What we want from our year - more of Max Key on a beach and cheesy Madonna puns

From Max Key’s reality TV future to dipping, soaring, dipping house prices via Colin Slade wining the Olympics. Greg Bruce gets out his crystal ball to predict the big stories of 2016.
This year will be the year we see more of Max Key's Instagram pics, most likely with his girlfriend. Photo / Instagram
This year will be the year we see more of Max Key's Instagram pics, most likely with his girlfriend. Photo / Instagram

If there's one thing we can be sure of, it's that we'll be seeing plenty of Max Key. On Instagram with his girlfriend and elsewhere, this will be the year of the Prime Minister's son.

More important things will happen this year than Max hanging on the beach, almost certainly, but will we care? We should at least try to care.

Easily the most boring thing that will happen will be the Auckland local body elections. Even the words that describe it are boring. Just by typing them, I have made it 30 per cent less likely that you will finish reading this article.

Phil Goff, of course, is the frontrunner for mayor, which is not helping. If Goff is described at all it is usually as a great servant of the people of Mt Roskill.

A little-known fact about Goff is that he once had to have his hair cut at Singapore's Changi Airport before they would let him into the country.

That's not a great story, but it is indisputably the most interesting thing you will read about the Auckland local body elections.

Len Brown is not running, of course, but it's fair to say he would describe his own mayoral tenure as a game changer. He has presided over a council that has done some magnificent things.

That incredible pink bike path and bike paths in general have sprouted up around the city and there has been an admirable and determined push to make public transport better, all in the face of heavy antipathy from people with nice cars and unnaturally strong feelings for those cars.

Phil Goff, of course is the frontrunner for mayor. Photo / Nick Reed.
Phil Goff, of course is the frontrunner for mayor. Photo / Nick Reed.

Skypath, the cycleway/walkway over the Harbour Bridge that Brown recently described as a game -changer, should get the go ahead sometime early this year.

Skypath is not a fait accompli, even though resource consent was granted last year. Concerned residents living in the affluent suburbs either side of the bridge have appealed the decision to the Environment Court.

They have a range of concerns. They're concerned that hardly anyone will use it, thus making it a waste of money, and they're also concerned about the potential damage that will be done to their suburbs by the large number of projected users they don't believe will use it.

The "game-changer" skypath will start sometime early this year. Graphic / Supplied
The "game-changer" skypath will start sometime early this year. Graphic / Supplied

The whole thing is currently in mediation, which is scheduled to finish next month, if ever.

While we wait for new projects like Skypath and the game-changing city rail link to take effect, we will spend the vast majority of the year sitting still on Auckland's motorways.

We will be late for work and for Phantom at The Civic. We will miss important family events, sometimes deliberately, and we will have to leave home at 5pm to guarantee we're in town for dinner at 7.

Peak traffic will be nearly as bad in Rio de Janeiro, where the Olympics will this year be held for the first time. What can we expect from the Olympics, other than Earth's biggest four-yearly gathering of illegal drug users?

It is silly to make predictions but we can say for certain that at least one deeply unpopular government policy will be quietly released beneath the media hubbub every time New Zealand wins a gold medal.

Rugby Sevens is in the Olympics for the first time, and so is golf. Are additional sports such as these cheapening the Olympics? Maybe, but we have a good chance to win gold in both, so quit making a fuss.

The NZ Rugby Union hoped a large number All Blacks would sign up for the Olympics Sevens team, but only got Liam Messam and Sonny Bill Williams. Photo / Brett Phibbs
The NZ Rugby Union hoped a large number All Blacks would sign up for the Olympics Sevens team, but only got Liam Messam and Sonny Bill Williams. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Obviously, there's a reasonable chance we won't win gold in either. Lydia Ko is a great golfer, but even history's greatest golfers only win a small percentage of the tournaments they enter.

The New Zealand Rugby Union hoped a large number of leading All Blacks would sign up for the Olympics Sevens team, but instead they just got reserve Liam Messam and boxer Sonny Bill Williams.

The first game of New Zealand rugby's new era is June 11 against Wales at Eden Park. Probably no game will have ever meant less to the All Blacks, whose previous match was the greatest Rugby World Cup final in history.

Kane Williamson will cement his reputation as the world's best batsman in 2016. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Kane Williamson will cement his reputation as the world's best batsman in 2016. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Half the best players from that tournament are gone - Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Tony Woodcock, Keven Mealamu - which will make it all the more disappointing for Wales when they are thrashed by a team that may well feature Colin Slade.

