Without doubt 2016 was one of the wildest years on the international stage in decades. We saw Britain vote to leave the European Union and Prime Minister David Cameron, who was among the Stay voters, immediately resign. We saw Donald Trump sweep America with his promise to “Make America Great Again” with a resounding victory in all three Houses and the Supreme Court. We saw the Rio Olympics, which many had doubts would actually happen, go ahead and turn out to be surprisingly good against a backdrop of political turmoil in Brazil.
But there were also disasters. Saudi Arabia’s campaign against Yemen has yielded significant numbers of innocent casualties with hospitals, schools and residential areas being hit, amid a deafening global silence. The Syrian Civil War, dreadful as it already was before the year began horrified millions around the world, yet Governments perfectly capable of ending the conflict in a matter of days stubbornly refuse to act.
So, without further ado, my predictions on the international stage for 2017 are:
- France’s Marine Le Pen will win the first round of the French Presidential election, but the French public will be sufficiently horrified as to vote for the mainstream conservative candidate
- Brexit will have some twists and turns in it before it can happen that not even attuned commentators were expecting
- Donald Trump and Israel will finish off the two state solution once and for all
- Russia and N.A.T.O. nations will continue to play Russian roulette
- England will win the Ashes test series
- Campi Flegrei caldera volcano will not erupt in 2017, but will cause a scare in Naples
- 2017 will be kinder to celebrities of international repute than 2016 was, but there will still be some big names falling
- The international community will commit to bypassing the United States on climate change if Mr Trump withdraws from Paris Agreement
- The Syrian conflict will drag on as Russia continues to support Bashar al-Assad
2016 was a year of earthquakes, political upheavals, sporting successes and economic turbulence for New Zealand. We saw the destructive power of a magnitude 7.8 first hand affecting communities all over central New Zealand, scaring Wellington and crippling Kaikoura. We saw Prime Minister John Key resign as multiple crises bubble away in the housing sector, on the international stage and societal ills continue to inflict a toll we rue. With political earthquakes rocking Europe and America, New Zealand was not spared the financial turbulence that assailed their economies in the wake of the Leave vote and Donald Trump being elected.
But there were also great moments. Eliza McCartney’s bronze medal was not top of the podium stuff, but it gave athletics in New Zealand a welcome boost. The sight of runner Nikki Hamblin and an American runner who had taken a tumble with her helping each other to the finish reminded everyone what the Olympic spirit is about.
So, without further ado here are my predictions for New Zealand in 2017:
- New Zealand will abide by the electoral norm of three terms maximum for a peace time Governmnet and thus end the Fifth National Government
- New Zealand First will have a significant stake in the new Government
- The Anglican Church will continue to procrastinate despite Government and community calls for a decision on Christchurch Cathedral
- The All Blacks will not win every fixture they play in and at least one significant piece of silverware will change hands
- There will be a magnitude 6.5+ in the ongoing Kaikoura earthquake sequence
- Drought conditions will continue for parts of the inland South Island and a long warm summer is still coming despite forecasts for a neutral weather phase
- New Zealand sports will continue to perform well at international meets
So this is what I predict for 2017. Let us come back to this post in June for a rain check and again in December to see how the predictions turned out.
Happy New Year.