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The Interesties 2013: Our annual awards are back

The Interesties 2013: Our annual awards are back
<a href="">Image sourced from</a>

After a three year break they're back.'s annual Interesties return in a light hearted look at the events and people that made our news this year.

As ever, we welcome your comments (and additional awards) below.

And here's wishing all readers a very Merry Christmas, and plenty of affordable housing and sustainable, environmentally friendly wealth in 2014.

Here's the 2010 Interesties and the 2009 version is here.

Housing awards

The Olly Newland Auckland landlord of the year: Jimmy Spithill. As the Aussie sailed a Warkworth built American billionaire's catamaran up and down San Francisco Bay, the NZ Herald informed us of Spithill's $7 million worth of Auckland investment property.

The Ripley's Believe it or Not award: Housing Minister Nick Smith and the Auckland Council for their ambition of building 39,000 new houses in Auckland over three years. Good luck.

The group most likely to be a political football in the election year of 2014: First home buyers.

The mortgage rates are going to rise and rise award: BNZ chief economist Tony Alexander pips Reserve Bank Governor Graeme Wheeler for this one.

The Olly Newland rents to double award - Olly Newland himself, of course.

Political awards

The worst use of a painting of himself & best excuse for living in Herne Bay award: David Cunliffe, see why here courtesy of TV3.

The we're going to hell in a handbasket award: Russel Norman for continual tirades on how National's ruining the economy.

Politician whose career is most likely to end in 2014: Now John Banks has withdrawn from contention, take your pick from Len Brown (assuming he makes it through 2013), Peter Dunne, Colin Craig, David Cunliffe or John Key.

The Auckland Hospitality Association award for promotion of the city's hotels: Len Brown.

The sight no one should have to see award: The security guard who interrupted Brown and Bevan Chuang. Ernst & Young, which probed Brown's antics, couldn't find him though (see below).

We were unable to identify the security guard who interrupted the mayor and Ms Chuang engaged in sexual activity in the Mayoral Office early one evening.

Commenter awards

Best nickname dished out by an commenter award: Leg over Len (Brown) by Christov.

Best poet among commenters award: Waymad. Some good competition for this one but several Waymad posts come to mind. Here's one of 'em;

In order to buy Cat and Duck
I pledge my dear Mobile, with luck
It's a German Mercedes
But, snowballs in Hades
the Wheels on this Deal are Unstuck

And here's the story it came from.

The most influential sporadic appearance award: Gummy Bear Hero.

The most effort towards saving the planet award: PDK.

Banking and corporate awards

The asserting independence award: Graeme Wheeler for introducing the residential mortgage loan-to-value ratio restrictions.

The back flipping award: Wheeler for deciding to exempt new house builds from the LVR restrictions. Sorry, a "policy adjustment", not a back down.

Best name in NZ banking & finance award: This one is shared by Tim Loan, the SBS Bank general manager for finance, and PwC budget expert Chris Money. Both narrowly pipped Money's colleague Henry Risk, PwC's FATCA director.

The Goldman Sachs award for services to investment banking: John Key for the SOE floats, SkyCity convention centre deal , the Tiwai Point smelter, Avatar deal...

The Dingo Deans award for services to their Australian shareholders by a New Zealander: Poor old Robbie himself wasn't in the running having been fired. The award goes instead to Ian Narev, CEO of ASB and Sovereign's parent Commonwealth Bank of Australia. A 10% rise in annual cash profit to A$7.819 billion, a 9% increase in dividends with the equivalent of 75.4% of cash profit paid out, and a return on equity of 18.4%. Not forgetting a share price that hit record highs.

Here's an interview I did with Narev in March, and here he is as Davie in the 1979 television series Children of Fire Mountain.

Best disappearing act award: the National Bank horse Cody (RIP). The ANZ bosses must be chuffed at how well the culling of the popular National Bank brand has gone.

Other awards

Quote of the year award: Plenty of contenders as ever, but here's the winner taken from Forsyth Barr emails on Credit Sails published by the Commerce Commission. Pure cynicism;

“Why can't we put the 8.5% in there with a tiny (1) next to it and then at the bottom in tiny text next to the (1) we put all their dumb language? This would be workable. We're not selling bloody cigarettes!”

The buck stops with me award: FMA boss Sean Hughes for his comments on David Ross/Ross Asset Management.

"I accept accountability for what has happened here. It happened on my watch. We authorised Mr Ross (as an Authorised Financial Adviser) and we've had to sit back and take a long hard look at what happened here," Hughes said in this interview here. (Okay, technically he said this in December 2012. But Hughes has left the building and deserves a gong for his efforts in tidying up the financial markets).

The best company initials award: Ross Asset Management (RAM) - given what happened to clients' money.

The Johannes Gutenberg award for services to printing presses: Japanese PM Shinzo Abe for Japan printing money like there's no tomorrow. Even the recipient of our investment banker award, John Key, thinks it's risky.

The worst timed corporate sponsorship award: ASB for signing up as Team NZ's official bank during the week Dean Barker & co took a 6-1 lead over Oracle. You know what happened next.

