Understanding New Zealand: Demographics of Maori Speakers

With the uptick in interest in Maori language recently, there has also been an interest in understanding who speaks the language. A large correlation matrix based on electoral and Census data can tell us a great deal. In this article, Dan McGlashan (author of Understanding New Zealand) tells the statistical story of Maori speakers.

There are two different ways of telling the story of the Maori-speaking demographic. The first is by comparing them to the population as a whole, and the second is to compare to them to the general Maori demographic. This article will do both because it is worthwhile to look at the two separately.

The correlation between being a Maori speaker and being a Maori is 0.99. Essentially this means that virtually everyone who speaks Maori in New Zealand is ethnically Maori. It also means that all of the correlations with being a Maori speaker will be close to the respective correlations with being a Maori, so that any differences between the two groups will be subtle ones (but hopefully instructive).

Curiously, the correlation between median personal income and being Maori (-0.48) was exactly the same as the one between median personal income and speaking Maori, but if we go down a level we can see a wider pattern in this data. For the most part, the voting patterns of Maori speakers mirrored that of Maoris, but there are patterns in the differences.

The average Maori speaker is slightly less likely than the average Maori to have voted Labour in 2017 (0.56 to 0.58). This is a small difference and it remains a fact that the average Maori speaker is strongly inclined to vote for the Labour Party. This is mirrored for National: the average Maori speaker is slightly more likely than the average Maori to have voted National in 2017 (-0.72 to -0.74).

The average Maori speaker was also slightly more likely to vote Green than the average Maori. The correlation between voting Green in 2017 and being a Maori speaker was -0.12, compared to -0.14 for the correlation between voting Green in 2017 and being Maori.

But if being a Maori speaker made one slightly more inclined to vote for the Greens, it made one slightly less likely to vote for New Zealand First. The correlation between voting New Zealand First in 2017 and being a Maori speaker was 0.35, compared to 0.38 for being Maori.

Because the Greens and National are the parties that tend to attract the most well-educated people, we can guess from this that the average Maori speaker is slightly better educated than the average Maori. Indeed, this proves to be the case.

The correlation between being a Maori speaker and having a university degree was -0.42 for all of Bachelor’s, Honours and Master’s degrees and -0.38 for a doctorate, whereas the correlation between being Maori and having a university degree was -0.45 for both Bachelor’s and a Master’s degrees, -0.46 for an Honours degree and -0.41 for a doctorate.

This tells us that the average Maori speaker is slightly better educated than the average Maori, despite being more poorly educated than the New Zealand average.

The correlations with age brackets tell us that the average Maori speaker is a bit older than the average Maori. The correlation between being in the 0-4 age bracket and being Maori was 0.82, whereas the correlation between being in that bracket and being a Maori speaker was 0.78. Conversely, the correlation between being in the 65+ age bracket and being Maori was -0.48, compared to a correlation of -0.47 between being aged 65+ and being a Maori speaker.

The correlations with the various industry types tells us in which industries we are more likely to find Maoris who speak Maori.

The correlation between working in the education and training industry and being Maori was 0.43, but the correlation between working in that industry and being a Maori speaker was 0.48. This tells us that a very high proportion of the Maoris working in that industry speak te reo (possibly because they work in whare whananga or similar).

On the other side of the equation, Maoris in some professions were less likely than average to be a Maori speaker. These were usually working-class professions. The correlation between working in the transport, postal and warehousing industry and being Maori was 0.47, whereas the correlation between working in this industry and being a Maori speaker was only 0.41. From this we can conclude that very few of the Maoris working in transport, postal and warehousing are Maori speakers.

In summary, this suggests that the average Maori speaker is a Maori who is a bit older and better educated than the Maori average.

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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.

Understanding New Zealand: City vs. Country

The division between city people and country people is one of the most telling in all of ethnography, and has been since the start of history. This is as true for New Zealand as it is for anywhere else. In this study, Dan McGlashan, author of Understanding New Zealand, looks at the statistical differences between people who live in the big cities (Auckland, Tauranga, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin, referred to here as “Living Urban”) and people who live in the provinces.

