Welcome to 2016 New Zealand.
2015 was a mixed bag of events. The sporting year was brilliant, with the All Blacks lifting the Rugby World Cup, and the Black Caps playing in their first Cricket World Cup Final. 2016 promises to be a cracker with the Rio de Janeiro Olympics where New Zealand rowers, kayakers and cyclists are potential medallists.
The economic front is not so flash, with a bit of an economic malaise having set in. A combination of bad policy planning and a dodgy global economy have combined to slow the recovery from the Global Financial Crisis. The refusal to address the housing problems and stubborn unemployment have not helped either. 17 years of dithering by National and Labour on research and development mean that the high income economy based on knowledge and research has no higher levels of investment in 2016 than it did in 1999.
Socially New Zealand is in decline, though this can be corrected by cross party initiatives in Parliament and basic acceptance of responsibility of ones actions. Partially the decline stems from a diversification of cultures and interpretations of ones liability before the law, which is why I think civics needs to be introduced as a compulsory course at high school. Everyone eventually deals with the law in some form, such as through applying for resource consent to build a house, or getting divorce papers so it is only reasonable that people know what their rights and responsibilities before New Zealand’s legislative framework are. Also not helping is the notion that some people are more above the law than others by virtue of their treatment in a court of law.
So, what do I think will probably happen in 2016:
- Lianne Dalziel and Dave Cull will retain power in the Christchurch and Dunedin council elections; Phil Goff will take Auckland; Julie Hardaker and Celia Wade-Brown will either stand aside or be defeated in their Hamilton and Wellington elections
- The ECan Commissioners will somehow find themselves being handed against public opinion another three year term
- An M.P. or M.P.’s will be forced to stand aside
- The All Blacks will lose either the Bledisloe Cup or the four nations competition
- Rowers, cyclists and our shot putters will do well at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics
- Kane Williamson will take time slipping into the captaincy shoes of Brendon McCullum
- The El Nino drought will inflict significant economic losses across Canterbury, Marlborough and Hawkes Bay
- The road toll will continue to creep upwards because of the wrong priorities in policing
- Unemployment will continue to persistently hover around 6-7%
Let us come back to this in late December and see how many of these I got right.