So, the Rugby World Cup is over. The Webb Ellis trophy is heading for New Zealand to start a second consecutive four year stint there. In the weeks that the Rugby World Cup was on rugby playing nations around the world were understandably a bit distracted with some welcome entertainment, a welcome diversion from a world that is in a pretty sick state. And New Zealand was no different. For seven weeks we cheered some scintillating rugby, booed some shocking performances and enjoyed the diversions from the reality of a sluggish economy, environmental problems mounting and wars raging with callously little regard for human rights and the rule of law overseas.
But now it is seriously back to business. Before the year ends, New Zealand will have a referendum on its flag, one that is highly contentious and is turning out to be one of the few things that looks capable of causing the National led Government of Prime Minister John Key some seriously lasting damage. The majority of New Zealanders seem disinterested in wasting $26 million on a new flag when the Government could have used that money to fund any number of more deserving projects.
In the New Year, there will be plenty on the Government’s plate to keep it occupied:
- Ongoing pressure to open New Zealand up to refugees will have to be addressed
- Dealing with the mess created by Serco in New Zealand prisons
- Coming clean (or not)on the true purpose of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement
- Ongoing problems with the rental market in Auckland
- Local Government elections in October 2016
There are no shortage of problems in New Zealand that need addressing by the Government and local agencies, which include but are certainly not limited to:
- Charter Schools and the continuing lack of evidence that they can be trusted with taxpayer money
- Growing crises in the Canterbury District Health Board over pay and work conditions; financial crises in other D.H.B.’s
- The Christchurch rebuild or the now apparent lack thereof in terms of progress with insurance companies settling claims
- Our environmental footprint – ways we can reduce it and why we should start now
- The detention of New Zealanders in Australia and the lack of support for New Zealanders living on the other side of the Tasman Sea
Hopefully the people of New Zealand will feel more wanting to engage in these issues instead of talking about who did what on the rugby field.