Muriel has asked me to predict what will happen in the forthcoming year as might affect her readers. My first reaction was to refuse on the basis that my crystal ball is as clouded as anybody else’s, and secondly I dislike writing in the first person. Then I remembered that towards the middle of last year I took a series of bets with my good friend Graeme Edwards. Graeme is an enthusiastic supporter of the invaluable work which Muriel does in keeping us informed about what is really happening in the world – as distinct from what the media would have us believe is happening. The wagers were a bottle of Dom Perignon. The bets were: That the referendum in the United Kingdom would result in Britain leaving the European Union. That Donald Trump would win the Presidency of the United States, and the socialist party in Australia would win the 2016 national elections. I failed on the last but Graeme had to hold his breath for a couple of weeks to avoid a total wipe out.
Boyed by that success and similar wagers with other people (all of whom expressed astonishment that I would bet on such hopeless causes) I have decided to chance my arm on predicting what will happen in 2017. Before doing so however a word about some relevant matters. They are: The Media and the pollsters, The Elites, and Experts. This is necessary because overwhelmingly the public’s views on matters of public interest are conditioned by these entities – working hand in glove as they do.
The Media and the pollsters
Before the advent of universal access to the internet the public received its news from the print media, the radio and the Television. In the result we were fed a diet of news and commentary, which those working in the media considered was good for us, or simply what interested them. As the complexion of “journalists” has changed to the current deep pink the nostrum of H.L. Menken, America’s greatest news editor that “opinions are free but facts are sacred” became lost and for some years now the media has become a vessel for the promulgation of opinion pieces masquerading as news. It does not seem to have occurred to those student union reporters and their editors that the public would sooner or later rumble what is happening, turn away from the conventional media and instead seek the facts necessary to make necessary judgments about events which enables us to make sense of what is going on in the world.
The inevitable has happened and fine old established newspapers such as The Christchurch Press, The Dominion, and The Herald can no longer survive on their cover price and have been driven to a massive increase in advertising coupled with trivialisation of the news by largely inexperienced left wing journalists in the forlorn hope of increasing their readerships. Of course it has not, and with the ready availability of hard fact and informed comment on the internet, circulation has dropped to the point where it seems Fairfax can no longer survive in New Zealand on its own (or possibly anywhere given the rumours of a hedge fund buyout) and has been driven to seek some sort of accommodation with the owners of The Herald. The belated recognition of Fairfax, that endlessly clipping overseas articles only from left wing papers such as the UK Guardian, the Washington Post and the New York Times, without any balancing comment from for example The Spectator, The Daily Telegraph, The London Times and the Wall Street Journal, provides thin gruel for those readers who have a genuine interest in politics, economics and public policy matters.
A sort of death bed conversion is underway at Fairfax, evidenced by a recent article by Melanie Phillips clipped from the Spectator, which appeared in its various newspapers on the 4th of January. It was a fascinating article which linked Barack Obama to a shadowy Chicago political movement of “community workers”, which is said to have had an enormous influence on the Democratic Party and which follows one Saul Alinsky, an acknowledged Marxist, who died in 1972. Red meat to those with an interest in public affairs, but Fairfax accompanied the article with the following health warning:
Melanie Phillips is a British journalist author and public commentator covering political and social issues from a social conservative perspective.
In other words beware contagion from reading such views. Revealingly of the political orientation of this media company, no such health warnings ever accompany the sometimes Marxist views of Chris Trotter. one of their regular commentators (views which he is perfectly entitled to hold and to which the public need to be exposed from time to time in order to make their own judgments.)
Similarly with viewing figures of the main Television and radio stations. It is reported on “Stuff” that Television Broadcasters must “adapt or die as more viewers move to digital platforms.” What the proprietors and the analysts do not appear to realise is that it is not only that the conventional TV and radio platforms are losing out to digital alternatives that is driving viewers and listeners away, but more importantly, the content of the programmes offered. This is nowhere more graphically illustrated than by the deluge of nonsense and trivia accompanying the policy initiatives of President Trump.
In the result the public have turned away from the established print and electronic media and their fortunes will continue to decline throughout 2017. Fairfax in particular has no future in New Zealand as a standalone newspaper proprietor.