This study defines “City” electorates as any belonging to the following list: Auckland Central, Christchurch Central, Christchurch East, Dunedin North, Dunedin South, East Coast Bays, Epsom, Hamilton East, Hamilton West, Helensville, Hutt South, Ilam, Kelston, Mana, Mangere, Manukau East, Manurewa, Maungakiekie, Mt Albert, Mt Roskill, New Lynn, North Shore, Northcote, Ohariu, Pakuranga, Port Hills, Rongotai, Tamaki, Tauranga, Upper Harbour, Wellington Central, Wigram and Tamaki Makaurau.

These electorates tell a story that seems paradoxical on the surface. City dwellers are wealthier than provincial New Zealanders (the correlation being Living Urban and Median Personal Income was 0.37), but they are disinclined to vote for the wealthy party, National (the correlation between Living Urban and voting National in 2017 was, at -0.01, almost perfectly uncorrelated).

Urban people like to vote for the ACT and Green parties more than any others. The correlation between Living Urban and voting ACT in 2017 was 0.37; for Living Urban and voting Green in 2017 it was 0.36. The main reason for this is that young and trendy people support these parties, and young and trendy people live in urban areas.

The strongest negative correlations with Living Urban and voting for a particular party in 2017 were for New Zealand First (-0.60), voting Ban 1080 (-0.52) and voting Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party (-0.40). These three could be said to be the truly rural parties.

The two major parties both spanned the rural-urban divide. As mentioned above, urban dwellers do not vote National any more than rural dwellers do, but the grip of the Labour Party on the urban electorates is overstated. The correlation between Living Urban and voting Labour in 2017 was not significant, at only 0.11.

On a racial basis, it’s immediately clear that most rural people are Kiwis of European descent and Maoris, whereas most Pacific Islanders and the vast majority of Asians live in an urban setting. The correlation between being a Kiwi of European descent and Living Urban was -0.28, and between being Maori and Living Urban it was -0.35. This tells us that rural New Zealand is still very much a bicultural affair.

The correlation between being a Pacific Islander and Living Urban was significantly positive, at 0.33, and for Asians the correlation was strong, at 0.60. The reason for this is primarily because these two groups comprise the most recent waves of immigrants, and immigrants tend to establish themselves in major centres first before moving to the provinces. Indeed, the correlation between Living Urban and being foreign-born was 0.61.

Further clues appear when we examine the correlations between living in a big city and age. The correlation between Living Urban and median age was -0.23, on the border of significance, which tells us that the average city dweller is somewhat younger than the average country dweller. However, there were negative correlations between Living Urban and being in either of the youngest two age brackets, between ages 0 and 14 in total.

There were moderately strong correlations between Living Urban and being in either the 20-29 age bracket (0.50) or the 30-49 age bracket (0.51). These are also the age brackets that correlate the most highly with working fulltime and with median personal income. The correlations between Living Urban and being in either of the 50-64 or 65+ age brackets are both significantly negative.

What this tells us is the age-old story of young adults moving to the city for the sake of jobs and wealth, and then moving back out into the provinces again when it’s time to retire or perhaps to raise a family. This pattern of human migration, from country to city and back again, goes all the way back to at least Babylon, so it’s not surprising to find statistical evidence of it in contemporary New Zealand.

Keeping with the theme of employment, we can see that having any of the university degrees is significantly correlated with Living Urban (Bachelor’s at 0.63, Honours at 0.56, Master’s at 0.62, doctorate at 0.48). As described elsewhere, the reason for this is because of the strong correlation between having a university degree and working full-time.

In short, all the capital is in the cities, therefore that’s where the full-time jobs are, therefore anyone wishing to save money (as young, educated people tend to do) must live in an urban area. Indeed, there is a positive correlation (although not a significant one) of 0.18 between Living Urban and working in a full-time job.

This explanation is reinforced if one looks at the correlations between working in capital-intensive professions and living in an urban environment. The correlation between Living Urban and working in a particular profession was 0.58 for professional, scientific and technical services, 0.59 for information media and telecommunications and 0.61 for financial and insurance services. Notably, it was -0.72 for agriculture, forestry and fishing, for obvious reasons.

