Electoral Consequences of the Rise of a New Blue-Green Party in New Zealand

Much recent attention has been given to the possibility that a new blue-green party might arise to contest the 2020 General Election. A man named Vernon Tava has been interviewed outlining his vision for the putative movement, which is said to have some support. In this article, demographer Dan McGlashan, author of Understanding New Zealand, explains the electoral ramifications.

First, we need to determine who might vote for such a blue-green party. Secondly, we will speculate on what might happen if a large number of people do.

Crudely speaking, and this is very crude, we can say that New Zealand divides into four groups: the urban poor, who vote Labour, the urban rich, who vote Green, the rural poor, who vote New Zealand First, and the rural rich, who vote National.

The borderline between the Green and the National parties, therefore, is between the city and the country, and the unifying feature of these two parties is that their constituents are wealthy. So any new blue-green party would primarily target people who were doing better than average, regardless of whether they lived in the city or the country. But to distinguish them from the conservatives, they would need either an environmental or a social justice aspect from the green side.

Green and National voters are also characterised by being better educated than average (indeed, this is the basis of their greater wealth). So a green-blue party might target students, especially those who study at suburban universities. What unifies them, in particular, is that they tend to have globalist sympathies, and they tend to oppose the nationalist sentiments that they observe in Labour and New Zealand First.

This column has previously discussed the fact that the National and Green parties could ally on the basis of both being strong supporters of globalism. A new blue-green party might combine the green commitment to environmental causes with the desire to liberalise free trade and the movement of cheap labour (ignore the contradictions in that for a moment). They would then effectively be a neoliberal party.

The most obvious point is that such a party would compete directly with The Opportunities Party. As I showed shortly after the previous election in 2017, the bulk of TOP voters were disaffected Green voters. They were mostly young and well-educated, of either gender and any ethnicity, and were the ones most easily reached by the heavy investment made by TOP in FaceBook advertising. They have also had the most anti-nationalist conditioning.

Green Party voters would also be tempted towards a new party. The reason for this is many Green voters are well-educated, and so they often find themselves becoming wealthy by the end of their 30s, which means that they start to have an interest in protecting that wealth, and thereby paying less taxes. This pulls them towards the National Party, but they tend to be repelled by National’s indifferent attitude to human suffering.

National voters, for their part, will be hard to tempt to any blue-green party. For one thing, National voters are particularly loyal: the correlation between voting National in 2014 and voting National in 2017 was 0.99, an exceptionally strong correlation and higher than the equivalent figure for any other party. The other reason will be the electoral ramifications, as discussed below.

Second, the other major area of interest is the electoral ramifications of such a party if it would form and seriously contest the 2020 General Election.

One obvious point here is that the rise of a blue-green party would make things exceptionally difficult for The Opportunities Party. Although TOP does not describe itself as a blue-green party, they are competing for almost exactly the same demographic as any such new endeavour would also be competing for. Getting 5% of the electorate vote is hard enough as it is, and having two fledgling parties contesting that vote will make things extremely hard for both.

The obvious major point here relates to the overlap with Green Party voters. The Green Party only just made it over the threshold at the 2017 General Election, winning a mere 6.27% of the total votes. This means that they would only have to lose 30,000 or so votes in 2020 to a new blue-green party to run the risk of falling under the 5% threshold and so dropping out of Parliament entirely.

Ironically, game theory suggests that this is one of the most plausible ways for National to win the election. If a blue-green party did win enough of the Green Party vote that both parties failed to make the 5% threshold, the left bloc would lose all those Green party votes as well as some of the blue-green party ones, whereas the right bloc would only lose some of the blue-green party ones. This would leave National and ACT against Labour, competing for New Zealand First support.

Of course, these options are moot if the proposed party does win 5% of the electorate vote. As explained above, this would almost certainly lead to the obliteration of both the Greens and TOP, who are chasing similar voters. Assuming New Zealand First also won 5%, then there could be another head-to-head fight between Labour and National for the loyalty of the centrist parties, who would then in all probability hold the balance of power.

Because getting 5% of the vote is so difficult, and because the competition for the blue-green niche already so fierce, the future chances of Vernon Tava’s movement look extremely slim. They might have a greater impact as a spoiler that helps to wipe out the Green and Opportunities Parties, for the sake of ensuring that National holds the balance of power after 2020.

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Understanding New Zealand, by Dan McGlashan and published by VJM Publishing, is the comprehensive guide to the demographics and voting patterns of the New Zealand people. It is available on TradeMe (for Kiwis) and on Amazon (for international readers).

India in New Zealand 2019, First ODI Preview

Having defeated the victorious finalists of the previous World Cup in a 3-match ODI series in Australia earlier this month, the Indian cricket juggernaut now sets its sights on the Black Caps. They will contest a 5-match series beginning tomorrow at 3pm in Napier, which will tell us a lot about how the respective teams match up before the World Cup in England this winter.

The market is expecting a close encounter, with the Black Caps currently paying $2.34 on BetFair to India’s $1.72. India and New Zealand are ranked 2nd and 3rd in the world respectively in ODIs right now, so the series promises to be a heavyweight clash. Both sides will be looking to fine-tune their XIs before the World Cup.

For the Black Caps, there are three major questions to be settled.

The first relates to the form of Colin Munro at the top of the order. The Black Caps have persisted with Munro at the top in the hope that he could replicate his T20 form there. In that format he is one of the world’s best openers, but in ODIs he only averages 26, and 23 from his last 30 matches. In T20Is he averages 33 at a strike rate of 161, and the plan is for him to do what Brendon McCullum did in 2015.