The Team NZ righting the boat in the nick of time award: ASB, which had been issuing low equity mortgage pre-approvals like they were going out of fashion, for effectively cancelling truck loads of them to enable it to meet the new Reserve Bank rules. Although some may prefer to call this the "thumbing their nose at would-be borrowers award."

The we can't go on as if nothing's wrong award: Fonterra CEO Theo Spierings for saying if farmers continue intensifying dairying in the same way they have in the past decade, Fonterra will "hit the wall in terms of sustainability and the environment."

Best impersonation of a stone dropped in water award: The Mighty River Power and Chorus share prices.

The hot air balloon award: This goes jointly to the Auckland housing market and Xero's share price. Up, up and away. At least for now.

The bubble blowing award: Bitcoin. Love the chart below, but Bitcoin has had some issues with China since then.

The Homer Simpson doh! moment of the year award: The Welshman who threw out a computer hard drive with more than £4 million worth of bitcoins in it.

The NZ local council doing the best impersonation of an insolvent southern European country award: Kaipara District Council.

The how the heck did it survive another year award? Europe's Economic and Monetary Union. As the excellent Michael Lewis notes in his book Boomerang; for the euro to survive the Greeks have to become culturally German, or the Germans have to become Greek. Not going to happen.

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.





Joyeux Noel to you too. Spend a little of the festive season thinking about whether you would like being 80 and heading towards your fourth winter in a partially wrecked house. The house is still wrecked because the government - which owns both the insurance companies that have banked your premiums for years and years - doesn't think you matter. They are in the business of looking good to their mates who own large chunks of what used to be the centre of Christchurch (now just an attraction on the voyeur circuit). 


There is a reason, and a bloody good one, that some of us bang on about Christchurch. Seddon is in "tatters", Tauranga is always on the edge and Wellington could also be next. And, with this government, she won't be right unless you are a squillionaire.


Imaybe sick of hearing about it but that doesn't mean i don't have sympathy for the plight you and thousands of other people find themselves in.I personally have no idea what can be done in CHCH but it does appear that insurance companies and Govt were not prepared for this event. In my opinion it will take 10 years plus to repair CHCH but as i sayí have no idea  how things can be improved.




Quote of the year from Forsyth Barr.  Wonderful.  A great reason never to do business with them again.  

Did we ever find out who actually wrote the offending email ?  Their name should go up in lights.  I think they deserve to be famous.


The we can't go on as if nothing's wrong award: Fonterra CEO Theo Spierings for saying if farmers continue intensifying dairying in the same way they have in the past decade, Fonterra will "hit the wall in terms of sustainability and the environment."

Now that is insight, wisdom and leadership becoming of a CEO of the biggest show in town, specifically the Auckland CBD. Worth his weight in gold.

Now if only dairying can sort out its act, which it looks like it will, NZ should be pretty right in terms of economic, environmental and social sustainability. Fortunately Fonterra is a cooperative, and inherent in cooperative values and principles is the well being of community, which has to include environmental sustainability. I'm not so sure if that is the case for 'new generation cooperatives or investor owned corporates?

Has there been any comment on cause and solution, to our sustainability dilemma?


Olly Newland deserved more awards as the  best forecaster ever had.

He is always modest and self effacing and shuns media exposure. 

Hope he will be back as good as ever next year.


If i wore suits as bad as Olly's, i would shun the media as well!


BigDaddy is not Olly Newland.

Yeah Right.


If BigDaddy isn't Olly (yeah, right), he's a drooling obsequious fanboy, which is even more creepy and pathetic.



Olly likes to get his name in the paper and there's nothing wrong with that. Hell of a lot more entertaining than most pious spartans around here!


At least Olly makes more sense than the left wing mob who infest this site and see only two kinds of people. The guitar strumming, sandal wearing, muesli chewing workers or those who are capitist dogs yapping at the heels of the Wall Street bankers.


Ahh bless.....

Methinks Rage needs a hug for Xmas


Why thank you one and all.  A festive, safe season, and a prosperous New Year, are my wishes for you.


A coupla Awards of me own, I think.


To PDK, for continual bewilderment at the inability of - well - everyone else, really,  to see the beautiful logic and indisputable facts of his homilies - The Mr Siegal award.

"You got to tell me brave captain
Why are the wicked so strong?
How do the Angels get to sleep
When the Devil leaves the porch light on?"

Tom Waits - Mr Siegal - from Heartattack and Vine, 1980


To Hugh P - for Persistence in the face of Ridicule - the Future award.

"Your servant here, he has been told
to say it clear, to say it cold:
It's over, it ain't going any further
And now the wheels of heaven stop
you feel the devil's riding crop
Get ready for the future: it is murder"

Leonard Cohen - The Future - from eponymous album, 1992


To Kate - taking the classic trajectory towards conservatism:  the Liberal  Mugged by Reality award.


