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

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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

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