Well, where did all those (metaphorical) storm clouds go then?
One minute we were talking ourselves into a right old funk, the next minute the sun was rising into clear blue skies with the birds twittering away merrily.
As I reflected at the end of October and then a few weeks later the 'year of delivery' from the coalition government had turned out to be nothing of the sort. But I said then the closing weeks of the year were looming as crucial scene-setters for next year, which of course just happens to be an election year.
To my mind, four key events stood out as being pivotal - these were the Reserve Bank's Official Cash Rate review on November 13, the RBNZ's Financial Stability Report (FSR) on November 27, the RBNZ's final decisions on bank capital on December 5 and the Government's Half-Year Fiscal and Economic Update (HYEFU).
I thought the OCR would be lowered again (from the current 1% to 0.75%) and it wasn't. I thought in its FSR the RBNZ would loosen the limits on high loan to value ratio (LVR) lending - and it didn't. I thought the bank capital requirements decision would keep a tough face but include some crucial softening that would show the ridiculous pre-announcement posturing of the big banks to be what it was. And I thought Grant Robertson would produce some pre-Christmas infrastructure spending goodies.
So, I'm running at about a 50% efficiency ratio in terms of my predictive powers. But far more importantly, these big pre-Christmas announcements have collectively painted a much more glowing picture of the economy than was visible just a few short weeks ago and will be sending everybody off on to the beach for their holidays in a good mood. In short, the four announcements have all run in favour of the economy, and crucially ahead of the election, for the Government.
What do we make of it all?
Clearly the business confidence surveys were wrong. I feel personally a bit chastened by all this, because I'm not a fan of surveys and opinion polls at all. Generally I've always tried to avoid giving too much credence to opinion polls and surveys. This year I've joined the crowd and did give credence to the ever-dropping business confidence figures - just because they were so bad. To my mind surveys that bad had to be pointing towards adverse future intentions when it came to things like investment and employment.
Off the boil
The economy HAS come off the boil, so moderation of business confidence levels was to be expected. I think the fact that the Government made such a hash of its 'year of delivery' (and personally I don't think the Government should ever be let off the hook for the unmitigated disaster that was KiwiBuild) led to business leaders 'venting' in those surveys. And I think that's absolutely understandable. Businesses need certainty and with a Government that was often sending hugely contradictory signals, the past year cannot have been comfortable for those running companies.
Obviously though, the stated intentions of business leaders in those various confidence surveys have not been matched by their actions. Yes, the economy has slowed. It has not ground to a halt. And nor, seemingly is it going to - unless of course something very untoward happens globally, which is always a distinct possibility.
Does this all mean that everything is after all 'fine' and that we can look forward to a glorious year of economic prosperity?
Well no. The next year promises to have ups and downs for sure.
The improving mood of the country over the past few weeks probably just gets us back to a more 'realistic' perspective. We had collectively as a nation been standing in front of the bathroom mirror shouting "boo!" at our reflections.
Oh, the relief
What we are now seeing is something like a 'relief' rally. It doesn't mean things are necessarily going to be brilliant for the economy next year - but it does turn out we were not justified in getting ourselves into such a right old state.
To go back to the big four set-pieces I referred to earlier, it's worth breaking down what each of them has meant.
The decision not to lower the OCR, when it was widely expected that it would be lowered, was a vital boost. My best guess would be that at the time it made the decision the RBNZ had a least some inkling that the Government was going to announce something in the way of fiscal support and therefore the RBNZ was in a position to wait and see what happened over the Christmas and New Year period before coming at things again fresh in February, when the next OCR decision will be made.
The decision not to relax the LVRs may well have hinged on the RBNZ's reading of the results from its own household inflation expectations survey - showing a large spike in expectations of house price rises - and of the much stronger October mortgage lending figures.
Yes, the house market is awakening and that will have done much to perk up the mood of the country. In a housing obsessed nation like this one, the whiff of rising house prices always gets those fortunate enough to have their own house whistling.
The clouds have lifted
On the bank capital proposals, I think ultimately the RBNZ has handled that very well. The upshot is that banks will have to carry more capital, but they are going to be able to achieve that and they are probably not going to have too many excuses to start rationing lending or pushing interest rates up aggressively. So, that's definitely one cloud lifted from the horizon.
The fact is, no matter how much of the banks' pre-announcement posturing was just, well, posturing, we didn't need an ongoing state of antipathy between the major banks and our central bank.
What of next year then?
I'm not going to make big predictions. I've already indicated to you in this column that I'm reasonably lousy at that (well, 50% success rate - I suppose my glass is half full if we want to be all upbeat about it).
What I'm going to be looking out for though is how a few key things pan out.
As ever I think the housing market will be real important in setting the mood of the nation over the next year. With the OCR now seemingly on hold, it is possible we have seen the bottom (finally) of the mortgage rates. That would certainly encourage those so inclined to go out and buy now.
If the summer housing market is as buoyant as early indications suggest it might be then that's going to set a very positive mood for the first half of the year. The prospect of rising house prices generally gets the wallets out of jackets and gets a bit of money circulating.
How will it hold up?
Then it's a question of seeing whether the economy does hold up okay. Any signs of weakness and of course the RBNZ may have to go back to the well with another OCR cut. And that would change the mood again.
And then we need to see whether the Government, having signalled plans for more spending on infrastructure, actually gets any money out of the door before the election. It will have a strong incentive to do so, but it's record in terms of actual implementation is to this point not good.
All these things put together are likely to be very significant when it comes to the mood of the nation in deciding which way to vote in next year's election.
The only thing I would confidently predict is that the outcome of the election is likely to be a close one. Having staggered through its year of non-delivery the coalition will have been re-energised by the events of the past few weeks.
Which way the election goes now will be very dependent on which way the economy swings in the New Year.