Pollsters are the handmaidens of the conventional media and often commissioned by them to delve into a variety matters of public interest to predict future outcomes. In 2016 these Cassandras had the opportunity of making useful predictions about two of the most important events to occur in Western society since 1945 – Brexit, and the election of Mr Trump as the forty fifth President of the United States. The opinion polls across both countries were unanimous that not only would these events not occur but that they were not possible. Every shade of political commentator drew support from the polls in predicting without hesitation or doubt that Britain would remain in the European Union and that Hillary Clinton would become the next President.
One expects that the pollsters – who now refer to themselves as analysists as if that will fool the public – will now slink away and find something they are good at. Certainly they can never again be relied upon (if they ever could be) for predicting anything useful in future. They are a “busted flush, and the French are right to prohibit all future political polling leading up to their elections.”
The Economists experts and the commentators
Economists were once a respected if lampooned calling (you could lay them all end to end and they would reach the moon but never a useful conclusion) but more latterly they have failed to predict any of the events which have shaken society and economies. In most cases they have got it exactly wrong. Their most egregious recent failure was in commenting on Brexit, the single most important event to affect the society and economy of Britain in living memory. The great and the good at The Treasury and The Bank of England, and virtually all economists predicted the referendum would fail and that Britain would remain in the European Union. If by some chance that guess turned out to be wrong then they predicted that the damage to the economy would be so severe as to require the printing of money – and other steps – to avoid a recession.
The Prime Minister, and a majority of his cabinet, The Chancellor of the Exchequer, the business faculties of the Universities and most of the finance houses, all swallowed these predictions and joined the chorus of gloom. They were all spectacularly wrong: The British economy, which now enjoys the highest growth rate in Europe, is stronger post Brexit than at any time in the recent past. Unemployment is at an all-time low, business confidence is high and the share market (which is merely the day to day judgment of millions of individual investors) is at record levels. Without a blush, all of the business groups are now enthusiastic about the prospects for their members, and following the recent speech of the Prime Minister spelling out Britain’s agenda for the divorce negotiations, even the Pound has recovered. It now exceeds its pre Brexit value against the Euro and the US dollar, although curiously, following the vote in Parliament to trigger the divorce, the pound wobbled a bit.
All of this coming on the heels of economists’ failure to predict the global financial crisis, and earlier arguing vociferously for Britain to enter the single European Currency, which has been such a disaster for most European states. How can purported professionals get such big calls so badly wrong? Andrew Haldane chief economist at the Bank of England, and one who can be expected to understand his “science”, said (in a masterly understatement) that economists are now to some degree in crisis?
The simple answer which has emerged is that in lieu of serious impartial economic analysis, economists have become infected with the well-known mental Follie of the wish being father to the thought. It is clear that for reasons which had nothing to do with their professional expertise, the economists as a group overwhelmingly wished for Britain to stay in the European Union and surrendered to a sort of WACO type group think which trumped their professional judgment.
No doubt this lemming-like lack of impartial professional analysis has its genesis in the Universities where so much of what is now taught has a “right thinking” bias (or what the public call “political correctness”.) Several generations of students have now been subjected to this insidious influence, propagated by those who only see one colour in the political spectrum, and leading to such patent nonsense as safe rooms ( safe that is from the ideas expounded by the likes of Melanie Phillips), gender confusion where notwithstanding the obvious physical evidence, students are being encouraged to be whatever gender they like on the day. Where the nation’s history is being taught, if at all, with health warnings about how terrible it all was, encouraging students to pull down statutes and delegitimise (one of their favourite verbal concoctions) former alumni and benefactors whose views are not currently acceptable. Where the pursuit of funding from Middle Eastern despots is compromising even the oldest of the English Universities’ ability to teach with an open mind on subjects such as the legitimate place of Israel in the world.
Like many so called experts, economists mistake the use to which their discipline can be usefully directed. If experts stick to the incontrovertible facts they have made an important contribution to society. Thus a civil engineer can be expected to understand the bending moment of the steel necessary to ensure that a bridge does not fall down. If he, and more commonly now she, gets it wrong then they will be sued for damages and may face criminal liability. The economist who makes predictions about human behaviour involving such world shaking events as Brexit, based on some algorithm in a computer programme, cannot know enough about the variables which cause human beings to act as they do. Not only is the outcome merely a guess but they know they cannot be sued by the people who relied on it – and will certainly not face criminal sanctions. In short they are not acting as experts within the confines of their expertise; they have become little more than soothsayers who may, if they are lucky, get things right occasionally.