"As I walked out tonight in the mystic garden
The wounded flowers were dangling from the vines
I was passing by yon cool and crystal fountain
Someone hit me from behind"

Robert Zimmerman - Ain't Talking, Modern Times, 2005


Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That's how it goes
Everybody knows
Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died

Everybody talking to their pockets
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
And a long stem rose
Everybody knows

And everybody knows that the Plague is coming
Everybody knows that it's moving fast

And everybody knows that you're in trouble
Everybody knows what you've been through
From the bloody cross on top of Calvary
To the beach of Malibu
Everybody knows it's coming apart
Take one last look at this Sacred Heart
Before it blows
And everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

Best poet in the world - knows what I talk about too....


Kudos to you, Gareth , for bringing back the " Interesties Awards " .... and might I request ( as I often did when Bernard was the head honcho ) a follow up page , of our predictions for the next year .... Dow to 18000 , houses up 10 % in Auckland , JK to win the election ,  ... that sort of thing ...


.... Gummie's Awards 2013 :


Warren Buffett scroll for talking commonsense & actually making money for your investors : Brian Gaynor of Milford Asset Management , second Adrian Orr of the Cullen Fund .


" The Gigs Up " award goes to John Banks and ACT ... time to call it a day , fellas .. ..


The " If I stood next to Pauline Hanson , she'd look more intelligent " cup goes to Colin Craig .... so youse consevatives are replacing ACT in National's affections , huh .... crikey , the Gnats are so screwed !


Ross Asset Mismanagement's " We don't know where the money all went " parchment goes to the Holden Car Company .... so , Australia's favourite and iconic Holdens are gonna be manufactured in .... ha ha deeeee haaaaa .... China .... or Thailand .... teeee heeee heeeee ... oh dear , how sad for our Aussie neighbours .....never mind ......


2013 Nelson Mandela prize for leaving us wishing we had a little more time with you : our own Walter " Kunst " Kunz ... miss the Swiss wiz !


The Silvio Belusconi trophy for " That's no way to treat a Lady " was a close run race between Charles Saatchi and Mayor Len Brown , Saatchi wins by a throat ...


The " It blew up in my face faster than an egg exploding in a microwave " award goes to : Bevan Chaung ! ...


The " Mary Celeste Mystery of the Year " award goes to Nigella Lawson ... will we ever solve the mystery , does she dust her choccy cakes and desserts with icing sugar , or is that white powder something ...hmmmmm .... so much mooooooore ..... oooooooh , loverly .... bags me seconds ...


The " Foot & Mouth " award of the year goes to : Bernard's uncle , Jim Hickey ... after his snarly " We're gonna kill you , Spithill " comment .... when we were just one race away from winning the American's Cup ... remind me guys , how did that work out for us ? ... aha ha ha deeeeeee haaaaaaaaa !!!


And finally , the " Spruiker of the Year "  urn : Once again , Ollie Newland's cup runneth over , you've urned it , big daddy .


Happy Christmas and the very best New Year to you GBH.....Sunshine I've missed you, even though we don't always agree it's nice to know  your out there when I've seen enough rain. I'll raise a glass at New Year to you and hope we can revisit many a moment in the year to come.

All the Best Mon Ami.

Armadillo hide award to Steven.( I mean that in a good way Steven ) cudos 

How to do a John Banks impersonation without the smug arrogance Leg over Len. 

How to raise the IQ of a site award ...David Chaston, by learning, observation does not necessarily reflect intellect.

Most confusing post of the year to Phill Best for agreeing with S.K. when S.K. hasn't a frigging clue what Phill's talking about....just the money ,money, money. kachink.

Still love your work Phill, but eh? gotta say that one gobbed me.

And sucessfull agendas award to John Boy (through gritted teeth) for the fastest conversion of an Administration( that was never ment to be more than the Taxpayers Bookeepers) to a fully Corporatised  Apparatus operating with diminished accountability in the interest of those deemed to be the real shareholders in N.Z. INC.

 Thank you Gareth for the return of the Awards....all the best



Hey, enjoy the wine.....


That John boy, swapping Act for an even bigger bunch of loonies, sad really.

Though I wonder if that wont cost him more votes than it gains....the swing voter wins the election, the "middlers" wouldnt I think they like the fundies and such deals with them.

Then we have the greens buying votes...

Going to be an interesting election....




Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to you , good Count ... I am humbled by your words of comfort and bonhomie ...


... and more than a smidge amused by your likening of friend steven's exoskeleton to that of an Armadildo ...


Wishing you have as much fun as this young couple of Chinese newlyweds , on their honeymoon ... he , being of zero experience in matters romance and sex , puts on a thick face of bravado to his equally insexperienced bride : " Me know all good thing to preasure you ... you say me good thing you want " ...


.. the blushing bride , cowering under the bedsheets , replies : " I hear good thing on Yankee movie , in film , they do 69 .... yessssssss ... that good to me .... you do 69 prease ... "


The groom arcs up in wonder and surprise ...... " You want steamed noodles and garric flied plawns ? " ...


exoskeleton, now that would be a cool DIY helper thing...