If Munro stays, the Black Caps have a settled top order of Munro, Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor. This will be a good enough top order to mount a serious challenge at the World Cup. If Munro is not selected, they might bring in another hitter such as Glenn Phillips, or (more likely) move Latham up from 5, which would bring with it its own questions.

The second question relates to the middle order, in particular positions 5, 6 and 7.

To some extent, the answer to this question depends on the first. If it is decreed that Munro is good enough as Guptill’s opening partner, then Tom Latham bats 5 and keeps wicket. The question then becomes whether the Black Caps choose a hitter like Henry Nicholls at 6, or an all-rounder like Jimmy Neesham. Nicholls’s blazing 124* off 80 in the Black Caps’ last outing against Sri Lanka may have secured him this spot, because such innings will be necessary in England.

If they choose Nicholls at 6, then it becomes necessary to play an all-rounder at 7. This will be either Neesham or, more likely, Colin de Grandhomme. If Munro is not favoured at the top of the innings, then Latham will move up to opener, with Nicholls moving up to 5 and then probably Neesham and de Grandhomme at 6 and 7, which would give captain Williamson a range of bowling options.

The third question relates to Trent Boult’s new ball partner. That Boult is the premier bowler in the country is not contested: he has taken 89 wickets at an average of 26 since the 2015 Cricket World Cup. He will lead the attack in England and the only question is who will partner him.

Until recently, Tim Southee had a lock on the position. This was a combination of incumbency and reward for his outstanding performances in the 2015 tournament. But he has averaged 44 with the ball since then, having only taken 48 wickets in 43 matches. He seems to have fallen out of favour with the selectors as well, having seemingly been dropped for recent matches against Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

The position of Boult’s partner now appears to be a two-horse race between Matt Henry and Lockie Ferguson. Until recently, Henry would have had a solid grasp on the position. He has 71 ODI wickets at just under 27, and was once ranked as high as the 7th best ODI bowler in the world. He only played 6 ODIs in 2017 and 2018 combined, however, and some feel that Lockie Ferguson has already surpassed him.

Ferguson continues to impress as well – he only has 45 ODI wickets but has taken them at an average of 24. Either he or Henry would be hot for the position of Boult’s partner, with Tim Southee’s variations possibly enough to see him take the third seamer’s spot. It might be that Henry is the better new ball choice and Ferguson the better choice in the death overs, so they might both be selected.

Predicted XI for tomorrow:

  1. Guptill
  2. Munro
  3. Williamson
  4. Taylor
  5. Latham
  6. Nicholls
  7. Neesham
  8. Santner
  9. Henry
  10. Ferguson
  11. Boult

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Dan McGlashan is the man with his finger on the pulse of New Zealand culture. His book, Understanding New Zealand, is the comprehensive guide to the demographics and voting patterns of the New Zealand people. It is available on TradeMe (for Kiwis) and on Amazon (for international readers).

The Case For Cannabis: It Doesn’t Matter That People Have to Pay For Cannabis Users’ Healthcare

One argument that is often made by people in response to proposals for cannabis law reform is that they don’t want to pay for cannabis users’ healthcare. The logic goes that cannabis law reform is unfair on the general populace, because they have to fork out for the inevitable increased healthcare burden through general taxation. As this article will examine, such an attitude is mistaken.

Like many of the false arguments against cannabis law reform, this one relies on another bogeyman. In this case, it’s the supposedly heavy burden that the health system would suffer under if cannabis were to be made legal. This burden would have to be borne by everyone, and it isn’t fair to expect them to do so.

As with many examples of false logic, this argument depends on seeing the situation incorrectly.

For one thing, it’s possible that, if cannabis were to become legal, some of the adverse consequences of its use would become more widespread. But it’s foolish to think that, in such a case, cannabis use would go up while the rates of all other recreational drugs would stay the same.

In reality, recreational cannabis is a competing good to alcohol. A lot of people use it because they find the ritual of rolling up and smoking a joint as relaxing and enjoyable as drinking a beer, and at least as social. Everywhere that cannabis is legal, at least some of the population have decided that they prefer to socialise over some weed than over some booze.

So the supposed “extra” healthcare burden that would be caused by increased cannabis use is balanced, perhaps even several times over, by the savings that accrue from health problems that were prevented by the reduced use of other recreational drugs.

Alcohol abuse is believed to cost the country $4.9 billion per year. The total cost of cannabis use on our health system right now is, even if one uses the ultra-conservative Drug Harm Index, $431 million. This latter figure is not merely the cost of cannabis use to the healthcare system but also ancillary costs, so the true figure is much lower (this latter figure also includes $126 million of costs due to premature death caused by cannabis use and is therefore somewhat fantastical).

So even if legal cannabis doubled the total harm that the Drug Harm Index says that cannabis does to society, this would be more than compensated for if it reduced the total harm done by alcohol by 10% or more.

A second factor to consider is that the cost of cannabis damage is small compared to the cost of old people just clinging onto life for a few more years.

New Zealand’s total healthcare expenditure was $16.8 billion last year, and people aged over 65 used over 42% of that – and that percentage is increasing. So people over 65 use roughly $8 billion dollars’ worth of taxpayers’ money on health costs every year, much of which is wasted on futile attempts to delay a terminal illness.

