Stuff 2019 political predictions

Stuff has made their 2019 Political predictions: Big calls for the year ahead – some are on things that they can’t be predicting based on knowledge so are little more than lame guesses – like whether someone will have a baby or not. But some are presumably based on political intuition.

2. National MPs will lose their nerve partway through the year after the party’s poll ratings start to slide. And they will install Judith Collins as leader on a promise to destabilise Jacinda Ardern’s leadership.

National’s polls slid last year (thanks to Jami-lee Ross) but recovered quickly. What could cause them to dive and stay down? Labour doing much better perhaps, and actually making some bold changes that will benefit middle New Zealand other than parents with dependent kids.

This prediction looks to be a stab.

Would Judith Collins make any difference? She would be a bigger risk – she has some appeal and also a lack of wide support. Whether she would appeal broadly enough is hard to tell – actually, i think impossible to tell in advance. Any leadership change is a major punt.

3. The Euthanasia Bill will pass with NZ First’s support but its implementation will be subject to the country supporting it in a referendum.

As it should be. If NZ First don’t support it going to a referendum it would be a major betrayal of one of their core policies – to let people decide on social issues via referendum.

4. Ardern will have a cabinet reshuffle and promotions will include emerging star Kris Faafoi, plus the surprise return of veteran MP Ruth Dyson to address the lack of senior women cabinet ministers. Rookie MP Deborah Russell will make the biggest jump from the back bench.

I don’t know about Dyson, but Faafoi deserves a promotion, and Russell is a good prospect, but it may be a bit soon for her.

I think that Clare Curran returning to Cabinet is too big a risk, she looked out of her depth. Meka Whatiri is female and Maori so could be given another chance.

5. NZ First’s Shane Jones will spend increasing amounts of time (and money) in Northland, in preparation to be lined up to contest the Northland seat with the understanding that if he wins he will be the successor to Winston Peters.

That looks to be how things are intended to happen.

Would Jones retain support for NZ First if Peters retires? Provincial voters will like all the hand outs, but they may not be so keen on am over-eloquent self promoter.  But we won’t find this out until 2020.

6. The bullying inquiry led by Debbie Francis will find a widespread culture of bullying in Parliament and the Beehive, heralding a long overdue beef up of protections for ministerial and parliamentary staff.

There does seem to be resolve in Parliament to address bullying behaviour.

9. The fallout from the Karel Sroubek deportation scandal will continue into the new year.

Does the media know more than  has been made public so far?

11. National will trigger the waka jumping bill to remove Jami-Lee Ross from Parliament after he becomes a thorn in their side following his return to Parliament.

I think it’s hard to know how Jami-lee Ross will conduct himself if he returns to Parliament. His support looks certain to remain negligible.

12. The Government is going to park their promise of abortion reform for fear of alienating its conservative South Auckland Pasifika vote.

That would be a real shame. Gutlessness or political self-preservation? Maybe both, if that’s what happens.

13. A majority of the tax working group will recommend some kind of extension of a capital gains tax, with a series of exemptions and carve outs. But the campaign against the tax will grow until Labour abandons meaningful tax reform.

It could be argued that Labour’s limits on CGT and other tax changes has already ensured that meaningful tax reform is unlikely.

15. Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson will adopt a soapbox cause that will have co-leader James Shaw scrambling to carry out damage control.

That’s what she has done in 2018, and seems unrepentant, so it’s aa good bet she will repeat – and this is likely to further damage Green Party support.

16. Despite success in their flagship Zero Carbon Bill, the Greens will round out the year in the exact same position at around six per cent popularity.

That may depend on 15. And predicting an exact poll percent seems to be a silly prediction.

17. Attempts to find friends for National will see two new parties emerge as contenders – a Vernon Tava-led environment party and a party targeting the Christian and Pasifika vote to leverage off the Christian vote mobilised by the euthanasia, cannabis and abortion reform debates.

If either or both get off the ground they are unlikely to come close to the threshold in the 2020 election – but that may not be the aim. Instead, they goal may be to split the Green vote, threatening them missing the cut, and also to take a bit of support of Labour.