There was a significant positive correlation between Living Urban and renting one’s house (0.30) and a significant negative one between Living Urban and living in a freehold house (-0.31). This ties in with the observation that people in big cities have a different attitude to wealth generation: they are likely to become educated and earn a large wage with heavy expenses, whereas rural people tend to consolidate and grow wealth by minimising expenses.

Indeed, while there was virtually no correlation (0.01) between Living Urban and being unemployed, there was a significant correlation (0.27) between Living Urban and working for a wage or salary. This also ties in with the aforementioned fact that the jobs on offer tend to be where the major accumulations of capital are.

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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.

For the House-Buying Power of 26 Years Ago, The Average Kiwi Wage Would Have to Be $79.25/hr Today

“Remember back in 1992, when you used to be able to just… work and buy a house to raise a family in?”

Housing is commonly left out of inflation measures, which is why low inflation rates are always reported. Unfortunately for Kiwis, the reality is that housing costs make up a large and ever-growing proportion of our expenses. This study will show that the average house-buying power of the average Kiwi worker is less than 40% of what it was 26 years ago.

The average house price in New Zealand on the 31st of January 1992 was $105,000, according to Real Estate Institute of New Zealand figures. This is as far back as figures go – 26 years. The average wage in New Zealand was $14.72 in the first quarter of 1992, according to Trading Economics. Assuming a 40-hour workweek, this works out to an average weekly wage of $588.80.

If a person saved 50% of their average wage in 1992, they would save $294.40 a week, which would be $15,351 per year. This would allow that person to buy the average New Zealand house after 6.84 years. So a person who completed university at the end of 1991, at age 21, and got a job at the average wage with their Bachelor’s degree, could expect to own an average house, mortgage-free, before age 30.

Saving half of one’s income is some feat, however, especially if one also has to pay rent or a mortgage. Saving 25% of the average wage, a more attainable proportion, would see a person in 1992 save $147.20 a week. This would be $7675 per year, which makes the average house attainable after 13.68 years.

Still, that means that in 1992, anyone who was willing and able to work at the average wage could own their own house outright within 13.68 years if they could only save a quarter of their income. This means by age 35 if they graduated from university at age 21 and saved a quarter of their income after then. Easy times.

In 2018, things are very different. The average wage has now gone up to $31.08 by the second quarter of 2018, but the average house price has jumped to $560,000 in those 26 years.

Using the example above, a person who qualified from university at the end of 2017 at age 21, and who immediately got a job at the average wage, would earn $1,243.20 per week. 25% of this is $310.80, which works out to $16,206 per year. Because the average house price is now $560,000 in New Zealand, that means that the average Kiwi worker now has to work for 34.56 years before they can expect to own their own house outright.

This means that the average Kiwi in 2018, even if they graduated at age 21 straight into an average wage and saved 25% of their income perpetually, still couldn’t afford to own the average house freehold until age 55, whereas such a thing was attainable 26 years ago by age 35. The middle-class dream is now dead in New Zealand. Kiwis are now tenants in what used to be our own country, enslaved by capital.

Another way of looking at this grim equation is that the average wage in 2018 has a mere 39.6% of the average-house-buying power that the average wage had in 1992. Even a person who managed to save 50% of the average wage from age 21 – a frankly incredible feat in today’s economy – couldn’t own the average house until age 39.

To correct this imbalance, the average wage would have to rise 155%, from $31.08 to $79.25. This is the cold, hard maths of our situation: the average wage would have to be almost $80 to give the average Kiwi worker the same chance of owning the average home as in 1992.

Note that an average wage of $79.25 an hour would represent no change in wealth from 1992. Even with an average wage that high, we would still have no more average-house-buying power than the average wage did in 1992. All of the benefits of the last 26 years of technological and logistical advances would go to their creators and the capital that financed them.

$79.25 is what the average Kiwi worker would have to make per hour today, in order to have the same average-house-buying power as they would have had in 1992. If the average worker got a share of that, the average wage would be over $100 per hour.

