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The 2018 Interesties featuring Adrian Orr, Jacinda Ardern, Nouriel Roubini, Donald Trump, Winston Peters, Simon Bridges, Co-op Money, Bitcoin, @TranslateRealDT, Boatman, KiwiBuild & more

The 2018 Interesties featuring Adrian Orr, Jacinda Ardern, Nouriel Roubini, Donald Trump, Winston Peters, Simon Bridges, Co-op Money, Bitcoin, @TranslateRealDT, Boatman, KiwiBuild & more

By Gareth Vaughan

Where did 2018 go? Well, it's not quite gone yet, but the end is nigh.

Given that it must be time for our annual Interesties Awards.

This is where we take a look at the events and people that made our news this year. As ever, we welcome your comments (and suggested additional awards) in the comment thread below.

Here's wishing all readers, viewers, contributors, commenters and staff a very Merry Christmas, and a happy and fulfilling 2019. And thanks for your support during 2018.

Without further ado, here are the 2018 Interesties with a special thanks to Jacky Carpenter for her fabulous cartoons. (All previous versions of our annual Interesties can be found here).

Banking, finance & economics awards

The Best Impersonation of a Dove Award - Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr. As Kiwibank's economists Jarrod Kerr and Jeremy Couchman put it: "In terms of birds, our Governor is snow white in dove feathers without a trace of a hawk’s influence."

The Slow Motion Train Crash Award - Brexit. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. But wouldn't it have been wise to come up with a plan for how you would leave the European Union before deciding to do so?

The Award for the Best Use of Self Deprecation - BNZ head of research Stephen Toplis. After Orr's first Official Cash Rate review, with its simple, plain English statement, Toplis admitted to having initially missed the punchline at the top of the statement.

So unexpected was the change to put all the vital information in the first paragraph that some, such as BNZ Head of Research Stephen Toplis, initially missed the message completely.

“The defining feature of Adrian Orr’s first Monetary Policy Statement (MPS) is the clarity of the message,” BNZ Head of Research Stephen Toplis said.

“Instead of having to flounder through screeds of mumblings to find out what the Bank really thinks, the message is up front.”

The Dingo Deans Award for Services to Australian Shareholders, (in honour of ex-Wallabies coach Robbie Deans) - Ex-Prime Minister turned ANZ New Zealand chairman John Key. The bank delivered annual profit nudging $2 billion, and paid $1.6 billion in dividends. His Master's Voice, Key suggested NZ should implement whatever Australia does from its final banking royal commission report. So it doesn't matter whether the Aussie recommendations suit the sovereign nation of NZ. Just as long as ANZ gets one set of regulations across the two countries to simplify things and save money...

The Corporate Dinosaur of the Year Award - Fonterra.

The Self Proclaimed Arborist Award - Reserve Bank's Head of Prudential Supervision Toby Jonathan Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, as in his speech below.

"Today I’d like to talk about the important work that the Reserve Bank’s arborists do to take care of Tāne’s branches. That’s the Prudential Supervision Department that oversees regulated financial institutions to promote a sound and efficient financial system. Under our long-standing analogy, the Reserve Bank takes a ‘three pillar’ approach to prudential supervision. The pillars are: regulatory discipline, self-discipline and market discipline. In our new story we could think of these elements as the tools that Tāne’s arborists use in their work to promote a sound and efficient financial system."

Chart of the Year - For the second consecutive year, but heading in the opposite direction this time - Bitcoin.

The Headline of the Year Award: RNZ (Radio NZ) for the effort below.

The Mind Blowing Headline of the Year Award - Reuters for the one below. 

The Woo Hoo We're Still Here Award - Co-op Money, the industry association for member owned credit unions.

The Yes We're Still Dodging Tax Award - Visa and Mastercard.

The Flat Lining Award - The Official Cash Rate, marooned at its 1.75% record low since November 2016.

The Tweet of the Year Award - Nouriel Roubini. See below.

The Bravest Don't Scare the Horses Warning Attempt Award - The NZ Super Fund's Matt Whineray. In the Fund's annual report Whineray wrote about the Fund losing $20 billion, half its value, if the Global Financial Crisis was to strike again. But he was "not trying to freak everybody out" and explained himself here.

The Cultural Awareness Award - Adrian Orr, see below.

Property awards

The Flat as a Pancake Impersonation Award - The Auckland housing market.

The Our House Prices are Still Rising Award - Regional New Zealand.

