By Gareth Vaughan
The Christmas trees are up, the sun is shining and patrons in the cafes, restaurants and bars outside interest.co.nz's Herne Bay global headquarters are spilling out into the street. It must be Christmas time. Again.
Thus it's once again time for our annual Interesties Awards, where we take a light hearted look at the events and people that made our news this year.
As ever, we welcome your comments (and additional awards) in the comment thread below.
Here's wishing all interest.co.nz readers a very Merry Christmas, and a splendidly happy 2016. And thanks for your support during 2015.
Banking, finance & economics awards
The limbo dancer's lower and lower award - Fixed-term home loan interest rates. For the second straight year. Is a three-peat on the cards?
The Tom Hanks Cast Away missing in action award - Inflation.
The trapped between a rock and a hard place award - Reserve Bank Governor Graeme Wheeler. Caught between that missing inflation and a hot Auckland housing market.
The Dingo Deans award for services to Australian shareholders - Won jointly by ANZ NZ CEO David Hisco and his counterpart at ASB Barbara Chapman, for their banks' combined $2.77 billion worth of dividends. ASB's $1.14 billion of ordinary dividends was equivalent to 135% of the bank's annual cash profit.
The bubble blowing award - The record numbers of immigrants for their services to Auckland house prices.
The keep them waiting again, and again, and again award - The US Federal Reserve for waiting until the last FOMC meeting of the year on December 17 to finally hike interest rates.
The Best name in NZ banking and finance award - Last year's co-winners, SBS chief financial officer Tim Loan and PwC partner Chris Money were again in contention. As was PwC director Henry Risk. However, taking the gong this year is Tim O'Loan, fixed income analyst at Nikko Asset Management.
We like feedback at interest.co.nz and O'Loan provided the following via email after last year's Interesties were published; "I'd like to put myself forward for the best name in NZ banking & finance for next year, having been overlooked for at least 2 years in a row.... If Tim from SBS gets a nob (sic) I surely deserve a look."
We agree Tim. And also wonder whether at least one of your ancestors was an Irish banker?
The flip flop award - The Reserve Bank for reversing last year's 100 basis points of Official Cash Rate hikes, in full, this year.
The damp squib award - Equity crowdfunding. Less than $15 million raised in 16 months.
The whew, we picked a winner award - ASB for being the "official bank of the All Blacks." Previously being the official bank of both Team New Zealand the NZ Olympic team didn't work out too well, for differing reasons.
The most over used word in business award - Disruption.
The don't look for logic to justify my movements award - The NZ dollar.
The history does repeat award - Ex-pat Kiwi analyst Michael Parker for providing a timely reminder as dairy prices tanked of the dangers of relying on a commodity that lots of other countries can also produce.
The economist potty mouth award - Shamubeel Eaqub for swearing on live TV.
The riddle wrapped up in an enigma award - Auckland's Chinese property investors.
The where are they now award - Auckland's Chinese property investors.
The floods, plagues, locusts & volcanoes award - BNZ chief economist Tony Alexander for his description of what it would take to cause a major fall in Auckland house prices.
The gone to the provinces award - Auckland ma and pa investors.
The Winston Churchill we shall fight them on the beaches award - The Reserve Bank targeting leveraged Auckland residential property investors.
The ostrich head in the sand award - John Key for denying there was a housing crisis in Auckland.
The Lance Corporal Jones don't panic award - Housing Minister Nick Smith.
The Lance Corporal Jones do panic award - Labour housing spokesman Phil Twyford.
The complete lack of urgency award - The Government for being in no hurry whatsoever to extend the anti-money laundering law to property.
The weirdest fetish award - John "ponytail" Key.
The search for charisma (and still looking) award - Andrew Little.
The services to cartels and monopolies award - Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Paul Goldsmith who, among other things, removed the criminal sanctions for cartel behaviour in a the Commerce (Cartels and Other Matters) Amendment Bill.
The Richie McCaw, Dan Carter & Ma'a Nonu wish I'd got out while I was still ahead like them award - Len Brown.
The Richie McCaw, Dan Carter & Ma'a Nonu I did get out while I was still ahead like them award - Russel Norman.
The cringe worthy singing award - Len Brown for singing anytime, anywhere. And not very well.
The services to race relations award - Phil Twyford for the Auckland property buyers with Chinese sounding names debacle.
The insurance policy/covering your backside award - Phil Goff for staying on as an MP whilst running for the Auckland mayoralty.
The Phoenix born again award - Judith Collins. Yikes.
Politician whose career is most likely to end in 2016 award - Take your pick from Victoria Crone, Phil Goff, Andrew Little, David Cunliffe, or various cabinet ministers.
The politician who most successfully pushed the self destruct button award - Colin Craig & his sauna.
The me thinks she doth protest too much award - Jacinda Ardern for saying she doesn't want to be Labour's leader.
The we're going to hell in a hand basket award - Grant Robertson for his steady stream of tirades on how National is ruining/has ruined the economy.
Interest.co.nz commenter awards
The Joseph Parker award - Stephen Hulme for wanting to defend Graeme Wheeler's honour through this comment directed at Steven; "Ask Chaston for my contact details so I can invite you around to knock your block off on the governor's behalf."
The grumpy old man award - BigDaddy. Nuff said.
The dog with a bone award - MortgageBelt for almost always being the first to comment on any story about mortgage rates.
The most consistently informative and entertaining award - Waymad.
Best name - Zombie ponzi, last year's co-winner (alongside Basel Brush III & Zaphod the Flatulent), takes the gong solo this time.
The missing in action award - Gummy Bear Hero.
Charts of the year
As selected by David Chaston.
1. The rise and rise of long term immigration.
2. The demise of the population drain to Australia.
3. The amazing upward drive of the services sector.
4. The sudden, recent reversal in national house price growth.
5. The rise and rise of Auckland house prices.