Note also that it’s much harder to get a job paying the average wage at age 21 now, compared to 1992. A Bachelor’s degree is no longer the mark of excellence that it was in the mid 1990s – now one needs a Master’s degree to be at that level, which means two more years of no earnings and borrowed money. Moreover, the open borders of neoliberalism mean that you now have to compete with half of the planet just to get that one job.

Note thirdly that $560,000 is the average New Zealand price and is no way representative of Auckland or even Christchurch or Wellington. If you want to buy an average house in a relatively major centre you will be looking at paying even more than $560,000.

In summary, the Baby Boomers of New Zealand have subjected Generation X and the Millenials to what can only be described as intergenerational rape.

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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).

Cricket Is More of a Global Sport Than Soccer Is

Geographical spread of Soccer World Cup winners

Another Soccer World Cup, another champion from Europe. Everyone is waxing lyrical at the moment about how wonderful the Soccer World Cup is, and how it bring all nations together in harmony with a common goal. The truth, as this essay will demonstrate, is that cricket is more of a global sport than soccer by at least three major measures.

Geographic representation

As can be seen by the quarterfinalists of the recently concluded Soccer World Cup, soccer is still very much a European sport. Six of the eight quarterfinalists came from this one continent that contains less than 10% of the world’s population.

Over the last three FIFA World Cups, 23 of the 24 quarterfinalists have come from either Europe or Latin America. The single exception was Ghana, back in 2010. So only two continents are ever really represented by the finalists in Soccer World Cups. Asia, Africa, Anglo America, Australia and Oceania don’t feature – a group of countries that includes the world’s five most populous.

For the most part, only Europeans and South Americans really play soccer, but they are capable of getting an extremely high level of performance out of Africans that have been integrated into European structures. Sufficient evidence for this comes from the fact that France won the 2018 World Cup just now.

Since World War Two, only one team from outside Europe and Latin America has ever made a Soccer World Cup semifinal: South Korea in 2002, and they only advanced that far thanks to some extremely questionable refereeing decisions. Every single other semifinalist has been from one of two continents. This is hardly befitting of “the world sport”.

The Cricket World Cup, by contrast, brings the entire world together. The last Cricket World Cup, in 2015, featured teams from four different continents at the semifinal stage: Asia, Africa, Australia and Oceania. Teams from North America and Europe have previously contested finals, meaning the overall reach of the sport is greater than that of soccer.

Population

Some people object to the statement made in the first section of this essay. Although most are willing to concede that the geographical representation of soccer is not great, many will nevertheless insist that Europe is a great population centre and therefore can’t merely be counted as one continent. This may have been true a century ago, but no longer is.

The population of Europe is 741,000,000. The population of Latin America is 640,000,000. This means that virtually all of the Soccer World Cup quarterfinalists throughout history come from a bloc of 1,381,000,000 people, roughly 20% of the world’s population.

The remaining 80% of the world’s population – comprising China, India, Africa, Indonesia and Pakistan – essentially never get representation among the final eight teams of Soccer World Cups. India and Pakistan have both won Cricket World Cups, by contrast, and are perennial quarterfinalists along with Bangladesh, South Africa and Sri Lanka.

The population of India, where cricket is the only game in town, is 1,325,000,000, essentially the same as the combined populations of Europe and Latin America. This is a fact that needs repeating for those who think that soccer is the global game: the combined populations of the only places capable of competing at the top level of soccer only just equals the population of India alone.

Measuring population properly requires that we add, to the cricket-fanatic side of the ledger, Pakistan (pop. 208,000,000), Bangladesh (pop. 163,000,000), Sri Lanka and Australia (c. 60,000,000), plus several million others in England, South Africa, New Zealand, Ireland and the West Indies, where cricket might not be the national sport but is still one of the major ones.

Against this, soccer has much less overall market share in the countries in which it is popular than cricket does. In Europe and Latin America, soccer has to compete with volleyball, basketball, tennis, handball and golf; in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, cricket is completely dominant. Therefore, it must have more total fans in the world than soccer does.