The A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words Award - The Reserve Bank for the picture to the right.

The What Goes Up Must Come Down Award - Sydney and Melbourne house prices.

The Political Football of the Year Award - KiwiBuild.

The Elephant in the Room that Might be About to Trumpet Award - Capital gains tax.

The Most Entertaining Sales Pitch Award - Tony Kelly and Grant Elliott of City Sales for the "dreadful" house.

The Carrying the Burden of Expectation Award - Housing Minister Phil Twyford, pictured below in Atlas pose, for the second straight year. Will he and KiwiBuild deliver in 2019?

Political awards

The Lynn of Tawa Kiwi Twang Award - Simon Bridges.

The Cat that Got the Cream Award - Winston Peters.

The Fake News Award - Judith Collins. Detail here.

The Pushing the Self Destruct Button Award - Jami-Lee Ross.

The Opinion on Everything Award - Shane Jones.

The Derek Handley Memorial Banished to the Backbenches Award - Clare Curran.

Political Tweeter of the Year- US President Donald Trump might be the world's most infamous tweeter, but I prefer Translate Trump, - @TranslateRealDT. Below is a recent example.

The Best Gift to Political Cartoonists Award - Donald Trump. Whilst Trump is an amazing gift to satirists, he's also the best thing to happen to political cartoonists in a long time. Here's an example from Matt Wuerker of POLITICO below. You can see more of Wuerker's work here.

The Uncle Scrooge Miser Award - Finance Minister Grant Robertson for steadfastly sticking to the goal of reducing net core Crown debt to 20% of GDP by 2022, where it already hovers.

The I'm Keeping my Head Down and Hoping Everyone Forgets I'm Here Award - Jian Yang.

The Yes, He Really Twerked Award - David Seymour on Dancing with the Stars. Sorry, couldn't quite bring myself to include a video of it here.

The Lingering Stardust Award - Jacinda Ardern for her continuing high ratings in preferred Prime Minister polls.

The Political Orphan of the Year Award - Productivity. Still weak and we hardly ever hear about it.

The We're Going to Hell in a Handbasket Award - Amy Adams. Probably expected from the Opposition Finance Spokesperson.

The Politician Whose Career is Most Likely to End in 2019 Award - Domestically Simon Bridges. Internationally take your pick from UK PM Theresa May, Aussie PM Scott "ScoMo" Morrison and Trump. commenter awards

The Most Committed Commenter Award - The Man 2, see below.

The Biggest Contribution to Sustainability Award - Powerdownkiwi.

The Wooden Spoon Stirrer's Award - Boatman.

The Thanks for the Top 10 Award - Kate.

The Welcome Back Award - Vanderlei Luxemburgo for a fleeting recent appearance after a long break.

The Comment of the Year Award - Halfway to Paradise for the comment below on the December QV residential property story. Short, pithy and easy for me to find!

Thanks to all those who've made informative, entertaining and humorous comments this year adding to the discussion and debate. You contribute a lot to

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.


Ah, so John Key has gone from trying to become immortalized by getting the UK bit of the flag off the NZ one to now wanting to get the Oz stars on the NZ flag.
Actually, personally I wouldn't mind if NZ became another state of Oz.

That's a truly terrible idea. Look at what happens in when smaller countries like Greece and Italy adopt a larger nation's (Germany) currency.
And say what you like about about our politicians but Australian one are so much worse in my opinion. How many prime ministers have they gone through in the last few years?

Uninterested, pin your ears back, doors are open, develop away send us a postcard from a state of Ozz.
- but make sure it is really you...

“I’ve got examples going back to when I worked at a council, where we noticed that paper submissions smelt of beer, and we realised that people were filling out form letters in a pub.

“There is nothing wrong with filling out submissions in a pub, but doing it on behalf of people who aren’t with you, and not telling them, yeah there’s a problem.”

I don’t see many advantages.

The macro economic costs are huge.

The micro economic benefits are neglible.

Their government has issues, not sure we’d be enough votes to help.

They have a lot of problems on the horizon, particularly climate change. We don’t want to buy into that.

Shared defence would be good.


Sir John Key statement as head of anz bank talking to his narcissistic disciple warning of the problems he was instrumental in creating with such gotta laugh, we were played hard. Sir John Key v NZ game set match.

