1. Phil Goff will win the Auckland mayoralty, triggering a by-election in his Mt Roskill seat.
2. Immigration will be the big issue of 2016, in NZ and worldwide, under the twin pressures of terrorism and rising unemployment.
3. One party leader will be replaced – or signal they will go.
4. The Government’s books for 2015/16 will show a deficit when the numbers are known in October, and the 2016 Budget will include significant spending on reform in the area of Child Youth and family.
5. John Key will wind back his shock-jock appearances, but only after one final dare involving dancing, underpants and a street corner.
6. The current flag will triumph easily, taking 60 per cent of the vote to head off the black and blue silver fern Kyle Lockwood design in the March referendum.
7. Significant steps will be taken towards allowing the medicinal use of cannabis.
8. A visit to New Zealand by United States President Barack Obama will be scheduled for 2016. Golf anyone?
9. Pharmac will get more cash allowing it to fund new drugs, such as Keytruda, but the Government will stay out of decisions on specific drugs.
10. New Zealand will send SAS troops to Iraq, and not only as VIP protection.
11. The review of security services will see the GCSB and SIS get greater powers of surveillance.
12. The freshwater issue will spark up, causing a headache for National MPs and putting their relationship with the Maori Party under stress.
13. ACT leader David Seymour’s “end of life choice” bill will be drawn from the ballot (relying on chance makes this a particularly fraught prediction) and then pass its first reading.
14. At least one MP will announce their engagement to be married.
15. Labour candidate Michael Wood will be sworn in as MP for Mt Roskill – but will not be the first to win a by-election this year.
16. Labour leader Andrew Little will firm up his plans to run in the Rongotai seat now held by Annette King.
17. Speaker David Carter will head off to foreign diplomatic pastures, opening the way for Gerry Brownlee to inherit the wig of office.
18. An MP will find himself or herself giving evidence in court.
20. Australia’s deportation of Kiwi criminals will hit the headlines again when one of them goes off the rails on this side of the ditch, placing New Zealand politicians in the firing line.
Some interesting ones. They are predicting at least two by-elections next year.
Not so sure that a party leader will signal retirement in 2016.Maybe in 2017.