Appeal within nations

Possibly the most crucial of the three difference between the sports is this one. Soccer mostly appeals to a lower socioeconomic demographic, for who the sport is an escape from the drudgery of everyday life, akin to a circus. Cricket, by contrast, appeals to a higher socioeconomic demographic, for who the sport is the complete test of mental and physical strength and skill and more akin to improvisational theatre.

Soccer players are frequently crude, brutal, thuggish. They cheat so shamelessly that many consider it part of the game. Cricket is a sharp contrast. Men like Rahul Dravid, Ross Taylor and AB de Villiers are complete gentlemen: gracious in victory and defeat, magnanimous, charismatic, serene. Former Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is literally a prince. He is the upper class of the upper class, an aristocrat by any measure.

If any doubt remains that soccer fans are inherently more base than cricket fans, simply examine the writings of former cricketers like Martin Crowe and Kumar Sangakkara on CricInfo. There is no soccer equivalent.

What soccer is – and this is the cornerstone of its apparent popularity – is the McDonald’s of world sports. It’s a corporatised appeal to the dopamine-deprived brains of society’s lowest common denominator, which is all it can really be on account of its simplistic and luck-based nature. Soccer fans like to tout the ease of understanding the sport as one of its drawcards, but it reality this simply makes it boring to anyone with an IQ over 110 or so.

Over a billion people watched the final of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, according to FIFA themselves. However, more people saw the India vs. Pakistan match during the 2015 Cricket World Cup. The world record for concurrent viewers to a live-streaming platform was set at 10,700,000 earlier this year, not by the final of a European soccer league but by the Indian Premier League of T20 cricket.

What does it mean that more people watch a group match in the Cricket World Cup than the final of the hypefest that is the Soccer World Cup? What does it mean that more people watch the final of an Indian cricket league than the final of any European soccer league? It can only mean that cricket appeals to more human beings than soccer does.

In summary, the delusion that soccer is the “global game”, simply because it’s played in Europe, Latin America and Africa, has to end. Europe is now less than 10% of the world’s population, barely more than half of the population of India alone. If those Indians are to be considered people of equal value to the Europeans, it must be conceded that their passions are of equal value. If so, cricket is a more passionately-followed sport than soccer, measured on a global basis.

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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 Northcote By-Election Result is Fraudulent and Illegitimate

Northcote by-election candidate Dan Bidois was crowned the winner, despite only getting the support of 21% of eligible voters

The reason why our ruling class have the right to rule, so they claim, is because they have the consent of the masses. But the winner of yesterday’s Northcote by-election and newly crowned Member of Parliament, Dan Bidois, did not have the consent of the masses. Therefore, the Northcote by-election result is fraudulent and illegitimate.

19,900 people cast a vote in the Northcote by-election. According to the Northcote Electoral Profile on the Parliamentary Profiles page, there are 49,569 eligible voters in that electorate. This tells us that barely more than 40% of eligible voters chose to participate in the democratic process – something like 30,000 people abstained.

The question then has to be asked: how is the election of Bidois to the House of Representatives legitimate, when fewer than half of eligible voters took part in the election process? If so few people believed that the democratic process was worth participating in, isn’t that sufficient evidence that it has failed, that its claims of legitimacy are fraudulent?

Bidois himself won 10,147 votes in the by-election, which amounts to almost 21% of the eligible voters in Northcote. If no-one cares about the election, how can the winner of it legitimately claim to have any power to rule anyone? Any reasonable person can see that this is absurd. We can’t possibly know what the electorate wants unless we canvas the non-voters.

One candidate, Liam Walsh of Not A Party, ran specifically on the non-vote. His platform was that democracy has failed and is inherently corrupt (hard to deny) and that it would be better for us to scrap it entirely and work together instead of using the democratic system to try and fuck each other over.

After all, as a National MP, Dan Bidois will immediately work towards the further enslavement of the young, the Maori and the working class. Walsh notes that Bidois came second to an empty seat.

