Paul Little takes an imagined look back at the year ahead . . .


The Government and Auckland City reached agreement on a new America's Cup base. "It will be a lovely marble plinth on top of a mahogany pedestal," said Mayor Phil Goff, adding: "We also hope to have a decision on where the races themselves will be held in the very near future."

In response to renewed offers to house Manus Island refugees, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said: "I know you are, but what am I?"


Marvel Studios and the Vatican jointly announced plans for Taika Waititi to direct a superhero cross-over movie that would combine Norse and Christian mythology: Thor: Ragnarok of Ages Cleft for Me, Let Me Hide Myself in Thee was to star Christopher Hemsworth as Thor and Dwayne Johnson as the Rock of Ages.


After the UN passed a declaration criticising Australia for ongoing human rights violations in its treatment of Aboriginals, the Australian minister for indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, said: "No, you shuddup."

A by-election was announced in the blue-ribbon Auckland seat of Epsom after a demonstration by Act Party leader David Seymour to prove that safeguards in his proposed euthanasia bill would ensure nothing could go wrong, went horribly wrong.

Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop. Photo / AAP
Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop. Photo / AAP


Following criticism from the New Zealand Foreign Minister and Minister for Fonts, Winston Peters, of her Government's handling of climate change issues, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop responded: "Take a photo? It'll last longer."

Metiria Turei attempted to relaunch her political career by calling a media conference to announce she had not paid several parking tickets, had only returned some library books well past their due date and not paid the fines, and was Jack the Ripper in a previous life. She won the Epsom by-election with an overwhelming majority. "Good on her for fronting up. I probably would have done the same in her position," said one Epsom voter.

Veteran broadcaster Kim Hill passed away suddenly. However, listeners' grief at the news was short-lived when Hill announced she had no intention of discontinuing her Saturday morning National Radio show. Hill said she wouldn't dream of letting "a little thing like having ceased to be" prevent her from going to air.


Russian President Vladimir Putin angrily denied Russia had attempted to influence the results of this year's Academy Awards. He made the statement while accepting the Oscar for best director for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Earlier that day, President Putin also angrily rejected charges his country had rigged the results of this year's Miss Universe contest, which was held for the first time at the White House and judged by President Donald Trump. Putin denied the charges in an emotional speech after he was named Miss Personality.

Former Top leader and economist Gareth Morgan was a surprise choice to host TVNZ's reboot of Dancing with the Stars. The favourite for the position, Australian national rugby coach Michael Cheika, was rejected as lacking Morgan's "passion and spontaneity".

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Photo / WireImage
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Photo / WireImage


That American TV actress from Suits whose last name everyone always had to check the spelling of married Prince Harry and was praised for bringing the royals into the 21st century. Some questioned whether getting the Windsors to take part in a special edition of Family Feud against the Trump family was really the best way to achieve this, but the ratings went through the roof and Harry seemed to enjoy himself.


The nation was stunned and delighted when a sixth Barrett brother was discovered, just in time to take part in the All Black test series against France. The family was said to be embarrassed but promised to get him match fit and ready to join Scott, Beauden and Jordie.

National Party MP Judith Collins denied she was planning to form a breakaway conservative party. Collins was so keen to "clear the air" on this issue she left an impromptu late night supper aboard a submarine with Russian President Vladimir Putin to inform the media.


The revived Dancing with the Stars was cancelled after its second live episode when contestant Richie McCaw walked off in tears after host Gareth Morgan asked him if his dancing reflected the value he put on New Zealand wildlife. Morgan also told co-host Toni Street she was "a pain in the arse". Judge Paul Mercurio quit after a dressing-down from Morgan, who told him: "Get your facts right if you want to participate here. If you're so easily incensed, you're not sufficiently robust for the struggle."

The last teenage New Zealand girl not to have recorded an internationally acclaimed low-budget album in a bare-bones recording studio was discovered living in Huntly.


Foreign Minister and Minister for Car Boots Winston Peters deployed the SAS to hunt down three alleged -sorceresses believed to be hiding in Fiordland. Questioned about the operation in Parliament, he denied it was a witch hunt.


I don't think any of us need to be reminded of what happened in August. The less said about that the better.


Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Chuckling Knowingly to Himself, Winston Peters, announced sweeping judicial reforms aimed at streamlining the judicial process. Under the terms of the Evidence Reform (Do as I Say Not as I Do) Bill anyone charged with a crime would have their hands and feet tied and be thrown into a pond. If they sank and drowned they would be judged innocent; if they floated they would be judged guilty and burnt at the stake.

Following yet another failed launch attempt at its Mahia site, NZ-based Rocket Lab announced it was -reassessing its business model. It refused to give precise details but promised this Guy Fawkes would be one to remember.

Peter Dunne announced after stepping down as leader of the United Future Party in 2017 he was launching a new party to be called the United Future to Infinity and Beyond Party. No one noticed.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Photo / AP
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Photo / AP


The Anzus alliance experienced its greatest shake-up since the anti-nuclear campaigning of the 1980s with the US being expelled from the alliance and its place taken by North Korea. "This was a sensible and long overdue move," said Foreign Affairs Minister and Minister for Being Able to Find an Ashtray Anywhere, Winston Peters. "Kim Jong Un has consistently shown himself to be more reasonable, straightforward and generally easier to deal with than Donald Trump."

To prove our waterways were safe and free from toxic chemicals, National Party leader Bill English swam in several rivers in both North and South islands. Not long after, English resigned as National leader and is now employed full time as a lighthouse at Whangarei Heads.

Former Minister for Climate Change Paula Bennett condemned the Coalition Government's moves to address global warming as an over-reaction. She made the statement from one of a number of icebergs that had drifted into the Waitemata Harbour and come to rest off Cheltenham Beach.


The Government and Auckland City Council announced they had reached agreement over a location for the 2021 America's Cup races. The solution also brought to an end arguments about a possible relocation of Ports of Auckland. In 2021, there will be a compulsory freight-forwarding and unloading component in the race schedule.

Several weekly women's magazines announced they would cease publication. Their demise was ascribed to the fact no major celebrities had died in the previous 12 months and the British royals had run out of unmarried princes.

Following years of tantalising glimpses of planets that could support life, Earth received its first official extra-terrestrial visitors. Delegates from the planet Gorg landed in Nevada's fabled Area 51 and were taken immediately to Washington where they met President Trump at the White House. Observers expressed -surprise when, after two hours, the aliens — who had not been able to speak up to that point, although they had seemed keen to do so — said they were really sorry but they'd just remembered they had another appointment in the Quirilliam galaxy and would have to go but it had been an absolute delight, thank you so much.


The Queen celebrated her 110th birthday amid great jubilation over the tourism revenues generated by the event. "We realise this is 18 years premature and not even the right month," said a palace spokesman.

"But to be honest we need the money and these days the old dear is so confused she just nods and goes wherever we point her, so no real harm done."