Well, it's about time to review the past year, which for me personally, has been almost entirely abominable. It's confronted me with death, twice, of people I was very close to. However this is not about me, it's about history, politics and what I found interesting.
This was the year the wheels truly came off the Labour machine. The well oiled spin doctoring, and schmoozing of the electorate has worn thin, and the public is truly fed up with Helen Clark and the Labour government. With polling now below when Labour got elected in 1999 (and remember Labour also had 7% from the Alliance to add onto that then), and National now polling at levels unseen since the 1975 crushing victory by Muldoon - and this is with MMP - it looks like John Key and National can sleepwalk to victory. Of course it cannot, Clark cannot be written off yet - the tax cut bribe is yet to come, and Labour can rely on a core 25% of voters who suckle off of the state tit in one mindless way or another. Expect it to get dirtier, Labour has already tried this and failed, several times, for it to stick. The true colours of Michael Cullen, once thought of as the steady hand on the finances, have come home to roost with his vile attack on John Key for being wealthy - the envious claw of the academic who loves political power over self made success. John Key and National have shown themselves as nothing greater than quietly keeping their mouths shut, unable to assert much or believe in anything. Note the opposition to the Electoral Finance Bill was a bit after the event, and after many others agitated against it - National sniffs the winds and goes with them - business as usual then.
Beyond the two main parties, the other parliamentary parties have at best been absent, and worst been shown up for the appeasers of big government that they are. The Greens have been burnt by the Electoral Finance Bill, and the absence of Rod Donald. Looking more and more like a tired cracked record wanting more and more government, they are no longer that interesting, but can't be ruled out. Few would bet the Greens will drop below 5%. NZ First is a thoroughly spent force, Winston Baubles Peters sold out on the Electoral Finance Bill, and his constituency continues to appear in the obituary columns than as new members. Peter Dunne's last minute opposition to the Electoral Finance Bill wont save his party from becoming a one man band, he looks like a Labour Minister, you clearly don't change the government by voting United Future. Finally, where is ACT? and the Maori Party continues its racist blunderings in sympathising with Robert Mugabe and throwing around the word "racist" whenever it doesn't get its own way.
The public thinks in a two party manner again, with the small parties having barely any relevance - except that National will not forget to remind voters than NZ First, United Future and the Greens keep Labour in power.
Footnote: Yes the Nats won, Labour lost, and the Greens got a small boost. Winston was wiped out to spend three years out, Peter Dunne lost his last colleague and ACT surprisingly picked up a bit, as did the Maori Party. Still a lot has happened since.