One wonders what would happen if those 60% of adults in Northcote who do not feel represented by New Zealand’s peculiar imitation of democracy gave their allegiance to Walsh instead of to the central government.

What if, instead of paying taxes to the IRD to piss up the wall on flag referendums, yacht races, imprisoning medicinal cannabis growers and importing Somali rapists, people paid no taxes, and we had neither flag referendums nor a justice system putting people in cages for growing medicinal plants?

Some might respond that having no democratic government will leave the community unable to solve problems that require collective solutions, but Dan Bidois, with his 21% support, sure as fuck isn’t going to be solving them either. He, like the majority of backbenchers, will stick his nose straight up the arsehole of his party’s leader, in this case Simon Bridges, and he will keep it wedged there as long as the National Party hierarchy is responsible for his meal ticket. As a consequence he will vote to enforce National Party policy and dogma – not the will of the Northcote electorate.

A democratic election that gets 40% turnout cannot claim to return a legitimate ruler. The vast majority of the Northcote electorate did not consent to being represented by Bidois; therefore, his being in the House of Representatives is no more legitimate than it would have been if the CIA had helped him raise an army that seized power through force.

After all, a foreign-backed dictatorship might even gain the consent of more than 21% of the population – assuming it put a sufficiently enlightened person on the throne – which would make it no less legitimate than yesterday’s by-election.

If the democratic process is rejected by a majority of the people, then it’s time to get together and to think up a new political philosophy that adequately represents them. It’s apparent from the fact that New Zealand clings to cannabis prohibition, a policy supported by almost no-one, that the will of the people is not represented by the law enacted by their rulers. This failure to represent the people’s will is evidence that democracy has failed and needs to be superceded.

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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).

What Would the Average Hourly Wage Be in New Zealand If Wages Had Kept Up With House Prices?

New Zealand is torn by inter-generational tension right now. The young have no hope of finding houses they can afford and the old simply blame them for being too lazy to work hard enough to afford one. However, the numbers show that workers today get a much worse deal than they did 30 years ago. This article looks at what the average wage in New Zealand would be if it had kept pace with the price of houses since the late 1980s.

This graph from the Trading Economics website tracks the increase in the New Zealand Average Hourly Wage over the past 30 years. We can see that the average hourly wage in New Zealand, as of the beginning of 2018, is $31.03. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand website contains many interesting statistics and graphs, many of which can be downloaded from this link. This article will combine both sources.

In March of 2001, the House Price Index (from the RBNZ link above) stood at 700.2. At this time, the average hourly wage was $17.70. So if a person wished to purchase a $300,000 house, suitable for a growing family, they would have to have capital equal to 16,949 hours of work at the average wage.

According to this article by Human Resources Director, Kiwis work an average of 1,762 hours a year (this figure was for 2014, but for cultural reasons this figure does not change much over time). This means that, in March of 2001, buying a house suitable for raising a family in required capital equal to 9.62 years of full-time work at the average wage.

How does that compare to today?

After seventeen years of red-hot growth, the House Price Index now stands at 2480.8. This represents an increase of 254% over those seventeen years, and it means that a $300,000 house in March 2001 now costs $1,062,000 (all growth factors assumed equal). As mentioned above, the average hourly wage in New Zealand has increased from $17.70 in that time to $31.03, which represents an increase of 75%.

In other words, in January of 2018, buying a $1,062,000 house, suitable for raising a family in, requires capital equal to 34,224 hours of working at the average hourly wage. This is equivalent to 19.42 years of work at the average hourly wage.

We can see, then, that when measured in terms of a person’s ability to purchase a house suitable for raising a family in, the average New Zealander is less than half as wealthy as they were only 17 years ago. To have the same house buying power that it had in 2001, an average wage in New Zealand would now have to be $62.65 per hour.

People working in 1989 – when the majority of Baby Boomers would have been in the workforce – had it even better still. In December of 1989 the House Price Index stood at 453.5; the average hourly wage stood at $13.07 in the first quarter of that year.