If so the end goal would be a virtual single party National government. I wouldn’t be keen on that.

19. Peters will lose the legal battle over the leak of his superannuation details, claim victory, and the Government will have to pick up the tab for National MPs’ expenses.

Which way the legal battle may go is difficult to predict. Peters claiming victory is an easy pick, as is MPs expenses being paid for.

20. Teachers will call off their strikes in February but the Government will continue to be plagued by industrial action.

How that pans out will be interesting.


Political predictions for 2019

I don’t try to predict what will happen in politics. But Stuff and David Farrar publish their guesses for each year.

Stuff: 2019 predictions start with some sort of show, so it seems a bit flippant. Some of their other predictions:

  • Healthy food is here to stay
    (so is unhealthy food)
  • Backing the beard
    (is most notable for it’s html mistake).
  • Watching TV – real TV – will become cool again
  • #Metoo hits the hospitality industry
  • Expensive coffee will get more expensive
  • Stuff political reporter Henry Cooke predicts National leader Simon Bridges may not be in as much of a happy place by the time 2020 rolls around, but the National Party will not dip very far below 40 per cent in the polls.
  • Northland’s Whangarei will be the next underrated, affordable destination (“We all know someone who moved to Dunedin this year” – no we all don’t know).
  • Stuff predicts Jones’ eternal war with Air New Zealand will continue apace …but “he will continue to fly with them, constantly”.
    (I predict more than one Minister will be an attention seeking hypocrite)
  •  The future of our consumerism will change with the advent of getting pretty much anything you want delivered to your door.
    (except for better journalism)
  • This will be the year Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and partner Clarke Gayford tie the knot
    (good for them if they do but something i will avoid as much as possible)

That’s the less trite ones.

David Farrar’s Predictions for 2019 include some standard point scoring guesses, but these are more interesting:

2. ACT will change its name to the “Freedom” party.

5. The End of Life Choice Bill will pass its third reading, but be subject to a referendum

10. The Government’s projected surplus in the 2019 Budget will be less than the surplus for 2017/18

11. The Government will fail to get the numbers in the House for a comprehensive Capital Gains Tax
(Labour have already virtually ruled out a comprehensive CGT)

13. Brexit will not occur on 29 March 2019

15. Kelvin Davis will be replaced as Deputy Leader of the Labour Party

16. Donald Trump will not get $5 billion for his wall so will back down on the Government shut down

19. Kris Faafoi will be promoted to Cabinet
(he should be, he is one of the Government’s most competent/promising performers).



More 2018 predictions

David Farrar has posted his Predictions for 2018. Most are fairly general and aiming for success (of the predictions), and of little interest outside political circles.  There’s a few of greater interest.

2. Bill English will remain National Party Leader

That contrasts with the Stuff prediction he would step down this year. It could be as better informed (inside information) prediction, or it could be a PR ploy.

5. Eugenie Sage will be elected Greens female co-leader

Stuff also predicted Sage over Genter and Davidson. She could be a compromise option, or she could be popular as a co-leader option alongside James Shaw. I think she would be a good choice.

6. The End of Life Choice Bill will pass its third reading

If MPs follow public opinion that’s likely, but ‘will pass it’s third reading’ leaves open the possibility that it will go to referendum to determine whether it will become law, or it will take longer than a year to get there.

14. The Tax Working Group will recommend a Capital Gains Tax

That’s a safe prediction – about the only question mark is probably whether it will happen this year or not.

17. Lisa Owen will be the next Political Editor for Newshub

Someone has to replace the outgoing Patrick Gower, and she is a likely candidate. I think she would be an improvement, unless overdramatics and political agendas are a job requirement imposed by directors.



Stuff: the 2018 predictions

I’m not into making political predictions, at best it’s an informed guessing game, but for some it’s an annual ritual. The Fairfax political journalists got barely half their predictions wrong for 2017. They try again.

Some are general speculation with a reasonable chance of happening, like:

7. The budget will feature few goodies, much of the cash already being spent in the mini-budget. But there will be one or two headline-catching surprises.

