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From left, Greens co-leader Marama Davidson, Te Pati Māori co-leader Rawiri Waititi, Labour leader Chris Hipkins, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon, ACT Party leader David Seymour and NZ First's Winston Peters.

Photo/ Supplied/ Design by Justin Latif


On The Beat: My five bold political predictions for 2024

Before 2024 gets into full swing, here's my projections for what's shaping to be a wildly unpredictable year.

OPINION: With Parliament's first sitting days just a week away, I thought it would be timely to make my political predictions for the year.

But despite it only being January, it feels like the narratives that will shape the next twelve months have already been set.

Clearly the debate around ACT's plans to review how the Te Tiriti o Waitangi is applied in law and the government's over-arching strategy to wind back much of Labour's legislation, means the battle lines are clearly drawn.

Also Golriz Ghahraman's incredible fall from grace is also a story that is likely to have wide-reaching impacts on Parliament.

Internationally, politics will also be incredibly interesting, as 2 billion people across the world are going to the polls in countries like the United Kingdom, United States, India, Mexico and even Russia (but that's probably a done deal already). And what is going to be important to watch in all these elections is the rise of popularism and what role AI plays in shaping how these campaigns are fought.

So with having said all that, here are my quite bold, and probably wrong predictions for 2024:

1. Christopher Luxon promises not to touch the Te Tiriti

Given the huge numbers already seen in Ngāruawāhia at the Hui aa Iwi at Tuurangawaewae Marae, with even bigger numbers predicted for Waitangi, the weight of public pressure will force Luxon to promise not to change how Te Tiriti is applied. The tricky thing for Luxon will be reigning in David Seymour, who is clearly up for the fight on this issue.

But just how the anti-mandate campaign was bad for Labour, National's strategists will recognise that a lengthy period of protests on this issue will hurt the new government's poll numbers.

2. One coalition party leader will resign from the cabinet

Recent history tells us that three-headed coalitions are incredibly difficult to manage. And governments in both Fiji and Germany are providing live examples of the difficulties such arrangements create.

Therefore I have a funny feeling that before the year is up, Winston Peters or Seymour will find themselves in a position between choosing to resign or retain their cabinet seat due to some policy impasse.

It feels foolish to even suggest this, but stranger things have happened.

3. James Shaw is forced out as Greens co-leader

The situation with Golriz will hurt Shaw in two ways. One wing of his party will be frustrated he didn't do more to support Ms Ghahraman with the ongoing abuse that is being cited as the cause of her unravelling.

However there will also be those within the Greens who will be concerned Shaw didn't act sooner if its revealed the party knew of her issues well before December 23.

Shaw's ongoing challenge will be uniting a unruly membership who have already tried to oust him, and without the pull of being in government, it won't be surprising if another coup is brewing.

4. China uses growing political unrest in Pacific to assert its influence

This is probably the most obvious prediction. The United States, Australia and the European Union did a lot last year to show that they were taking the Pacific seriously.

But with crucial elections coming up in the Solomon Islands, along with a number of governments in the Pacific looking quite fragile, this is the perfect year for China to re-assert its influence, while America is distracted with its own political unrest.

5. Biden clings on, with Harris playing a crucial role

This is the hardest prediction to make. The US elections will have massive ramifications on world politics as both the situation in Ukraine and Israel rely heavily on the United States playing a strong supporting role. But if Trump was to win, you would expect the US' foreign policy approach to be quite different to Biden's. The other crucial factor will be whether Biden at 81 can outlast Trump, who's 77, given how brutal a presidential run-off can be.

So given the age of both candidates, I believe Kamala Harris will play a crucial role in retaining the White House for the Democrats, and if she performs well - it could be the deciding factor for what should be an incredibly close race.

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