So our standard family home that cost $300,000 in 2001 cost a mere 64.8% of that price in 1989, whereas the average wage in 1989 was 73.8% of what it was in 2001. Put another way, the average house suitable for raising a family in cost $194,400 in 1989, which represented capital equal to 14,873 hours of labour at the average wage. This was equivalent to a mere 8.44 years of saved labour.

The average house price has gone up 447% over the past 30 years in New Zealand; the average hourly wage has gone up 137% in that time. So to have the same house-buying power as the average New Zealand worker in 1989, a Kiwi in 2018 would have to get paid $71.50 an hour. This would allow them to buy a decent house after saving around 14,000 hours of the average wage, which is the standard of living that the average worker had in 1989.

In summary, the average New Zealand worker has lost almost 60% of the house-buying power of their wage over the past 30 years.

Buying a decent house in 2018 costs savings equal to 19.42 years of work at the average wage; 30 years ago buying an equivalent quality of housing cost savings equal to 8.44 years of work. So if a Kiwi left home at age 18 in 1970 and saved half of their income on the average wage they could own a house by age 35; a Kiwi who left home at age 18 in the year 2000 and saved half of their income on the average wage can’t expect to own one before they turn 57.

Despite tiny relative savings on consumer electronics, it’s obvious that the standard of living for young people is much lower nowadays than it was 30 years ago. The fact that wages haven’t come close to keeping up with housing costs is the main culprit.

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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. Available on TradeMe for $35.60.

Who Owns The New Zealand Media?

Whoever owns the New Zealand media sets the public narrative in this country – do we know who that is?

In more sophisticated countries, informed citizens go to considerable lengths to detect any biases among the people reporting the news. This is necessary to make sure that one develops a balanced, nuanced and independent opinion. Kiwis don’t generally bother with such things, preferring instead to believe everything we’re told like the good little lambs we are – except for this article.

It’s often remarked upon, by foreign visitors, that New Zealanders blindly believe everything they hear in the news. Conditioned into obedience by a brutal state education system that encourages bullying, social and emotional abuse, Kiwis are too afraid to question anything even vaguely resembling an authority, such as a television.

Given that we don’t question what the media is trying to tell us, it’s worthwhile figuring out who owns our media, because these same people effectively own our beliefs and opinions. In other words, let’s find out who own our minds.

We can find a ranked list of the major players in New Zealand cyberspace from Alexa. The two major internet portals in New Zealand are the New Zealand Herald and Stuff. You could confidently argue that the New Zealand online mediascape was an effective duopoly, with NZH and Stuff the only real players.

New Zealand Media and Entertainment (NZME) controls the New Zealand Herald brand, ranked by Alexa as the 9th biggest website in New Zealand. NZME is a large media conglomerate (by NZ standards, anyway), as can be seen from the list of newspapers they own at the bottom of their company page.

Finding out who owns NZME is not straightforward, because they are a publicly traded company on both the New Zealand and Australian stock exchanges. Helpfully, their own investor relations page lists their top 20 shareholders, but this doesn’t lead very far. All of the major shareholders are banks or holding companies for banks.

Number one on the list is Citicorp Nominees Pty Ltd, which is based in Sydney. According to Bloomberg, this company is a subsidiary of Citicorp Pty Ltd, which has been incorporated since 1954 and “provides a range of banking and financial products and services to retail, small business, corporate, and institutional clients primarily in Australia.”

One would think that this would surely be the end of the trail, but no. Citicorp Pty Ltd is itself a subsidiary, this time of Citigroup Holding (Singapore) Private Limited. This too, is a subsidiary: of Citigroup Asia Pacific Holding LLC, itself a subsidiary of Citi International Investments Bahamas Limited, itself a subsidiary of Citi Overseas Holdings Bahamas Limited, a child entity of Citigroup Inc.

Citigroup is a gigantic American bank, one large enough to be considered “too big to fail”, with its origins in the City Bank of New York, chartered in 1812. The closest Citigroup has to an owner, at 7.06% of the shareholding, is Vanguard Inc., “One of the world’s largest investment management companies” (as per their company page). In second place, at 4.76% of the shareholding, is State Street Corporation, another investment management bank. Third, with 4.51%, is BlackRock Inc., yet another global investment management corporation.