Even if we ignore that cannabis use is not higher in jurisdictions where it is legal, and even if we ignore that legal cannabis would mean users could use much less harmful routes of administration, and even if we assume that the total healthcare damage would be double under legalisation than what it is now, it still wouldn’t be a great amount of money compared to what is already spent.

The third argument is, of course, that it simply doesn’t matter if cannabis users’ healthcare has to be paid for out of general taxation. As mentioned above, alcohol abuse costs the country almost five billion dollars a year, which amounts to close to $1,600 per taxpayer. If such a high bar is acceptable for alcohol, then its acceptable for cannabis as well.

Cannabis users are, or should be, part of our society the same way as anyone else is. So in the same way that we’re happy to pay for the healthcare costs of cigarette smokers, alcohol drinkers, Olanzapine takers (the side-effects of many psychiatric medicines are bad for the physical health), rugby players, horse riders and mountain climbers, so too should we be happy to pay for the healthcare costs of cannabis users.

Legal cannabis would make it easier to minimise healthcare costs anyway, because doctors would be able to encourage cannabis users to avoid joints and dabs in favour of edibles and vapourisers. So if healthcare costs really are a concern, legal cannabis is better for more than one reason.

In summary, it’s not fair to object to cannabis law reform on the basis that the general taxpayer would have to pay for a sudden massive healthcare burden. A repeal of cannabis prohibition would not lead to such a burden – in fact, a sober look at the experience suggests the overall healthcare cost of recreational drug use would fall if cannabis became legal.

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This article is an excerpt from The Case For Cannabis Law Reform, compiled by Vince McLeod and due for release by VJM Publishing in the summer of 2018/19.

Demographer Dan McGlashan Explains This Week’s Horizon Research Cannabis Poll

My name is Dan McGlashan, and I am the author of Understanding New Zealand, a demographic study of the Kiwi people. In this article, I will explain the results of the recent cannabis law reform poll by Horizon Research, which broke down support for the upcoming cannabis referendum by party affiliation and age.

60% of New Zealand adults would vote to legalise the recreational use of cannabis on the upcoming referendum, according to the poll, with only 24% against. 16% had no opinion. Broken down by party support, 84% of Green voters would vote yes, with 63% of Labour, 56% of New Zealand First, 49% of ACT and 33% of National voters doing likewise.

The Green, Labour and National votes don’t need much explaining. The Greens have always been the strongest supporters of cannabis, apart from the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party. Likewise, National has always opposed any effort to reform the laws. Many readers were surprised, however, to learn that support among New Zealand First voters is stronger than support among ACT voters.

In Understanding New Zealand, I showed which demographics were the strongest supporters of cannabis law reform, by correlating those demographics with support for the ALCP.

The average cannabis law reform supporter is – on average – young, poor, Maori, uneducated and with an especially high chance of suffering from a debilitating physical or mental illness. These demographics are all disenfranchised ones, which is why there is a strong association between being a cannabis user and having a difficult life. They are also the ones most heavily impacted by cannabis prohibition.

Some were surprised to see that support for cannabis law reform is very high among New Zealand First voters. 56% of New Zealand First voters would vote yes in the referendum, almost as many as Labour voters. New Zealand First voters are often stereotyped as old, bitter, out of touch racists, which makes it hard to explain their heavy support for cannabis law reform.

In reality, there is a moderately strong correlation between being a New Zealand First supporter and being Maori: one of 0.38. This also helps to explain why there was a moderately strong correlation of 0.40 between voting for New Zealand First in 2017 and voting ALCP in 2017. Many will also be surprised to read that there is no significant correlation between median age and voting for New Zealand First.

In other words, the New Zealand First demographic is much younger and browner than the lazy stereotype would have it. This can be established simply from observing the extremely high levels of support gained by New Zealand First in the Maori electorates. These young, brown and poor people are reliably fans of cannabis use, despite the general social conservatism of the New Zealand First movement.

Many others were surprised to see that only 49% of ACT supporters expected to vote yes in the referendum. ACT markets itself as the party of liberty from government overreach, and one might think that this would be reflected in support for cannabis law reform, but they have traditionally been very weak on the issue, perhaps even cowardly.

The simple truth is that ACT voters are not from the demographics that care about cannabis law reform. The correlation between voting ACT in 2017 and being Asian was 0.46, but the correlation between voting ACT in 2017 and being Maori was -0.51, which suggests that very few actual cannabis smokers are ACT supporters.

Moreover, ACT voters are wealthy: the correlation between voting ACT in 2017 and personal wealth was 0.61, making their supporters their wealthiest of all. ACT voters tend to come from two major groups: rich, old, white people with all the money, and young professional Asians who don’t want to pay taxes. Neither group has any major interest in recreational cannabis.

The cannabis referendum is very likely to end up with a yes vote, because most of the opponents of cannabis law reform are old and dying off. Conservative National voters are being replaced by less conservative ACT voters, and young people mostly support it anyway. It’s enough to compare Chloe Swarbrick with the decrepit Bob McCoskrie to guess that the repeal of cannabis prohibition is inevitable.

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Understanding New Zealand, by Dan McGlashan and published by VJM Publishing, is the comprehensive guide to the demographics and voting patterns of the New Zealand people. It is available on TradeMe (for Kiwis) and on Amazon (for international readers).

The Case For Cannabis: Prohibition is a Waste of Money

People often talk about cannabis prohibition as if it was just a law and that was that. The reality is that enforcing cannabis prohibition not only costs a large amount of money, but it also prevents a large amount of money from being made. As this article will argue, cannabis prohibition is a colossal waste of money, so much so that it’s worth repealing it on that basis alone.