Clearly, as events have shown, students of the gloomy science have not escaped this descent into mediocrity and confusion, and one wonders what those who care about intellectual discipline and a scientific approach to their subject propose to do about it. Left unchecked the economists find themselves in the ranks of the pollsters, political commentators, and other “experts”, who put a burden on their learning it cannot carry.
The elites and the deplorables
Two catch terms that have been spawned by the Brexit referendum and the American Presidential elections are the “elites” and the “deplorables”. Most such bumper sticker utterances serve to conceal the vacuity which passes for the brain of the users, but these two terms have content and provide useful shorthand for the ideas they express. They have for this reason entered the language and are therefore of enduring utility in summarising the competing groups in future democratic elections.
Elites are not to be confused with snobs or those who consider themselves to be aristocracy, whether it be the English version or one of the later downmarket colonial varieties. Most of us are snobs to one degree or another in so far as we know what we know and at times adopt a superior attitude to those who are not in on the secret. Snobbery is a fine English tradition summed up by Bernard Shaw in his oft quoted aphorism “every time one Englishman open his mouth he makes another one despise him.”
The elites on the other hand are those who have found their way into the life boat and are solely concerned with pulling up the ladder to ensure their continuing comfort and safety. They generally have sensitive snouts constantly probing for the deepest trough, and comprise those who wield political power but have never held a real job. They move seamlessly from university to some political appointment or the like. They are to be found working in Government and local body agencies and are thick on the ground in the universities. Most hold university degrees such as business studies, economics, political studies, media studies, environmental science etc. (trying to find one of these who actually knows something about the law and practice associated with the Resource Management Act can be a lonely quest for those in charge of Local Body planning departments.) Very few hold practical qualifications which require intellectual rigor where there is only one right answer.
Most have access to surplus income (often inherited) and all of the toys that money can buy. They live in the expensive suburbs and central city properties and travel widely (often from one useless conference to another on somebody else’s money). Other than those who live in communes, they have little association with the land and rural people. They have no conventional religious beliefs but hold a passionate attachment to Gaia, and the fight to save the planet from the evil of global warming – a struggle in which all standards of truth, morality and science have long been sacrificed to the desired ends.
In the United Kingdom they cannot imagine life outside of the warm embrace of the European Union, and in the United States all things Republican are anathema, not to mention what they see as a coarse parvenu for a President. Overwhelmingly they vote for parties with a socialist tinge: The Labour Parties, the Democrat Party, Green Parties and so called Liberal Parties. They have a mindless attachment to the planned state with apparently no knowledge of the horrors that it has inflicted on the planet, some within their own lifetimes. The market economy and its handmaiden capitalism is anathema to them and they consider it their duty to do all they can to contain and minimise those institutions to the point where they can no longer function; at which stage enter the managed state. They appear to be wilfully ignorant of the role that the market economy has played in bringing about the relief of poverty and rise of the middle classes in in hitherto poverty ridden sates such as: Russia, India, China, and Vietnam etc. Generally they are to be found in those callings which give them the opportunity of telling other people how to live their lives – the notion of live and let live is alien to them. But probably the most serious indictment that can be laid at the door of such people is that they have a vast albeit clandestine contempt for, and ignorance of the common man – people they only meet when they want something useful done, otherwise are not to be noticed.
These “elites “are not large in number but because of the positions they hold in government, the Courts and the media they wield a disproportionate influence over society and greatly affect the minds of the young, the credulous and the greedy.
A description coined by Mrs. Clinton in the run up to the Presidential election to describe her opponents supporters and which contributed significantly to her silver medal. This group is the heart and soul of any successful society. They are characterised by an attachment to their country, and have a working knowledge of its history and constitutional arrangements, of which they are proud. They understand the need for secure borders while offering a haven for a limited number of the less fortunate. Often they are to be found in rural communities with a working attachment to the land. They contribute overwhelmingly to managing the practical necessities of society – the nurses, fire fighters, police, and trades people of all descriptions (what one English Labour candidate sneeringly referred to as the “white van brigade.” Her political career was short and unhappy.) In the case of Britain, Napoleon was quite right but for the wrong reasons. The British, like us, are a nation of shop keepers and businesspeople; those who risk their own capital and many nights lost sleep, to follow an idea and in doing so create employment and the dignity of labour for others.
