By Gareth Vaughan
Wow, 2020 eh?! It has truly been a year like no other.
A global pandemic has introduced us to lockdowns, working from home, social distancing, managed isolation and face masks. We've seen one party win a majority under our MMP voting system for the first time, the Reserve Bank embark on quantitative easing, and even with the country closed to immigration, we again have a red hot housing market.
Despite the challenges we've faced in Aotearoa during 2020, it has been one of the better places to spend 2020.
Now, with the Prime Minister having granted Santa Claus a border exemption so he can visit New Zealand to deliver Christmas presents, it must be time for our annual Interesties Awards. Looking back through previous years tells me this is the tenth version of our light-hearted annual awards. How time flies...
With thanks to Jenée Tibshraeny for assistance with the awards, here are the 2020 Interesties where we find out what Santa has in his sack for the people who made our news this year. As ever, we welcome your comments, and suggested additional awards, in the comment thread below. (All previous versions of our annual Interesties can be found here).
It has been a big year in politics thus this year's awards are heavily weighted towards politicians. I've endeavoured to limit people to one award each. However, in the case of a certain president that just wasn't possible.
Just before we get into the awards, let's start with a joke at the expense of the great vampire squid of the global financial markets...
BREAKING: Goldman Sachs puts out note confirming they will continue their existing “social distancing” best practices between clients and their money that they have had in place for years.— Adam B. Scott (@AdamBScott1979) March 14, 2020
The Worst Impression of a Coherent Political Party Award - The National Party.
The Musical Chairs Award - Shared by the National Party's three leaders during the year - Simon Bridges, Todd Muller and Judith Collins.
The Cyclist and Beach Goer of the Year Award - David Clark.
The Hyperbole Award - Judith Collins for her claim in a July 29 press release that “by Christmas, as many as 500,000 Kiwis may be unemployed."
The Ngati Epsom Award - Paul Goldsmith.
The Groundhog Day Award - Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews who held media briefings for 120 consecutive days during his state's massive COVID-19 outbreak.
The Best Impersonation of John Key in Ruling Things Out While PM and Playing Down an Overheating Property Market Award - Jacinda Ardern.
The NZ Politician Seemingly Most Keen to Import US Culture Wars to NZ - David Seymour.
The Growing Crystals Award - James Shaw.
The Pulled the Handbrake and Then Got Left Behind Award - Winston Peters.
The Conspired in His Own Political Demise Award - Jami-Lee Ross for teaming up with Billy Te Kahika in Advance NZ.
The Passing the Buck Award - Grant Robertson for fingering the Reserve Bank over housing.
The Who's That Award - The new ACT and Labour MPs whose names we're still learning.
The COVID-19 Immunity Award - The housing market.
The David Copperfield Disappearing Award - Shared between immigrants and overseas tourists.
The Fire Starter Award - Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr for the assistance of super low interest rates and quantitative easing in firing up the housing market.
The Most Shameless Property Spruiker of the Year Award - Several contenders but Ashley Church takes the gong. Here's one of his efforts here.
The Please Save Us From Ourselves Award - The country's major banks in regards to their high loan-to-value ratio housing lending.
The Corporate IT Egg on Face Award - Share market operator NZX for its daylight savings blunder.
The We Got Everything Wrong About COVID Again and Again Award - The shock jocks and media pundits out there who did exactly this. They know who they are.
The What Goes Down Must Go Up Award (with apologies to Isaac Newton) - The economy.
The Whoopsie Daisy Award - The public servant who accidentally clicked on the wrong file that ended up in Parliament passing the wrong bill enabling billions of public money to be lent to businesses.
Dick of the Year Award - COVID-19. (My kids loved the "COVID-19 you dick" line in the ad below).
The Hindsight Award - Economic forecasters.
The Peak 2020 Award - Claudia Conway, teenage daughter of Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway, reveals her mother has COVID-19 on TikTok. COVID-19✓, Trump✓, TikTok✓.
The Muse of the Year Award - Donald Trump. Just what will the world of satire do when/if Donald Trump leaves the White House? He has been a source of endless material for the past four years, as demonstrated by Sarah Cooper below...
How to Compilation Volume 1 https://t.co/mIW1IYGQEp— Sarah Cooper (@sarahcpr) June 29, 2020
...Translate Trump. And this was before Trump caught the actual virus...
Is there anything more poetic than Donald Trump being taken down by a Chinese virus named after a Mexican beer?— Translate Trump (@TranslateRealDT) March 12, 2020
...And John Cleese.
The Worst Speech of the Year Award - Donald Trump's Oval Office address in March. Supposed to calm a nervous nation, instead it caused chaos with the President erroneously saying the US was banning trade and cargo from Europe. Nouriel Roubini, Dr Doom, was not impressed.
Stock market gives his instant verdict on the empty speech by clown Joker Trump: futures for Thursday open crash down another 5% after equities have fallen already into a bear market (-20%)after a 5% free fall on Wednesday pic.twitter.com/Cu5MfNBjDp— Nouriel Roubini (@Nouriel) March 12, 2020
And nor was Financial Times associate editor Edward Luce...
I suspect that was the single worst - and most counter-productive - presidential address in history— Edward Luce (@EdwardGLuce) March 12, 2020
The Most Entertaining Article About the Four Seasons Total Landscaping Press Conference Award - Richard Hill, The Independent. Here's the intro.
It began, as all good 2020 capers do, with a tweet from the president of the United States. It ended with his personal lawyer in the parking lot of a landscaping company, struggling to be heard over a man in his underpants shouting about George Soros.
Comeback of the Year Award - Borat. Perfectly timed for 2020.
The Highest Profile New Zealander Most of Us Hadn't Heard of Before 2020 Award - Ashley Bloomfield.
Most Over Used Cliche of the Year Award - The team of five million.
The New COVID Community Case Supermarket of Choice Award - Countdown. There always seemed to be a Countdown undergoing a deep clean whenever a new COVID community case or quarantine escapee emerged.
The Soviet Era/Muldoon Era Law of the Year - All the intricate COVID-19 gathering restriction rules introduced around the world.
Did you hoard too much toilet paper at the onset of COVID-19 earlier in the year? If so, then check out the festive season game below for an idea on how to use that mountain of toilet paper.
I can't confirm whether the picture below is set to feature in a new Tui beer billboard advertising campaign.
In a year of crazy charts, think COVID-19 case numbers, the bitcoin price, US unemployment and NZ house prices to name a few, I've gone for this ridiculously flat one below for Chart of the Year.
Finally, thanks to all those who've made informative, entertaining and humorous contributions to interest.co.nz this year adding to the discussion and debate. We really appreciate it.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!