The cost of cannabis prohibition is close to half a billion dollars a year. This is comprised of two groups of costs: the direct cost of enforcing prohibition, and the opportunity cost of prohibition.

The direct cost of enforcing prohibition chiefly includes prison costs, court costs and Police costs.

The British Liberal Democrats found that over a million hours of British Police time were wasted every year on the enforcement of cannabis prohibition. This came at the cost of £31,000,000 annually. Assuming similar rates of Police enforcement intensity, we can adjust these figures to account for the smaller New Zealand population. This works out to about 80,000 hours of New Zealand Police time (about 50 full-time staff) at the annual cost of about $6,000,000.

A study by Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron estimated that the American federal government spends USD8,700,000,000 annually on enforcing cannabis prohibition. Adjusted for population size and currency, this suggests that something in the range of $200,000,000 is spent annually in New Zealand to enforce cannabis prohibition (this includes court and prison costs as well as Police costs).

Potentially much greater than this is the opportunity cost of prohibition.

The Miron report linked above suggested that America loses a similar amount from taxation opportunities to what it loses from having to pay to enforce prohibition. Converted to the scale of New Zealand, that suggests that around $200,000,000 in potential tax revenue from legal cannabis sales are instead funnelled into the pockets of criminal gangs.

Other studies suggest similar figures. According to Shamubeel Equab, who wrote a report commissioned by the New Zealand Drug Foundation, up to $240,000,000 could be claimed in tax annually from a regulated drug market.

This is supported by other calculations. The state of Colorado, with a similar population to New Zealand, sells $2,000,000,000 worth of cannabis a year. If a similar amount was sold in New Zealand, that would mean that $300,000,000 of GST would be collected on it.

So, as mentioned earlier, the combined cost of all of the aspects of cannabis prohibition is about half a billion dollars per year.

This is a lot of money for something that arguably has no benefit at all. Even if one charitably conceded that a majority of people wanted cannabis prohibition (they don’t), or that cannabis prohibition prevented a significant amount of cannabis getting into the hands of young people (it doesn’t), $400,000,000 is a great deal of money, especially when considered on an annual basis. It’s about $150 a year for every taxpayer.

Had the Fifth National Government legalised cannabis at the start of their term in 2008, New Zealand would have already saved at least $4,000,000,000. The asset sales campaign run by the National Party raised barely more than this, and that was at the draconian cost of losing ownership of these assets forever.

It sounds incredible, but it’s hard to deny the maths. If the Fifth National Government had legalised cannabis instead of selling state assets, they would have raised almost the same amount of money – without losing ownership of the assets. They sold the country out from under us for effectively nothing.

Worst of all is that New Zealand is borrowing money from overseas sources to pay for the deficits that we’re running in order to finance this prohibition. So not only did we not save $4,000,000,000, but we’re paying interest on those billions – just to imprison our own young people for growing medicinal plants.

Cannabis prohibition should be repealed because it simply isn’t worth the money. The total losses to the New Zealand economy from cannabis prohibition cannot be justified – even if it was charitably conceded that there was some benefit to prohibition. It would be much better to make cannabis legal, which would save hundreds of millions currently wasted on enforcement, as well as gathering hundreds of millions in tax revenue.

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This article is an excerpt from The Case For Cannabis Law Reform, compiled by Vince McLeod and due for release by VJM Publishing in the summer of 2018/19.

Is This New Zealand’s Best Ever Test Cricket Side?

If the Black Caps win the upcoming Test series against Sri Lanka 2-0 – and they should – they will go to No. 2 on the ICC team rankings. The rankings go back to 2003 and New Zealand has never been higher than 3rd before. This article asks the obvious question: is this the best Test cricket side that New Zealand has ever produced?

It seems sure that this is the best Black Caps Test side since Sir Richard Hadlee was in his prime. So this article will compare the current first choice Test team (in New Zealand conditions and assuming no injuries) to the team that beat Australia 2-1 in Australia way back in 1985. The way we will do this is by comparing all 11 players as if it was a boxing scorecard.

The prime difficulty with making a comparison is that the careers of the 1985 team are completed, and so their legends are established. Some of the 2018 team are yet to play many games. This means that their total level of greatness has to be extrapolated out from what they have achieved thus far. By the same token, the 1985 players are rated according to how good they were at the time, not according to how good they may have been earlier or later.

First opener: John Wright vs. Tom Latham

The dour John Wright was the first New Zealand batsman to 4,000 runs. At the time of the 1985 Tour of Australia he had played 41 Test matches and averaged 30.91. Wright had 2,000 runs after 39 matches, whereas Latham has already scored 2,503 runs in that time, so it seems like Latham will go past him.

Tom Latham has already scored six centuries in only 39 matches, at an average of 36.27. This is similar to Wright’s career average, despite that Latham has still been learning the game. Wright was 32 years old by the time he scored his sixth Test ton, whereas Latham did so by age 26. This suggests that Latham will have a better career than Wright.

1985 Black Caps 9; 2018 Black Caps 10

Second opener: Bruce Edgar vs. Jeet Raval

Bruce Edgar had a first-class average of 40, but was in and out of the Black Caps over the course of his 39-Test career. He averaged 30.59, with three hundreds, and a highest-ever batting ranking of 8th, achieved in August 1983. He was ranked around 30th at the time of the 1985 Tour to Australia, making him a solid backup to John Wright.

