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Political Roundup: Pundits predict the year ahead in NZ politics

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COMMENT: By Bryce Edwards

Will New Zealand politics in 2019 be characterised by policy substance or issues of leadership, personalities and political manoeuvrings? The various political journalists and pundits have made their forecasts (and indulged in some wishful thinking) for the year ahead.

Every year the political journalists at Stuff put together a long list of predictions for the year. This year's list has the usual mix of policy and people-focused forecasts – see: 2019 Political predictions: Big calls for the year ahead. And it's also worth looking back at how well they did with their 2018 forecasts (they scored only 90/200) – see: 2018 Political predictions: MPs made big, bold moves.

In terms of policy issues for the Government, the Stuff team are predicting the following for 2019: the capital gains tax will be extended but generally the Government will water down tax reform, a referendum on euthanasia will be established, promised abortion law reform will be parked, and little progress will be made on KiwiBuild.

The Government will also continue to be beset by the Sroubek immigration saga, worker strikes will continue (although the teacher unions are predicted to resolve their claims early in the year), the bullying inquiry in Parliament will lead to substantial reform, and Green co-leader Marama Davidson will embarrass her party with another soap-box campaign.

There are also some major political manoeuvrings predicted – in particular, Judith Collins is forecast to carry out a successful coup against her leader, Simon Bridges. Two new National Party-friendly parties will arise. And a Cabinet reshuffle will bring promotions for Kris Faafoi, Ruth Dyson, Deborah Russell, and Fletcher Tabuteau. And they predict a backbench Government MP will get in trouble for personal issues, and another minister will depart.

Emulating Stuff's exercise, rightwing blogger David Farrar has his forecasts here: Predictions for 2019. They include a rebrand for the Act Party (to become the "Freedom Party"); deputy Labour Party leader Kelvin Davis to be........

© New Zealand Herald