With his quick wit in the debating chamber and momentous approach to treaty settlements, Attorney-General Chris Finlayson has come out top of all MPs in this year's Trans Tasman rankings.

The political newsletter's annual roll call of MPs' performances, released on Monday, ranks Mr Finlayson - who is also Treaty Negotiations Minister and Acting Labour Minister - an 8/10, calling him "one of the most effective ministers".

His legacy will be speeding up the treaty settlements process, including what was widely seen as an "impossible deal" in getting Tuhoe's agreement to a settlement over Te Urewera National Park.

Described as "one of the sharpest debaters in parliament", Mr Finlayson took over the labour portfolio when Kate Wilkinson stood down over the Pike River mine tragedy - demonstrating the confidence Prime Minister John Key has in him.

Mr Key is also ranked an 8/10, a drop from last year's 9/10 after an year of political stumbles that includes the Kim Dotcom saga.

Trans Tasman says Mr Key must improve his political management and "start seeming like he enjoys the job" next year.

Labour leader David Shearer gets some of his worst criticism to date, called "a great disappointment" and rating just 4/10.

Mr Shearer is criticised for his inability to string together a coherent sentence or stamp his authority on his caucus after months of coup speculation came to a head last month.

Even his unsuccessful leadership challenger, David Cunliffe, fares better than Mr Shearer - rated a 4.5/10.

While Mr Cunliffe may get another shot at the top job, he first needs to "get over his ego and get on with his job".

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman is rated an 8/10 for leading the economic debate against Finance Minister Bill English, and looking and sounding like a real opposition leader.

ACT leader John Banks, embroiled in a political donations scandal, gets the wooden spoon award - rated 0/10 for overseeing "the complete destruction of ACT's political brand".

NZ Newswire

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