Jeet Raval is new on the scene, having received a chance at opener only after several others had been tried, but has been dependable in his limited opportunities. He is yet to score a century in his 14 Tests, but has six half-centuries already, at an average of 33.86. His first-class average is slightly lower than Edgar’s. A world ranking of 8th seems unlikely, so this one will have to go to Edgar.

1985 Black Caps 10; 2018 Black Caps 9

First drop: John F Reid vs. Kane Williamson

John Fulton Reid was an excellent player whose finest moment was a not out 158 in Auckland in 1985, leading the Black Caps to an innings victory against a Pakistani side containing Wasim Akram and Abdul Qadir. He averaged 46 from 19 Tests, and was ranked 10th at the time of the tour of Australia, having been as high as 3rd earlier that year.

Captain Kane Williamson is currently ranked 2nd in the ICC Test batting rankings, on 913 points, behind only Virat Kohli. It is the first time any Kiwi batsman has passed 900 on that scale, and reflects the fact that Williamson averages 65 over the past five years. At age 28, and with Williamson still refining his game, it seems like the best is still to come.

1985 Black Caps 9; 2018 Black Caps 10

No. 4: Martin Crowe vs. Ross Taylor

Martin Crowe was widely regarded as New Zealand’s greatest ever batsman, until this was challenged in recent years by not only Williamson but also Taylor. Like Reid, Crowe achieved a highest world ranking of 3rd, but Crowe was only ranked 32nd in the world at the time of the 1985 Tour to Australia – although he was good, he was yet to peak for another two years.

Ross Taylor also achieved a highest world ranking of 3rd, at least so far. He is currently ranked 16th and established as the Black Caps’ senior pro, holding several records, one of which is the highest Test score by a visiting batsman to Australia: 290. Much like their careers as a whole, comparing Crowe and Taylor at these particular points in time is too close to call.

1985 Black Caps 10; 2018 Black Caps 10

No. 5: Jeff Crowe vs. Henry Nicholls

Jeff Crowe was ranked 31st with the bat at the time of the 1985 tour, one higher than his younger brother Martin. Unlike Martin, this was as high as Jeff ever got. Henry Nicholls has climbed up to No. 9 in the world Test batting rankings, averaging 50+ over the past two calendar years, which means that he’s currently ranked higher than Ross Taylor.

Jeff Crowe managed three centuries and six half-centuries from his 39 Tests; Nicholls has three centuries and seven half-centuries from 21 Tests. At best it could be said that Crowe was a serviceable No. 5, whereas Nicholls shows every sign of becoming a genuine force there. This one handily goes to Nicholls.

1985 Black Caps 9; 2018 Black Caps 10

All-rounder: Jeremy Coney vs. Colin de Grandhomme

The stylish Jeremy Coney was a redoubtable batsman and a tidy medium pacer. He was ranked 13th in the world with the bat at the time of the 1985 Tour of Australia, which made him the second-highest ranked batsman in the side after Reid. He only scored three hundreds in his 52 Tests but he also scored 16 fifties, averaging 37.57.

Colin de Grandhomme is more of a 21st-century player, with incisive bowling and big hitting. It’s hard to see him averaging 37 with the bat, but he does average 35 at first-class level. Both players took 29 Test wickets, although de Grandhomme got his in a quarter of the matches. In the end, Coney’s batting is better than de Grandhomme’s batting by more than de Grandhome’s bowling is better than Coney’s bowling.

1985 Black Caps 10; 2018 Black Caps 9

Wicketkeeper: Ian Smith vs. BJ Watling

Ian Smith was a solid performer for the Black Caps for a long time. He played some great innings, most notably a 173 off 136 against India, but his Test average was only 25.56. At the time of the 1985 Tour of Australia, Smith was ranked 48th in the world with the bat, playing in a time when wicketkeepers were not expected to bat as much as they are now.

BJ Watling, however, has been world-class with both bat and gloves. He is currently ranked 22nd in the world with the bat, averaging 38.11 from 57 Tests. Although their glovework has been of a similar high standard, Watling is able to play proper innings: he has six hundreds to Smith’s two, and 16 fifties to Smith’s six, which puts him clearly ahead.

1985 Black Caps 9; 2018 Black Caps 10

First seamer: Sir Richard Hadlee vs. Trent Boult

Sir Richard Hadlee is comfortably ensconced as the greatest cricketer New Zealand has ever produced. Not only would he be the first name chosen for an All-Time Black Caps XI for his 431 wickets at 22.29, but he would be the only real chance of a Kiwi getting included in an All-Time World XI. He was ranked 2nd only behind Malcolm Marshall at the time of the Australian Tour, and would be around there for the remainder of his career.

Trent Boult is the current leader of the Black Caps attack, and has taken 222 wickets from 57 matches at an average of 28.14. Hadlee averaged 23.83 after 57 matches, which means that the gap between him and Boult was not tremendous. Boult’s highest Test bowling ranking is No. 2, which suggests that he could yet achieve greater things.

1985 Black Caps 10; 2018 Black Caps 9

Second seamer: Ewen Chatfield vs. Tim Southee

Ewen Chatfield was the dependable foil to Hadlee for about a decade. Ranked 13th in the world at the time of the Australia Tour, he had a career high of 4th in the world a few years later. Tim Southee is currently ranked 15th in the world with the ball, and has been ranked as high as 5th.

