1. No brothers or sisters for baby Neve this year but we’re predicting there be will be some more additions to the Parliament family after another couple of MPs announce they have babies on the way. DPF: Easy. Of course with 120 MPs and 120 partners, someone will be pregnant.
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.
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. DPF: Agree
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. DPF: Agree with Faafoi and Russell. Dyson may be needed more where she is as Senior Whip.
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. DPF: Agree
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. DPF: Not sure what protections one can do.
7. Ardern will be forced to sack another minister due to an ethical scandal. DPF: Very likely
8. A Government backbench MP will have their wings clipped after becoming embroiled in a personal issue.
9. The fallout from the Karel Sroubek deportation scandal will continue into the new year. DPF: Of course
10. Resignations among National’s old guard will continue and there will be some surprises with at least one triggering a by-election. Movements will prompt a reshuffle and promotions will include up and comers Nicola Willis and Chris Bishop. DPF: Willis and Bishop are both doing well.
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. DPF: Whether it gets triggered will depend on what JLR does when he returns.
12. The Government is going to park their promise of abortion reform for fear of alienating its conservative South Auckland Pasifika vote.
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. DPF: Hopefully
14. There will not be 1000 KiwiBuild homes built by the Government’s deadline of July 1. Things won’t be looking much better by the end of 2019. DPF: Of course not
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. DPF: Highly likely
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.
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. DPF: There is a real gap for an environmental party that is not hard left, not centrist. Any Christian party though will be competing with the New Conservatives.
18. NZ First MP Fletcher Tabuteau is made a minister as the jockeying between him and Shane Jones to succeed NZ First leader Winston Peters heats up. DPF: Only if there is a vacancy. Could Peters sack Ron Mark and replace him with Tubuteau?
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. DPF: Pretty likely.
20. Teachers will call off their strikes in February but the Government will continue to be plagued by industrial action. DPF: Not sure they will be called off.