by Tim Watkin

Despite the polls, an English win at next year's election would be an historic achievement. Which makes the choice of when to go to the country, so very important

Even with a 20 point poll lead over the main Opposition party, history is against Prime Minister designate Bill English. While he will take over the Prime Ministership with plenty of hoop-la on Monday, he will be trying to defeat history as well as Andrew Little (and Winston Peters?) to take the top job again after next year's election.

As David Shearer looks to hit the road, some are asking whether he was Labour's golden opportunity missed. So is that nostalgia or wise hindsight speaking?

I remember talking at a do with a Labour apparatchik in December 2011. The party had a new leader and there was a sense of excitement. "We can get him on the cover of NZ Surfer. When's the last time Labour could say something like that?", this person enthused.

As John Key exits stage centre undefeated and to much applause, the question becomes who will be bold enough to take up his mantle in the middle? As voters start shopping around, who's looking the part to succeed him? 

John Key's resignation is an immense shock in a year of immense shocks, but it also lays down a gauntlet to those who would be in government next year.

Many thousands of Americans looked past Donald Trump's nastiness, abuse and incompetence in search of a time that has gone, tragically rejecting a woman with the potential to have made real change

The world feels a very different place to me this morning. It is a place that leaves me disillusioned and more than a little scared. The America that voted for Donald Trump to be its president has either embraced or looked past so many values that I thought that country held dear.

Finally, we see the Auditor-General's report on the Saudi sheep deal and it's "significant shortcomings", and if you're not angry, you haven't been paying attention. Because here's the real story...

After a decade close to the action – and longer on the peripheries – there's not much in politics that makes my blood boil any more. At its best it is a contest of ideas and visions, but more often these days it is a poll-driven, often cynical, risk averse, strategic battle for swing voters. C'est la vie. But then, we have events like the Saudi sheep deal.

A few takeaways from the local body elections, including lessons for Labour and National and the start of 'The Phil & Bill Show'. Whoooo will win?

What can you really take in a political sense from a series of low-turnout elections in which the winners were mostly incumbents and mostly, still, male, pale and stale?

Well, a little bit, but maybe not as much as some claim.

In which a late night twitter discussion rammed home the importance of candidates having to 'earn it' and the media's coverage of "foregone conclusions" is defended

On Sunday night Auckland mayoral candidate Chloe Swarbrick was feeling fed up with media coverage of the city's election and took to Twitter to express herself. In reply to a tweet saying turnout was tracking only marginally ahead 2013's poor effort, she said:

"I'm optimistic, but again doesn't help that media sold this as a boring one horse race that everyone should just give up on".

Brash is back and so we have to explain again why his argument is built on rubbish and rubble. And we can do it with his own words.

It's a rare delight in these heavily managed times to see conviction politics and heartfelt arguments. It's just sad the Don Brash-led re-hashed Hobson's Pledge lobby group is so ill-judged and ill-informed.

Brash is back and so we have to explain again why his argument is built on rubbish and rubble

It's a rare delight in these heavily managed times to see conviction politics and heartfelt arguments. It's just sad the Don Brash-led Hobson's Pledge lobby group is so ill-judged and ill-informed.

The NZRU's investigation is at best meaningless and at worst a cynical circle of lies and spin that leaves everyone involved with a stain on their reputation.

Here's the thing: What exactly did happen during that Mad Monday Chiefs event at Ōkoroire Hot Pools, near Matamata, on August 1? Despite the Rugby Union's "investigation" into events we are none the wiser and yet, amidst a flurry of clichés about "key learnings" and "unwise" and "inappropriate" behaviour, we are supposed to drop our unanswered questions and move on.