Opinion: This is the first of my articles for 2017 and it is always interesting to start by looking forward to what you think will happen and what the big events will be. Amongst other things these events will be a big influence on my agenda of articles. Most of us get it more wrong than right which just goes to trying to predict the future.
One thing is for sure and that is politics will dominate the scene.
The antics of Donald Trump, mad though they might be at times, are an endless source of interest and analysis and will continue to dominate world news. I expect he will feature in several articles, and I can only hope that the final in a series is not written on some isolated pacific atoll while the rest of the world goes up in flames.
The interesting local game in town is national politics, with an election coming up, and I reckon this year’s version will be too close to call – none of the candidates really stand out and although National is maintaining its proportion of the vote from the Key days, I think there are big risks on the downside. Bill English has a lot going for him but some of his comments run close to the wind, and I will look at that in another article.
One interesting aspect of local politics is the way John Key had just disappeared – our most popular politician ever but now never mentioned.
I think the usual issues will dominate the election and they include particularly the state of the economy, tax cuts (or not) and immigration. The “sleeper” issue is national security. New Zealand really has been very lucky to date when you look at the mayhem occurring in Europe and even to some extent in Australia. Is that luck going to continue or will our luck run out?
Outside of politics, I guess sport is the subject that most gets New Zealanders going and particularly the success or not of our national teams – especially in rugby, cricket and netball. I think the year will be one of ups and downs. With Eddie Jones in charge, anything could happen on the Lions tour, the Black Caps will continue to blow hot and cold (do you miss Brendon McCullum as much as I do???) and I think the netballers will try hard but Australian domination will continue.
On the domestic front housing, the state of the environment, inequality in society, the state of our education and health systems, regionalism, use of smart phones (to do almost everything!), and road death rates are just some of the issues that will come around. I might even be foolish enough to write something on the subject of global warming. Interestingly none of these issues is new. They keep rolling around, and that is because it is so difficult to find enduring solutions.
I may be able to offer an interesting perspective on one aspect of the health system – my wife has just had a hip replacement as a result of an accident so that was through the public system and ACC. Later this year I am getting a knee replacement through the private system (Southern Cross). If I went on the public waiting list I am afraid it would never happen. It will be interesting to compare the experiences.
So, here’s to an interesting 2017…
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This is another of Bas Walker’s posts on GrownUps. Please look out for his articles, containing his Beachside Ponderings.