1. The election is held in September – likely the latter half of the month.
2. Simon Bridges will rule out working with Winston Peters early in the year, much as John Key did in 2008. The personal animosity between the pair will only increase.
3. Personal cannabis use is not legalised, after the “Yes” camp narrowly loses the referendum campaign. Scaremongering about kids and young adults smoking cannabis reaches a fever-pitch while the yes campaign can’t quite decide if it is making cannabis use safer by regulating it, or if cannabis is actually not so unhealthy after all.
4. Euthanasia, on the other hand, wins its referendum, meaning David Seymour’s quest to legalise assisted dying will finally succeed – five years after he started it.
5. Speaking of David Seymour, we think he will get enough of the party vote at the 2020 election to bring in another MP, the first time ACT would have done this since 2011.
6. Banking becomes an election issue, as the big four look for ways to pass on the cost of the Reserve Bank’s capital changes. NZ First tries to get a Commerce Commission market study into banks but is overruled by Labour and the Greens who opt to look into supermarkets or building materials instead.
7. Jacinda Ardern and Clarke Gayford do not get married over the summer. While an election-year wedding is possible, we think it is very unlikely – and definitely not going to happen this summer, when many had expected it would.
8. Judith Collins releases her memoir. New Zealand relives the 2014 campaign. John Key and Nicky Hager are both criticised heavily. There is also some not-so-subtle pitching for the leadership.
9. The Botany electorate race gets fairly ugly as Jami-Lee Ross attempts to keep his career alive by any means necessary. Political blogs are somewhat involved. But Chris Luxon will win comfortably.
10. Labour retains control of all seven Māori seats, despite a spirited resurgence campaign by the Māori Party. If John Tamihere decides to enter the fray this could be upturned.
11. Joe Biden is the Democratic nominee for US President after Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders both get enough of the vote to stay in it, splitting the left vote.
12. Facebook “misinformation” is a big discussion point during the 2020 New Zealand election. National refuses to sign up to the toothless tool Facebook has provided to make the spending on Facebook more transparent. There are some mini-scandals over perceived inaccuracies in ads.
13. Labour changes the tax brackets in a way that delivers a tax cut for lower earners but not much of one for richer people. National offers a larger tax cut.
14. The predicted deficit will evaporate, as the Government continues to find it hard to actually spend all the money it wants to spend thanks to capacity constraints.
15. The Green Party realises the capital gains tax is too complicated and announces support for a very tough wealth tax. This policy is pursued heavily and causes some trouble for Labour.
16. Labour will re-announce some of National’s Roads of National Significance that it will be pursuing but will call them something else. (We don’t think KiwiRoads, quite.) Meanwhile the role and performance of NZTA will come under some serious scrutiny from the Government.
17. Dental will be a big election year issue, with parties competing to offer something strong. But neither National nor Labour will actually offer the big kahuna of free dental care for adults.
18. NZ First will kill off Andrew Little’s attempts to beef up hate speech laws, citing free speech concerns.
19. The Government will get more hawkish on China, particularly with regards to its role in the Pacific, as pressure from Canberra and Washington build. The trading relationship will not be harmed seriously, however.
20. Winston Peters will again hold the balance of power after the next election, after scraping into Parliament.
No 20 and No 2 are contradictory. If Bridges rules out working with Peters, then ipso facto NZ First won’t hold the balance of power. A vote for them will be the same as a vote for the Greens – a vote for a Labour-led Government.