Sorry to nitpick but re your Brexit comment, isn't it supposed to work that the commander identifies the objective and the staff officers work out the how to detail? The snobbish intellectual elites had a free hand in Project Fear and all attempt at exploring the upsides of Brexit were verboten in Bureaucratic Social Land. Yes, I am biassed. I was astonished as the vote in Sunderland came in. I thought the Brits were a degenerative lot who would just do what they were told, but they suddenly found a backbone. Possibly because they holiday in Southern Spain and knew exactly where Europe was headed, 50% youth unemployment for all.

I lived in Glasgow until I retired and moved here in 2003. I was politically active and long believed that the EU was deeply flawed. I was relieved when Gordon Brown prevented the UK from joining the Euro,
However,I do not know anyone in Scotland who voted to leave the EU and having done a course from Edinburgh University while the referendum was taking place,I formed the opinion that those voting to leave were registering a protest vote,with little or no idea what the consequences might be. I would not have voted for anything pushed by Farage,a truly revolting figure.

Perhaps an Intellectual Snobbery Award for the Mark Carney contribution to Project Fear?
A Brexit Capitulation Award for the worst negotiating ability to Teresa May?
A Dereliction of Democratic Principle for Tony Blair?

Gareth, appreciate an award nowadays, and getting one from such a great site is even better.
Property bulls are always battling the no. of property bears but we are all of the belief that property done well will always bring financial freedom, and it certainly has for us.
We have the financial income plus the time to enjoy life.
It may not be for everyone but I can tell you all,that it sure beats working a 40 hour week just to get by.
Merry Xmas to one and all!!

You bought property so you don’t have to work but now you have to come here and spruik property which is effectively a job at the intensity you maintain.

Not spruicking property but advising people that property done correctly is a great vehicle for financial freedom.
Have a great Xmas and New Year To all

We’re basically The Man 2’s Next of Kin.

Not really, just that II have a lot of spare time, and I like to help people Nymad.
Merry Xmas and a great new year to you

You too! I hope your Christmas is filled with great food and plenty of booze. Keep safe.

Regional Growth award — to Shane Jones, & Auckland refugees/trade-downers?

Award to biggest suckers of the year goes to MSM for believing everything de spiegel reporter German journalist Claas Relotius wrote, no matter how crazy.
Everything from the Ukarian Prime ministers gold plated bath to Red neck Trump supporters in the mid-west totting guns.
The MSM really has a credibility problem.

Award to the politicians who have said plenty but became invisible when the heat went on and left the kitchen
Boris Johnson and Nigel Farrage.

Merry Christmas to and all its readers and commentators!

I'd normally sign off with "stay safe", but given where the world is at the moment, perhaps "stay sane" is more appropriate :-)!

Can't thank the staff of interest enough for the fun and the excellent reporting and follow up on so many worthwhile stories. Cheers to you all.

Company Memo.
FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director.
TO: All Employees.
DATE: November 1, 2017.
RE: Christmas Party.
I'm happy to inform you that the company Christmas Party will take place on December 23rd, starting at noon in the private function room at the Grill House.
There will be a cash deposit for the bar and plenty of drinks! We'll have a small band playing traditional Christmas Carols, feel free to sing along. And don't be surprised if our CEO shows up dressed as Santa Claus.!
A Christmas tree will be lit at 1:00 PM. Exchanges of gifts among employees can be done at that time; however, no gift should be over $10.00 to make the giving of gifts easy for everyone's pockets.
This gathering is only for employees.!
Our CEO will make a special announcement at that time.!
Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Company Memo.
FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director.
TO: All Employees.
DATE: November 2, 2017.
RE: Holiday Party.
In no way was yesterday's memo intended to exclude our Jewish employees. We recognize that Hanukkah is an important holiday, which often coincides with Christmas, though unfortunately not this year.
However, from now on, we're calling it our ‘Holiday Party.’ The same policy applies to any other employees who are not Christians and to those still celebrating Reconciliation Day.
There will be no Christmas tree and no Christmas carols will be sung.
We will have other types of music for your enjoyment.
Are you happy now.?
Happy Holidays to you and your family.

Company Memo.
FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director.
TO: All Employees.
DATE: November 3, 2017.
RE: Holiday Party.
Regarding the note I received from a member of Alcoholics Anonymous requesting a non-drinking table, you didn't sign your name.
I'm happy to accommodate you for this request, but if I put a sign on a table that reads, ‘AA Only,’ you wouldn't be anonymous anymore. So how am I supposed to handle this.?
And sorry, but forget about the gift exchange, no gifts are allowed since the union members feel that $10.00 is too much money and the executives believe $10.00 is a little stingy.