Those are similar rankings, and their career numbers are very similar as well. Chatfield took his career wickets at 32.17, Southee has taken his (so far) at 30.70. Curiously, Jimmy Anderson had an almost identical average to Southee after 61 Tests (Anderson was at 30.65), so Southee could become great yet, but if he gets to that level or not is anyone’s guess.

1985 Black Caps 10; 2018 Black Caps 10

Third seamer: Lance Cairns vs. Neil Wagner

Lance Cairns took 130 wickets at an average of 32.92, mostly at first change. He was ranked 10th in the world at the time of the 1985 tour, which was about as high as he ever got. A first-class average of 26.52 makes one suspect that he could have been a little better than his Test average suggests.

Neil Wagner has only played 38 Tests, but he has fashioned a world-class record at third seamer. He has taken 152 wickets at 28.49, which is a fair bit lower than what Cairns was striking at. He also averages 24.79 since the start of 2015, which was when he really nailed down a spot in the side. His highest ranking of 6th was achieved earlier this year, so he might soon do even better.

1985 Black Caps 9; 2018 Black Caps 10

Spinner: John Bracewell vs. Mitchell Santner

John Bracewell was an offspin bowler with the mentality of a fast bowler. He wasn’t greatly effective, taking 102 wickets in his Test career at an average of 35.81, however he did have over 500 first-class wickets at an average of under 27. He was ranked 40th in the world at the time of the Australia tour.

Left-arm orthodox Mitchell Santner is unproven at Test level, but has already shown a lot of promise. He has a slightly better strike rate with the ball than Bracewell, but a slightly higher average at this stage (17 Tests). Although they are similar with the ball, Santner is a step above Bracewell with the bat, and is likely still to improve sharply in all facets.

1985 Black Caps 9; 2018 Black Caps 10

Final verdict: 1985 Black Caps 104; 2018 Black Caps 107

The 2018 Black Caps are easily better when it comes to batting from 1-7. In Williamson, Taylor, Nicholls and Watling they have four players at the peak of their powers; the best batsman on the 1985 team was a Martin Crowe still a couple of years away from his best. Although the 1985 team also had John Wright and Jeremy Coney, they were significantly weaker with the bat overall.

It’s true that the 2018 team doesn’t have a bowler of the same class as the 1985 Sir Richard Hadlee, but their supporting bowlers are better than the team of 1985. Hadlee was a one-man show, as exhibited by the fact that he took 15 of the 20 Australian wickets to fall in the Brisbane Test of the 1985 tour. Boult, Southee and Wagner, by contrast, hunt as a pack, with able support from de Grandhomme.

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Dan McGlashan is the man with his finger on the statistical pulse of New Zealand. His magnum opus, Understanding New Zealand, is the complete demographic analysis of the Kiwi people.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis).

The Correlation Between Diversity And Poverty

A 2003 article in the Journal of Economic Growth quantified the degree of ethnic and cultural diversity in the various nations of the world, making a range of statistical analyses possible. For this article, we did a study to calculate the correlation between the ethnic fractionalisation index given in the linked article and GDP per capita (the most common measure of wealth), for the sake of investigating the link between diversity and poverty.

For this study we took data for 154 different nations and entered them into a Statistica database for the purposes of calculating a correlation matrix. There were three parts to this data: the first was a measure of the ethnic diversity of the country, the second was a measure of the cultural diversity of the country, and the third was a measure of the average personal wealth of the country.

The first two parts were taken from the 2003 paper linked in the opening paragraph. The third part, the measure of average personal wealth, was taken from International Monetary Fund data regarding the GDP per capita of all countries (measured on a price purchasing parity basis).

If diversity really is a strength, then there will be a positive correlation between ethnic and cultural diversity and wealth. This would happen if diversity led to higher education levels or if it inspired entrepreneurialism.

If, on the other hand, diversity is not a strength but a weakness, then there will be a negative correlation between ethnic and cultural diversity and wealth. This would happen if diversity made it easier to divide and conquer the working class for the sake of driving down their wages.

When a correlation matrix is calculated, a strong link between diversity and poverty is apparent. This can be seen from the fact that there is a significant negative correlation of -0.36 between ethnic diversity and gross domestic product per capita. This means that a country’s score on the ethnic fractionalisation index predicts how wealthy it will be: the more diverse, the less wealthy.

There is also a significant negative correlation between cultural diversity and GDP per capita, although this is weaker at -0.18.

There are several reasons to think that diversity leads to poverty.
Diversity makes it harder for workers to organise, because a plurality of languages and cultures makes it more difficult to find common points around which to rally. Diversity also leads to mistrust, because the social signals that people consider to be signs of trustworthiness are either not present as often, or presented in a form that is not understood as readily. It also leads to corruption, as people are more readily inclined to cheat others if those others lack similarities.

There could, however, be underlying factors at play. If we add the fourth factor of IQ to the correlation matrix, we can see that there is also a correlation of 0.65 between IQ and GDP per capita, and even a correlation of -0.54 between IQ and ethnic diversity. So it might simply be that the reason for the correlation between diversity and poverty is that diverse places tend to be low IQ, and low IQ leads to poverty.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis).

The Case For Cannabis: A Majority Now Want Reform

One of the strongest arguments for cannabis prohibition was that it was what the majority wanted. For better or for worse, we live in a democratic system, which means that the law ought to reflect the collective wisdom of the majority, and opinion polling in Western countries used to favour cannabis prohibition. As this article will examine, that is no longer the case.