8. A backbench MP will come under fire for a professional, or unprofessional as it were, indiscretion.

13. The Prime Minister will be forced to require the discipline of a NZ First member of the executive.

18. There will be a political bombshell that will see the ousting of a minister.

Some predict ends of positions and careers, or non-ends:

2. National leader Bill English announces that after 28 years in Parliament and two election campaigns he won’t stay on to see a third as leader in 2020. As he goes he cites the need for “generational change”.

I think that’s a good bet.

9. Kelvin Davis will stay on a deputy leader of Labour, despite a few more bad patches as acting-PM.

10. The Green Party will select Eugenie Sage as co-leader…

15. National’s Nicola Willis will enter Parliament when a list MP retires – likely Nicky Wagner.

20. Jian Yang will remain on in the National Party pulling in serious donations, but negative stories about possible Chinese Government influence will continue to swirl. An inquiry will be talked about but not actually launched.

And some are on specific Government promises or bills:

4. KiwiBuild – the plan to build 100,000 affordable homes over 10 years – stumbles out of the gate, and the Government aren’t all that clear about how many houses have been built. Estimates have it at less than 300, but the Government insists it will ramp up much more in the following year.

11. The Kermadec Sanctuary Bill will be pulled from the ballot and cause a major rift between the Greens and NZ First. But after the spat, the Greens will back down and vote along Government lines.

14. Abortion law reform will not be openly pursued by the Government, despite a promise to take it out of the Crimes Act.

19. Iwi leaders will take fresh water rights all the way back to the Supreme Court, after a broken promise by the Government to address the issue.

And perhaps the big one of the year, a conscience vote:

12. David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill will end up narrowly passing following a divisive national debate and some changes in select committee. It won’t go to referendum.

If MPs a split similar to public opinion it should pass comfortably. Some changes in select committee are inevitable, that’s hardly a prediction.

It shouldn’t need to go to a referendum, it isn’t necessary and it isn’t a suitable issue for referendum – it affects a small number of people directly and most people will never have to deal with it personally or as close family, or not for decades anyway.

Predictions for 2017

I have one political prediction for 2017 – New Zealand will have a general election. Other than that I’m happy to see what happens. There will certainly be surprises, some of which will not be predicted by anyone.

The election result itself is predictably unpredictable. The results of coalition negotiations are also unpredictable with any accuracy, especially if an ongoing prediction that Winston Peters will hold the balance of power turns out to be correct for a change.

Political journalists from Stuff have made twenty predictions in past years, and have been not much more than half right inn the last two years, and that’s people who should be as well informed as anyone about our politics.

Stuff awards themselves 116.5/200 on their last year predictions – see Political punditry – the art of being at least half right some of the time.

Some of those were fairly easy (Goff wins mayoralty, Mt Roskill by-election), and some had good odds of being correct, like “at least one MP will announce their engagement to be married.”

And some were fortuitous due to vagueness – they predicted that one party leader would be replaced, but didn’t pick it would be John Key.

Stuff has done it again for this year – The year that might be: Our political predictions for 2017.

Some are interesting.

2. Former Labour MP Shane Jones will shy away from another term as an economic ambassador and instead signal a return to politics by throwing his hat in the ring with his old mate Winston Peters and NZ First.

That’s been widely predicted since before Jones left Labour to become an ambassador.

3. Labour’s Raymond Huo will return as an MP before the election – and be given a winnable place on the party’s list as it seeks to rectify its diversity deficit.

Labour has been embarrassed by it’s lack of ethnic diversity, and bringing Huo back has been predicted by others. There is a way back for him if Jacinda Ardern wins the Mt Albert by-election (they don’t include that in their predictions even though it looks a dead cert) – but there are two others on Labour’s list in front of Huo so it may take some ‘organising’ for Labour to deter them and allow Huo back.

8. Gareth Morgan’s The Opportunities Party (TOP) will score less than 3 per cent and fail to win any seats.

It would be a major surprise if that turns out to be incorrect.

9. The Greens will do little better – and little worse – than their 2014 result.

This is quite likely. Green support seems to have plateaued and Labour doesn’t look good enough to take some of it back.