Most do not pursue money for its own ends but are generally content with enough to satisfy the needs of the family, with something left over for a few luxuries. They regard the taking of state charity with shame, preferring to make their own way in the world. They will make sacrifices for what is best for their children (many of whom are born within the bounds of wedlock to a woman whom the man will call his wife.) If they have a university qualification it will open the door to a profession or calling which does real things in the real world and whose contributions can be measured – the engineers, lawyers, accountants, rural advisors, medical people, pharmacists and many in the teaching profession to name but a few. They tend to be conservative in their political and moral views but many are truly floating voters supporting the party which they consider will best reflect their values. These people are invisible to the elites and generally beneath notice. Social intercourse between the two groups is limited to having the drains fixed, the house painted, a medical procedure or a visit to the chemist shop. The notion of noblesse oblige which characterised much of the traditional aristocracy is wholly lacking.
These are the people who so convincingly rejected Hillary Clinton (a princess amoung the American elites) and voted to leave the European Union.
My predictions for 2017
I have attempted to say something about the above because some understanding of these groups is I believe crucial to making future predictions which are anything more than wild guesses. Here goes.
Australia is in serious strife. Since John Howard, it has had five Prime Ministers, and has lurched between socialism under the Rudd/ Gilliard circus, tempered with an attempt at a market economy and subject to necessary fiscal disciplines under Mr. Abbott (or doctor Abbott as he is entitled to be called, holding a doctorate in moral philosophy from Oxford), and ending up with Mr. Turnbull – the choice of and a card carrying member of the elite. He came to the job with an impressive curriculum vitae but has disappointed not only the Liberal Party, but his own backers, with his inability to fix the economy, push the global warming agenda and open the borders to all and sundry. The conservative wing of the Liberal National coalition is actively briefing against him and he will be gone by the next election.
The economy is on life support: Consumer confidence is flat, the currency has depreciated 20% against the $US, business investment is at its lowest ebb since 1975 and is currently below the depreciation rate for the assets employed. Long term debt which was standing at 20% of Gross Domestic Product in 2000 under the Howard government is now 60% and rising. Taxes remain stubbornly high and with the public debt at current levels is inhibiting the ability of the government to prime the business pump by lowering taxes and encouraging enterprise. As a consequence Australia will lose its triple A rating this year.
The extractive industries continue to wallow, caught in the cross fire between the Greens, and reduced demand from China and India. The Turnbull government can do little about this given its attachment to the Green movement, without offending a key constituency. Mr. Turnbull’s about face on a global warming bill introduced by his energy minister (whom he hung out to dry in the resultant public furore) to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, presumably with cabinet approval, is eloquent testimony to the terminal confusion which surrounds this government. Meanwhile electricity prices will rise to levels which will severely impact on the deplorables in South Australia and Queensland as the green blob spreads over coal and gas – the only base load power supply source available in Australia.
Given this combination of woes, the public has nothing to lose, other than signing up to institutionalised union corruption about which the Turnbull government has done nothing, by voting for Mr. Shorten and his socialist party at the next election – and it will do so.
Australia is no longer the “lucky country”
United States of America
What happens in America is important to the rest of the world. As is now well documented the United States has undergone a revolution. A man whom the pollsters gave a 4% chance of becoming the Republican Party nominee (presumably within the margin of error) is now the President. Amid all of the biased reporting from the likes of Fairfax, the BBC, The Guardian, The Washington Post and our own Television and radio stations, it has become clear that America will never be the same again.
Those commentators who confidently expected that President Trump would, if elected, soon be forced into the pre-existing political mould are wrong again – as they have been throughout the emergence of this political phenomena. In his first few days in office he has signed a number of executive orders including: a bill ending President Obama’s signature health policy, a resumption of Kate’s law which requires the policing of undesirables who have been evicted from the country to prevent them from re-entering, the resumption of a ban on using taxpayer dollars to facilitate abortions in foreign countries, approving the resumption of the Canadian oil pipe line. The Mexican fence will be built giving proof of the adage that good fences make good neighbours. In addition he has put a series of questions to the Environmental Protection Authority (another of President Obama’s flagship agencies and much beloved of the elites) which will spell the end of the global warming fiasco that has done so much to hobble international economies.