It’s true that opinion polls used to favour prohibition. In 1969 only 13% of Americans believed that cannabis should be legal. Only 44% of Americans believed that cannabis should be legal as recently as 2009. By 2018, however, opinion polls now favour legalisation. 66% of Americans now support legal recreational cannabis along the lines of the Colorado model, and the trend line points sharply upwards.

If one goes back 100 years, most people thought that cannabis should be legal anyway, as its medicinal applications were obvious: cannabis prohibition is the experimental condition, and it has failed. So this sharp decrease in prohibitionist sentiment over recent years is really a return to the baseline condition of liberal cannabis sentiment.

The public did consent to the experiment with prohibition, this is true, but this was the result of a naive people believing the lies of politicians beholden to industries that saw cannabis as a competitor. Foremost among these were the timber, alcohol and pharmaceutical industries. Being the paid whores that they are, Western politicians happily told lies about how cannabis had no medicinal value and was a dangerous drug, because their sponsors profitted from it.

As a result of these decades of lies, the public has not been accurately informed. As a result of that, they could not make correct decisions. Because politicians have been lying to people for decades about cannabis, there has been a common perception about cannabis that has taken a lot of effort to correct. When the public are accurately informed, things are different.

If people are correctly informed about cannabis, with reference to science, evidence and reality, they almost always come down on the side of legalisation. There is simply no scientific evidence supporting any of the common arguments about cannabis causing violent murders, rapes and general madness. The mid-1990s repeal movement in California associated with Proposition 215 was possibly the first time that a proper public attempt to tell the truth about cannabis had ever been made, and in that instance they came down on the side of legalisation.

As mentioned above, a clear majority of Americans are now in favour of legal cannabis, and something similar can be observed in New Zealand. Although opinion polling about the upcoming cannabis referendum is rudimentary on account of that the actual referendum question is yet to be formulated, what little there is suggests that the pro-cannabis side is already ahead. Probably it will pull further ahead as more positive news comes in from American states that have legalised.

Other opinion polls, asking more specific questions, have returned similar results in New Zealand. A Drug Foundations survey conducted in July found that two-thirds of the country wanted some kind of change to the cannabis laws, although they were not given a clear distinction between legalisation and decriminalisation. It also found that the prohibitionist side was no longer winning the recreational cannabis debate.

The next generation of young people is heavily pro cannabis all over the West, as seen in Understanding New Zealand. McGlashan calculated that the correlation between being under 20 and voting for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party was 0.41, whereas the correlation between being aged 65+ and voting for that party was -0.43. This means that the opponents to cannabis law reform are all dying off: after all, society advances one funeral at a time.

What this suggests is that the victory of cannabis law reform is inevitable. The fact is that the majority of anti-cannabis sentiment is held by brainwashed old people who are dying off. There is already a majority in favour of cannabis law reform everywhere, and this will only grow stronger as time progresses and old people who have been conditioned to hate cannabis users die.

Cannabis ought to be legal because a majority of people have now realised that the fears were grossly overblown and they want reform. Cannabis prohibition no longer has the support of the people, and support for it continues to fall. In a short number of years there will only be a remnant of cannabis prohibitionists left, and it might be better to put them out of their misery now.

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This article is an excerpt from The Case For Cannabis Law Reform, compiled by Vince McLeod and due for release by VJM Publishing in the summer of 2018/19.

Black Caps in the United Arab Emirates 2018, Second ODI Preview

The BetFair odds have narrowed since the Black Caps’ emphatic 47-run win in the first ODI, a win that included a Trent Boult hat trick. Surprisingly, though, they are still the underdogs, paying $2.26 on BetFair in the second ODI starting midnight tonight in Abu Dhabi. History suggests that this is an excellent bet – New Zealand have won their last 12 ODIs against Pakistan and won the last one with comfort.

The Black Caps will see little reason to tinker with what was a solid and effective side in the first ODI.

The core batting axis of Munro-Williamson-Taylor-Latham did the job for New Zealand, scoring 204 of the team’s 266 runs. Ross Taylor averages 61 against Pakistan and is a rock at No. 4, while Tom Latham averages 45 from his last 20 ODI matches. He struck at 106 over the course of his 68 in the first ODI, and will look to be positive again because of the expected need for high scoring from the middle order in next year’s Cricket World Cup in England.

However, the junior batsmen were poor. George Worker, Henry Nicholls and Colin de Grandhomme contributed one run between them, which meant that the bowlers had to finish the job of getting them over the line.

Worker is in the side as an injury replacement for Martin Guptill, and so the problem of weakness at opener will solve itself, but Black Caps coach Gary Stead will be concerned about that middle-order weakness as well. The balance of the side might demand that the Black Caps choose a batsman at 6 who is a more accomplished hitter than Nicholls.

Glenn Phillips is a major contender for this role, but his returns in the T20 series and in the A series before that were poor. Corey Anderson is another option, and he was excellent here for the Black Caps in the 2015 Cricket World Cup, but has been unfortunate with injury.

As far as the bowling is concerned, far too much is riding on Trent Boult.

Questions must continue to be asked about Tim Southee’s place as the opening bowler of the ODI side. Since the 2015 Cricket World Cup, Southee has averaged 43.34 with the ball, taking 43 wickets from 38 games. He neither swings nor seams the ball to any real extent, and neither is he fast or accurate. By contrast, Trent Boult has averaged 24.70, taking 79 wickets from 40 games.