Kane Williamson will cement his reputation as the world's best batsman. He'll knock out perfect hundred after perfect hundred with his careful cover drives and delicate pat-downs behind the wicket, then, in his post-match interviews, he will mumble something so meaningless into his inoffensive beard that we'll wonder if he's planning to run in the local body elections.

In March, Madonna will arrive for her first New Zealand tour. She will be spotted on Waiheke and on Ponsonby Rd, sometimes at the same time, and she'll get a tattoo that means something totally different from what she thinks it does.

Newspaper subeditors will go crazy trying to come up with fresh puns for headlines about her, especially since nobody knows any of her songs since Vogue.

Madonna is set to come back and perform in New Zealand this coming March. Photo / AP
Madonna is set to come back and perform in New Zealand this coming March. Photo / AP

Major international clothing retailers Zara and H&M are due to open stores in Sylvia Park later in the year, which means, incredibly, that the new centre of Auckland fashion is Mt Wellington.

Australian retailer David Jones is opening a branch in Wellington, which means they couldn't afford Auckland.

American icecream chain Ben & Jerry's has just opened in Ponsonby, which doesn't mean anything. Sometimes icecream is just icecream.

The rise of Uber will continue to threaten the livelihoods of local taxi drivers, who will continue to respond by driving their taxis for Uber. Supermarkets and publishers of recipe books around the country will feel the squeeze as My Food Bag's Nadia Lim continues her quest to cook dinner for the entire population.

Eleanor Catton will write a deeply informed and thoughtful analysis of the way we live and the Prime -Minister will shoot it down with a cheery one-liner during a naked interview in a bubble bath with Dominic Harvey.

Author Eleanor Catton will write a deeply informed and thoughtful analysis of the way we live and the Prime -Minister will shoot it down. Photo / Doug Sherring
Author Eleanor Catton will write a deeply informed and thoughtful analysis of the way we live and the Prime -Minister will shoot it down. Photo / Doug Sherring

His approval rating will continue to climb and Catton will continue to be known as the author of the book that sits unfinished on the nation's bedside tables.

Auckland's property market will almost certainly collapse this year or will almost certainly grow at 25 per cent for several more years, and probably forever.

Economist Shamubeel Eaqub will almost certainly have some pithy, quotable thoughts on this and we will never tire of hearing what they are.

The Block: Property Lockout will bring some much-needed reality to reality television by moving struggling couples into mouldy rental properties in the middle of winter and then berating them for not keeping the windows open.

Each week, contestants will ask if they can make improvements to their properties and they will -repeatedly be told no. After 12 weeks, the winner will be anyone who doesn't have a serious respiratory illness.

Half way through The Block, Mark Weldon will call "low ratings" and then announce he is turning the whole of TV3 into a mid-range winery. Photo / Supplied
Half way through The Block, Mark Weldon will call "low ratings" and then announce he is turning the whole of TV3 into a mid-range winery. Photo / Supplied

Halfway through the series, host Mark Weldon will cancel the show, citing low ratings. When confronted with the news that it was the network's highest-rating show, he will repeat, gruffly, "low ratings" and will then announce he is turning the whole of TV3 into a mid-range winery. If that proves successful, it too will be closed down.

Taika Waititi's new film will be released later this year. It will be an unedited version of his MC performance at the New Zealand Music Awards, with added laugh track.

North Shore teenager Lorde is due to release her second album of music, her first in three years. She will apologise for taking so long but it has been hard to fit recording around her part time job at -Takapuna Glassons and her mum has been a real bitch about letting her borrow the car.

Our favourite North Shore teenager Lorde is due to release her second album of music, her first in three years. Photo / AP
Our favourite North Shore teenager Lorde is due to release her second album of music, her first in three years. Photo / AP

The vast and growing chasm between our richest and poorest will continue to grow, the percentage of New Zealand children living in poverty will continue to rise faster than the percentage of parents who are dependent on drugs, and the climate will continue to change, but only if you believe it will.

We will brace for the announcement, via topless Instagram pic, that Max Key is getting ready to put the body back in the Auckland local body elections. Media election coverage will rise to a frenzy not seen since the days when TV3 screened current affairs television.

TV3 will screen a show called The Block: Not The Block at all but a - Reality Show About Max Key. Aucklanders will go to the polls en masse. Phil Goff will remain an excellent servant for the people of Mt Roskill.

- NZ Herald

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