My prediction is that President Trump will continue to follow through on the policies he announced during the election: The borders will be made more secure, including a serious look at the sort of people who are allowed in from those failed states which are nurseries for terrorists. There will be massive spending on infrastructure and taxes will be lowered (possible because of the resultant productivity increases.) The rust belt will be scrubbed off and once again become a home for American industry. America will abandon the so called Paris accord (which is nothing of the sort as nobody else of significance shows any sign of implementing its’ Alice and Wonderland agenda.) He will spend money on the armed forces and National security. There will be a root and branch shakeup of the intelligence agencies which have failed lamentably in detecting anything of value concerning the worst threats America has faced in the past twenty years. These include; the destruction of the World Trade Centre. The planning and implementation of the peace which was intended to follow the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Russian annexation of Ukraine. These agencies have gone from the highly effective swashbuckling days of Colonel Bill Donovan through the more mature years of George H.W. Bush to the current bureaucratic swamps, where for many, the chief preoccupation is personal advancement and backside covering. He has drained the State Department of most of its Clinton staff and will create a new and limited bureaucracy in its place.
But it will be in his foreign policy that President Trump will be remembered as one of America’s great Presidents. President Obama came to office promising a rapprochement with Russia. He left office expelling numbers of Russian spies (and in a bold move their children in the run up to Christmas) claiming that Russia had cost the Democrats the Presidential election. On his departure relationships between the only two military super powers are at an all-time low. The peace and security of the world simply cannot allow another cold war to develop, and for the spectre of a nuclear holocaust to once again haunt the planet. Any sane person recognises the danger of an economically crippled and unstable Russia. If Mr Tillerson the new Secretary of state can assist in making the Russians understand that world War two is over, that no other country wishes to invade them and that strong independent countries on their Borders such as Poland, Germany and the Baltic States pose no threat, both he and his President will have accomplished the most monumental achievement of American foreign policy since the fall of the Tsars. Once Russian paranoia can be overcome and the legacy of Stalin and his butchers finally laid to rest, Russia, America and Great Britain will truly become the guarantors of world peace and prosperity.
In addition to Russia President Trump will make the security of Israel an urgent priority rather than the object of Obama style lip service. The President and his advisors recognise that this small state is the only haven of democracy and the Rule of law in the entire Middle East. He understands that these extraordinary people – the Jews make contributions to humanity vastly beyond their numbers (forty percent of all Nobel prize holders are Jewish) and that if only the surrounding Muslim states would stop trying to exterminate the nation, it could assist in solving most of the economic and social ills which beset the region. In securing the integrity of Israel, the President will undo the monumental mischief which the Obama administration wrought in lifting economic sanctions from the Iranian religious dictators, allowing them to become a nuclear power capable of threatening not only the Middle East but any state that does not share their brand of medieval absolutism.
Finally China. President Trump will end the American consumer’s love affair with cheap Chinese goods which have been bought at the price of the demise of many American businesses. Trade will of course continue, but on a mutually beneficial basis and not the one sided affair it currently is. American businesses currently trading from foreign countries will relocate to the United States. This will involve worker arrangements which allow business to prosper. No trade war will be necessary, merely a rebalancing of the terms of trade. The relationship will survive because China needs America more than America needs China. Even the much vaunted American debt to China has over recent times reduced to manageable levels, and in any event, China understands that the US dollar remains the international currency of commerce and banking.
There is also the conundrum hanging over China of how long it can continue to balance a market economy with a command political system within a military dictatorship. A problem from which America does not suffer.
The close working relationship with Great Britain, forged in the crucible of a revolution and two world wars, will re-emerge, and the shared values of the two peoples will again become a potent force for world peace and economic stability.
All of this will be achieved, notwithstanding the banshee howls of the Elites, because for the first time in American history the President is not constrained by the “liberal media” and its world view. He has found ways of communicating directly with the voters. But more important their song book litany of criticisms – racism, sexism, homophobia etc, which in the past has been sufficient to intimidate anybody in public office – is falling on deaf ears.
Britain will regain its sovereignty, control of its borders, and the pre-eminence of its Courts and the common law. It will leave the European Union on terms that it does not fatally damage the future of those states, which wish to remain within the Union. Trade will continue between the Union and Britain for the simple reason that for many goods and services currently created in European countries, Britain is the largest and strongest market.
