouts for not standing out would be Andrew Bayly, Dan Bidois, Paulo Garcia, Harete Hipango, Chris Penk, Scott Simpson, Erica Stanford, Tim van de Molen and Jian Yang. They may be quiet achievers but they need to be out there more if their party or constituency are to employ them again after the election.
Season's Greetings to you all.