11. Chris Finlayson, Peter Dunne and Annette King will call it a day.

Guesses, or do they know something about the intentions of these three?

Dunne must be having a hard look at whether he wants to stand again after 32 years in Parliament. I thought that comments he made just before Christmas hinted at standing again, but there may be quiet hints that National may contest Ohariu rather than leave it to Dunne so he may not contest it.

And what is Labour up to in Ohariu? Their 2014 candidate came close-ish to Dunne but she has been selected to stand in Hutt South. What does this signal?

Labour are giving up on Ohariu? Or they have a big name candidate lined up to take Dunne on? Or they have agreed to give Greens a shot at the electorate?

Dunne should indicate his intentions early in the year.

King has already indicated that she won’t stand in her Rongotai electorate again. This gives her an easy way to stand down altogether this year. Going list only is a risk given Labour’s poor polling – Andrew Little barely made it into Parliament via the list in 2014.

I have no idea what Finlayson might want to do.

12. One National and one Labour MP in electorate seats will leave within six months before the general election, under an unspoken deal that will maintain the voting balance in the House.

John Key and David Cunliffe have already indicated they are likely to do this. Clayton Cosgrove and Maurice Williamson have also said they won’t stand again. So this looks a good bet.

13. The Greens will be given a free run in some electorates, under a deal with Labour, but will still fail to win any constituency seats.

It will be interesting to see how hard Greens try in electorates this election. Metiria Turei has already said she is standing in Te Tai Tonga and despite what she has said I think she would quite like to pull that off.

Greens will stand against Labour in the Mt Roskill by-election – this is likely to be Julie Anne Genter, and it will give them an indication perhaps of what their general election chances are (albeit in a totally different situation with no National candidate to contend with).

Will James Shaw go hard out against Grant Robertson in Wellington Central (if Robertson doesn’t concede) and convert strong Green party support to electorate votes?

These are probably the only three Green MPs with any chance of coming close in an electorate.

16. Winston Peters will not be prime minister, nor be in line to be, under any deal he does to support the next Government.

If National do a PM deal with Peters they risk a slump in support next term.

How desperate are Labour and Greens to get into power? First NZ First would need to outperform Greens in the party vote. Then Peters would need to push Little into power sharing – whether he could or not, or whether he would actually want to or not, are unknowns.

19. There will be one more political bombshell in 2017 that will change the course of the election and install Andrew Little as prime minister.

Do Stuff journalists know which emails have been hacked (as claimed by Kim Dotcom) and how they are likely to affect the election?

Or is this just a punt? Any election hit job may or may not work, as we know from Dirty Politics in 2014.

20. At least two party leaders will be heading for the door by Christmas.

Does that exclude being shown the door by voters?

If National get back in with small party support that could mean Little, Peters and Turei (and less likely, Shaw). If Turei doesn’t win Te Tai Tonga – it would be a very bad look to win an electorate and then bail out. What about Peters if he wins Northland? Or Little if he wins his first electorate (eg Rongotai or Ohariu)?

If National get back in with NZ First support it seems unlikely Peters would bail out straight away, especially if he holds Northland.

If Labour+Greens can form the next government Peters may or may not want to stay. Same for Bill English, and for Peter Dunne. If Seymour holds Epsom I presume he would stay, ACT would depend on it.

I’ll make another prediction – that Winston Peters will continue to refuse to indicate who NZ First might side with if they are in a ‘kingmaker’ position after the election.

And this makes other predictions related to the election difficult.


Obsession with poll ‘predictions’

There seems to be an increasing obsession for media and pundits to view and use polls as predictors of the future.

When pollsters also become to focussed on the future then I have serious concerns about the purpose and usefulness of polls.

Ina guest post at Kiwiblog – Five Key Takeaways from Brexit   – KIA says:

5 – The polls were wrong … again
6 out of the 8 major polls picked a Remain result on the eve of the vote and the 2 that picked Leave had Leave only just winning versus the 4% eventual lead.