Prime Minister May will stand alongside Baroness Thatcher as one of the two most effective British Prime Ministers of the last hundred years. She will create a political discourse which will condemn the Labour and Liberal Parties to electoral irrelevance, as did her predecessor, although of course we will hear little praise for these strong women from the feminist movement.
Britain will resume trading with the Commonwealth on a preferred basis, as it did before entering the “Common Market.” The old ties of blood and shared beliefs will re-emerge. In the case of the latter, India, which has maintained the institutions of democracy, the rule of law and government (not to mention love of cricket) inherited from Britain during the days of Empire, will again become a key ally both in terms of trade and the example it will set for other Asian countries, who might want an alternative to the Chinese hegemony.
There will be no second Scottish referendum, and the Scottish Nationalist Party will progressively wither in the face of the increasing awareness of many Scots of the economic reality of going it alone. They may not like the English but a hard headed realisation will emerge of the impossibility of a “Scotland the brave” outside of the United Kingdom.
Only good will come of Brexit both for Great Britain and the world.
New Zealand is looking forward to one of the most interesting years in its short political history. The elites have been firmly in the saddle for the past twenty years or so setting the agenda for major public policies including: race relations, creeping socialism and the massive economic effects of global warming. The public have been curiously supine in the face of this assault on what were thought to be our shared values of “live and let live” and a willingness to give the less fortunate a “leg up in life.” This has happened largely because their views have been ignored and there have been few platforms for them to express their opinions outside of the mainstream media – and that is firmly in the camp of the elites. This newsletter standing quite literally as “the light on the hill”, as a voice for the deplorables. There is much to be done to reverse this tide but in some measure it will turn in 2017, most notably in race relations
If there is one serious indictment that can be levelled at the government of John Key it is that in its visceral dislike of the New Zealand First Party it allowed itself to be captured by a tiny group of radicals claiming various, often small, quotients of Maori blood. These people fashioned themselves as the “Iwi Leaders Group”. Quite who they were leading and what the group comprises, the public was not told. What is clear is that they have no belief in democracy, or freedom of speech – witnessed by the behaviour of one of their member groups recently at the University of Canterbury. They seek political representation at local body level, mirroring the affront of the Maori seats in Parliament based solely on race. But most sinister they seek to obtain a strangle hold on fresh water, literally the life blood of our economy and society, an intent which is on the agenda when the Prime Minister met with this group at the Copthorne Hotel at Waitangi on Waitangi Day. This wish list has been facilitated by the current government in giving credence to this unrepresentative group and in allowing the Waitangi Tribunal to become some sort of Court or Senate, the decisions of which our highest Court gives increasing weight.
In the result, the deplorables are more than restless, they are deeply worried about what is happening. Race relations have therefore reached a tipping point which will be resolved one way or another at the forthcoming election. A house divided against itself cannot stand and that is where this government has been leading us. Unless the National government divorces itself from the drift to separatism its party vote in the provinces and provincial cities will collapse to the benefit of New Zealand First, and possibly to a small extent The Opportunities Party. National knows this is true from the outcome of the plebiscites held in Taranaki concerning race based local body representation, but being in thrall to the elites they have ignored this red light by inserting a provision in the Resource Management Amendment Bill allowing for such race based local authority representation.
Winston Peters is the only current politician in office who has publically criticised the drift to separatism. The rest apparently mesmerised by the fear of being called racist for giving voice to the overwhelming wishes of both non Maori, and the majority of people with Maori blood, to stand alongside all other immigrants to this country – the British, the Dutch, the Asians and wherever else our diverse country draws its population – and be recognised as New Zealanders.
There are signs that the Prime Minister is aware that he has a crisis on his hands by refusing to participate in the ritual humiliation of attending the Ngapuhi meeting ground on Waitangi Day – and if correctly reported, by telling Maori interests at the more civilised Ratana Church annual gathering that they have had about all the special handouts they can expect. If he follows through on this, it will be to his credit in encouraging people of Maori ancestry to get on and work with the rest of New Zealand to create a better society for all. In this event National will win the next election outright. If not they will end up (if they are lucky, and he will have them) in coalition with Mr Peters. And it will not be the sort of coalition of a major and a minor party but one in which New Zealand First will have a major input into public policy. If that occurs all bets are off and New Zealand is set for an uncertain future.