James Shaw

Four of New Zealand's five most senior politicians are now under 45 and one the most notable features of this term so far is the sight of party leaders struggling to exercise power and to come to terms with the big jobs

Late Sunday afternoon my six year-old was wandering around in Spiderman pants, a pirate's cape and a variety of hats. A child playing dress-up made me think of nothing so much as the leadership on display in New Zealand's 52nd parliament.

The vote this election was quite predictable, but the journey of the campaign was not and whichever new government we get, it will be very different from the John Key years

I've just reviewed my Pundit post from August 28. It then seemed obvious to me that neither National nor Labour would be able to command a single party majority and New Zealand First and Winston Peters would end up being the king- or queen-maker.

Many factors seemed to be pointing in that direction. 

One party leader wins the feel-good vibe from the first TV leaders debate, while another actually resets his party's campaign and lays down a new bottom line

The first TV leaders debate of the year on Three's The Nation this morning was full of zingers and a reminder of the diverse and vital political views our minor parties offer, at a time when their relevance has suddenly dwindled. It allowed Marama Fox to shine, but more importantly provided a reset platform for the Greens.

Labour and the Greens are making a match. But there's an ex-boyfriend hovering over proceedings

They've been 'just good friends' for so long. We all knew they liked each other, but neither of them wanted to ask the other out first, in case they looked to needy or weak. Yet today, Labour and the Greens finally came out with their first PDA.

Here's a trawl through the year in politics and what stood out for me

Well, will you look at the time? The House has risen, weather's improving and Christmas is nigh. And heaps of newspapers, websites and journalists of all shapes and sizes have debated their best, worst, winners, losers and more as they try to make sense of what's been a year of recovery, reinvention and rebound after the crazy events of 2014.