Matt Henry has taken 39 wickets from his last 20 games at an average of 23.82. Incredibly, Henry only played 4 ODIs in the whole of 2017, which makes his lack of gametime seem like an appalling waste on the part of the Black Caps coaches. Dropping Southee and replacing him with Henry seems like a slam-dunk decision that would give the Black Caps the most dangerous new ball pair outside of India.

The Black Caps appear extremely vulnerable if Trent Boult doesn’t knock the top off the opposition batting order. Lockie Ferguson is a gun bowler and is improving steadily (16 wickets at 23.56 from his last 10 games), but doesn’t yet have the ability to threaten that even Henry has, much less Boult.

With Southee ineffective and de Grandhomme a true part-timer, this means that the only other attacking option is Ish Sodhi. Sodhi is a good bowler and is improving steadily – he has taken 17 wickets at 30.00 from his last 10 ODI matches. The question is whether he can pose enough of a threat with the ball for the Black Caps to not always lose the middle overs.

The big risk is that Pakistan will easily be able to consolidate once Boult finishes his first spell, because there is little threat from the rest of the bowlers. Pakistan had a century stand for the 7th wicket, and the Black Caps should rightly be worried about their ability to finish a game off.

Black Caps (probable):

1. George Worker
2. Colin Munro
3. Kane Williamson (c)
4. Ross Taylor
5. Tom Latham (wk)
6. Henry Nicholls
7. Colin de Grandhomme
8. Tim Southee
9. Ish Sodhi
10. Lockie Ferguson
11. Trent Boult

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Dan McGlashan is the man with his finger on the statistical pulse of New Zealand. His magnum opus, Understanding New Zealand, is the complete demographic analysis of the Kiwi people.

Black Caps in the United Arab Emirates 2018, First ODI Preview

The Black Caps will be looking to register their first win under the new coaching regime of Gary Stead when they play the first ODI against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi tonight (12am NZT). Returning to a more preferred format, they will be keen to show that they were not deserving of a 3-0 scoreline in the T20s. Having pushed Pakistan very closely in the first two matches of the T20 series, they will back themselves to get a win tonight.

Pakistan are the favourites on BetFair, paying $1.64 to New Zealand’s $2.54. This reflects a large degree of home advantage, because Pakistan have lost the last 11 ODIs in a row to New Zealand, and are ranked 5th on the ODI table compared to New Zealand’s 3rd. It may also reflect some of Pakistan’s red-hot T20 form, although New Zealand would back themselves to win any 50-over contest against a side they have beaten the last 11 times.

The Black Caps will be frustrated that there are some injuries, because they will force some difficult selection decisions. Martin Guptill will not participate in the ODI series on account of still being injured. Neither will Corey Anderson play any further role in the tour on account of a heel injury, which means that Colin de Grandhomme is all but guaranteed a spot in the ODI middle order. Todd Astle will miss this ODI because of knee irritation, which opens a spot at No. 8.

However, the core of the first-choice Black Caps side will be present. Indeed, new Black Caps coach Gary Stead is spoilt for choice in some areas.

For one thing, most of the top order is nailed-on in the form of captain Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor and Tom Latham. The first two are arguably New Zealand’s two finest ODI batsmen ever and Latham, although he might be the junior partner here, averages 42 from his last 20 ODI innings. Ross Taylor averages 62 from his last 50 ODI innings and is essentially now Martin Crowe reincarnate.

Colin Munro, who was very good in the T20 series with a 58 and a 44, will probably be continued with as the white-ball opener despite his lack of success there in the ODI setup. The plan is for him to replicate what Brendon McCullum used to offer and his T20 feats show that he is capable of it. Henry Nicholls has probably done enough to hang on to the No. 6 spot, with Colin de Grandhomme at 7.

The difficult choice comes when it comes to replacing Guptill. George Worker is the favourite, having opened the batting in both 4-day and 50-over formats in the recent New Zealand A tour matches in the UAE. A less likely option is a reshuffle that moves Latham back to opener and brings Mark Chapman or BJ Watling into the middle order, and even less likely (but still possible) is going for two hitters, England-style, and partnering Munro with Glenn Phillips at the top.

There is plenty of choice in the fast bowling stocks as well. Trent Boult returns from paternity leave, which means that Williamson can count on ten overs from New Zealand’s premiere bowler. The other opening bowler will be either the incumbent Tim Southee, who has been poor in ODIs in recent years, or Matt Henry, who was excellent over the winter in England country cricket.

The third seamer, if one is chosen, could be the other one of the two mentioned just now, or the ever-improving Lockie Ferguson, or even Adam Milne, who was arguably the first-choice third seamer at the time of the 2015 Cricket World Cup. Then again, there might not be a third seamer if the Black Caps decide to go with two spinners and to get 10 overs out of de Grandhomme, Munro and Williamson.

In any case, Stead will be forced to leave at least one excellent seam bowler out of the starting XI.

The Black Caps might play only the one spinner, but will probably play two on account of the slowness of the UAE wickets. The first choice is Ish Sodhi, who has become much more consistent with the white ball recently and who is the incumbent, but we are also likely to see Ajaz Patel feature.

New Zealand (probable):

1. George Worker
2. Colin Munro
3. Kane Williamson (c)
4. Ross Taylor
5. Tom Latham (wk)
6. Henry Nicholls
7. Colin de Grandhomme
8. Matt Henry
9. Ish Sodhi
10. Ajaz Patel
11. Trent Boult

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Dan McGlashan is the man with his finger on the statistical pulse of New Zealand. His magnum opus, Understanding New Zealand, is the complete demographic analysis of the Kiwi people.