The polls weren’t wrong. They attempted to measure public opinion at the time they were taken. There is no way of measuring whether they were right or wrong.

I thought that polls were not designed to be predictors of the future sample measurements from the past.

If pollsters manipulate their polling and polls to try and match a future election or referendum then their margins of error should reflect this. The 95% probability is supposed to be based on their polling, not voting at a different time by a much bigger sample.

I can understand pundits and journalists trying to misrepresent what polls are, but if pollsters become obsessed with or feel pressured about who is supposedly the most accurate at predicting something in the future then I have serious concerns.

Polls aren’t wrong. They may be inaccurate at the time they were taken (and statistics and margins for error and being based on 95% probability account for this), but they don’t count votes on election day.

Pundits are wrong when they try to use polls to ‘win’ on future predictions.

Predictions for 2016

I’m not usually in to predictions much but here’s a few for 2016.

  • There won’t be a New Zealand general election in 2016.
  • The flag referendum will be close enough to make many people anxious.
  • National’s main focus will be on the economy.
  • Labour’s main focus will be on jobs.
  • Greens’ main focus will be on climate change and thinking of the poor children.
  • Winston Peters’ main focus will be on Winston Peters.
  • Martyn Bradbury will repeatedly criticise John Key and National.
  • Whale Oil will repeatedly criticise Martyn Bradbury, John Key, National MPs who don’t pay for their services, Nicky Hager, Rawshark, Muslims, ferals, NZ Herald, tumble-weeds and anyone who criticises Whale Oil.
  • At the end of 2016 predictions will be reviewed and some will be right, some will be wrong but stuff will have happened regardless.

Someone better known for making predictions than me apparently vaguely referred to a number of things that might happen in 2016.

Top 10 Nostradamus Predictions for 2016

10. Barack Obama will be the last president of the United States of America.

9. Unusual weather patterns, natural disasters and ‘Water shall be seen to rise as the ground is seen to fall underneath’.

8. Unusual planetary alignments and astronomical type changes that trigger massive events.

7. Petrol and oil will be set on fire in the Middle East.

6. Many explosions will occur around the Middle East area, and Nostradamus said that planes will be falling from the sky in 2016 (he must have also predicted planes in the 16th century).

5. The world as we know it is coming to an end.

4. Yes, there’s more predictions after the world comes to an end. The ‘White House’ has set out to destroy the world.

3. The Poles will melt.

2. Jerusalem might be assailed from all sides.

1. Russia will help to set things right.

So according to Nostradamus (actually in this case Alex Noudelman) 2016 could be an eventful year.

Another take on Nostradamus and 2016 is a bit more vague. The Morning News USA:

Nostradamus 2016 Prediction: The Third Antichrist

An interpretation of a Nostradamus prophecy goes to say that the third antichrist could rise in 2016. It’s rise could lead to World War 3, a nuclear war or biological warfare that could last for 27 years. Christians will be persecuted. But while the United States has kept its eye on Russia as the greatest threat that could lead the world into such hapless state, Nostradamus may have actually spoken about China.

It’s not just Nostradamus that predicts doom for the world.There were claims the Mayan calendar predicted the end of the world in 2012.

And here is Tom Watkins:

But past predictions about the end of the world have been wrong. Like in 2015.

NBZ News: The World Was Supposed to End in 2015

As the head of a Philadelphia-based outfit called the eBible Fellowship, Chris McCann had warned his followers that the planet would be destroyed “with fire” on Oct. 7. The very next day, he issued a correction.

“Since it is now 8 October it is now obvious that we were incorrect regarding the world’s ending on the 7th,” McCann said.

If people like Nostradamus, Watkins and McCann keep making end of world predictions one of them will eventually be right, but it will be a bit hard for them to claim bragging rights after it happens.

If you prefer more mundane predictions try:


Predictions for 2015

You didn’t think I’d spend the first morning of the year trying to think of what might or might nor happen this year did you?

Get to it.

If you want to sit back and let others do it for you too here’s some attempts at looking into the future.

David Farrar: 2015 predictions

Andrea Vance: Stars on the rise – faces to watch out for