Company Memo.
FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director.
To: All Employees.
DATE: November 4, 2017.
RE: Generic Holiday Party.
What a diverse group we are.! I had no idea that December 20th begins the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which forbids eating and drinking during daylight hours.
There goes the party.! Seriously, we can appreciate how a luncheon at this time of year does not accommodate our ‘Muslim employees' beliefs. Perhaps the Grill House can hold off on serving your meal until the end of the party or else package everything for you to take it home in little aluminium foil doggy bag. Will that work.?
Meanwhile, I've arranged for members of Weight Watchers to sit farthest from the dessert buffet, and pregnant women will get the table closest to the restrooms.
Gays are allowed to sit with each other. Lesbians do not have to sit with Gay men, and each group will have their own table.
Yes, there will be flower arrangement for the Gay men's table.
To the person asking permission to cross dress, the Grill House asks that no cross-dressing to be allowed, apparently because of concerns about confusion in the restrooms. ‘Sorry.’
We will have booster seats for short people.
Low-fat food will be available for those on a diet.
I am sorry to report that we cannot control the amount of salt used in the food. The Grill House suggests that people with high blood pressure taste a bite first.
There will be fresh ‘low sugar’ fruits as dessert for diabetics, but the restaurant cannot supply ‘no sugar’ desserts. ‘Sorry!’
Did I miss anything.???

Company Memo.
FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director.
TO: All F#@king Employees.
DATE: November 5, 2017.
RE: The F#@king Holiday Party.
I've had it with you vegetarian pricks.! We're going to keep this party at the Grill House whether you assholes like it or not, so you can sit quietly at the table furthest from the ‘grill of death,’ as you so quaintly put it, and you'll get your f#@king salad bar, including organic tomatoes.
But do you know that tomatoes have feelings too. They scream when you slice them. I've heard them scream. I'm hearing them scream ‘RIGHT F#@KING NOW!’
The rest of you perishing wierdos can kiss my ass. I hope you all have a rotten holiday.!
Drive drunk and die.


Company Memo
FROM: Joan Bishop, Acting Human Resources Director.
DATE: November 6, 2017.
RE: Patty Lewis and Holiday Party.
I'm sure I speak for all of us in wishing Patty Lewis a speedy recovery from her recent nervous breakdown and I'll continue to forward your cards to her at the Hospital.
In the meantime, management has decided to cancel our Holiday Party and give everyone the afternoon of the 23rd off with full pay.
So ‘F#@k the lot of You and Happy Whatever.!’

No wonder Patty got the chop. She should have known Ramadan was in May!

Just more Fake News then? Should've figured :-).

Congratulations to the winners. I have enjoyed reading the various articles (apart from yet more on bloody housing) and the readers comments that follow, even if on occasion the dry wit of some sails right overhead or I have to google the meaning of some of the more esoteric references. Obviously I didn't offer enough money to the judges, will try harder next year. May your holidays be full of red meat and dairy products.

And bacon - is there Anything it cannot improve? (Stolen from Glenn Reynolds....)

Scarfies rule for cooking, if it doesn't taste good enough add chocolate or bacon. Those two should be enough to fix anything, but if it can't be solved with those two then cheese comes in a close third. Please choose free range and/or organic in the interests of your health and to mitigate the ire of my animal rights friends.

The A&P Show Prize Bull Award - Roger Kerr on NZ Dollar?

He should get a prize for his pink shirt.

Nothing wrong with a pink shirt. It is 2018 not 1958

May I nominate AndrewJ for his prolific links to Economic Sites, that do not pertain to bleeding save us all from Man-kind....for which I am deeply indebted.......not.

Apple can shit $1 trillion over me any time they like.

I think there is a way to predict Trump's popularity, the number of likes of his tweets. Or perhaps the ratio of likes to talking about's. I an sure someone could collaborate them to his poll ratings and have a useful barometer ,
From what I have observed in the last few weeks , they are on a downhill slide.

NZ News Website Of The Year -
Thank you & Merry Christmas to everyone who commented. I have not enjoyed a website more than this one for 3 years or longer. I laugh a lot, which I'm hoping is still allowed, but more importantly, I learn a lot. The links are brilliant & the commentary is priceless. The stories are good too. And thank you for putting up with me too.