So that line of investigation doesn’t lead to any specific names, but neither is it any easier trying to figure out who is behind any of the other of New Zealand Media and Entertainment’s major shareholders.

J P Morgan Nominees Australia Ltd is at third place on the NZME shareholder’s list, with 12.69%. Finding out out who owns JP Morgan Nominees Australia Ltd is no easy task, as the article linked here demonstrates. One passage from the linked article reads “Unfortunately, it is practically impossible to track down the identities of those underlying shareholders through the various financial structures that hold shares for each other and on behalf of each other.”

If it’s practically impossible to find out who owns NZME, what about finding out who owns Stuff, the 3rd largest website in New Zealand?

Investigating this is just a shorter path to the same place. The Stuff brand is owned by Fairfax New Zealand Limited, a subsidiary of Fairfax Media Ltd., which is also publicly traded on the ASX. As it turns out, the second-largest shareholder of Fairfax Media Ltd. is none other than Vanguard Inc.

They only own 2.26% of the shares, however, so can only give us a clue as to the ownership of Fairfax Media Ltd. Looking down the list of funds and institutions that own shares in Fairfax, there’s little more than a pile of asset management companies, wealth funds and banks. As with Vanguard, BlackRock also appears on the list of major owners of both Citigroup and Fairfax Media Ltd.

The story with television media is little different to the story just described with print and online media. The New Zealand television market is, like the print and online media markets, an effective duopoly between Television New Zealand (TVNZ) and MediaWorks New Zealand.

TVNZ is Government-owned, but is almost entirely funded by commercials and is therefore little different to any other commercial broadcaster. MediaWorks New Zealand, for its part, is entirely owned by Oaktree Capital Management, which is (you guessed it) another global investment and wealth management fund.

In summary, no-one has any fucking idea who owns the New Zealand media, apart from the small niche carved out by TVNZ and the independents. Trying to pin it down to any one person is like trying to catch shadows in a jar. The best one can say is that the New Zealand media is ultimately controlled by global wealth management funds and corporations and their nominated representatives.

Being owned by such institutions tells us that the New Zealand media is run for profit and probably has little agenda other than commercial. In other words, there is little in the way of direct political propaganda or slanted editorial content, but one can expect the quality of the journalism to degrade to that which appeals to the lowest common denominator in society. Indeed, it has.

The astute reader will have drawn a connection between all of this bank ownership and the never-ending series of “I became a homeowner at age 21”-style stories. The reason for this is the banks benefit directly from a shallow, consumerist, disposable culture in which it’s considered normal for people move away from their parents and get a massive mortgage so that they can pay hundreds of thousands of dollars of interest to a gigantic, parasitic investment corporation.

In other words, the owners of the New Zealand media directly make money from consumerist culture, in particular from people taking out loans to buy shit that they don’t need. This is why all manner of wasteful, extravagant and unnecessary consumer purchases are advertised, and normalised, by the New Zealand media.

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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 2017 New Zealand Political Whores Index

A bar chart of the Political Whores Index, calculated as votes received in the 2017 General Election per $1,000 spent

The New Zealand Electoral Commission has now returned its list of party expenses for the 2017 General Election. This enables us here at VJM Publishing to update 2014’s Political Whores Index. 2017’s Political Whores Index tells us who tried to earn a place in Parliament, and who tried to buy one.

The logic of the Political Whores Index works like this. Political parties spend money at election time to get media exposure, because the more media exposure a party gets, the more votes it gets. This is usually easier and cheaper than actually talking to people and hearing their concerns. Effectively, parties just turn on the media funding tap and votes come out.

The correlation between dollars spent on campaign expenses for the 2017 General Election and votes received is 0.95, which pretty much tells us that our democracy is for sale. The more money you can spend, the more votes, is the hard and fast rule.

So all of our political parties are whores, but it can be said that the more money a party spends and the fewer votes they get, the more of a whore they are. This can be considered whoring because the parties that do it try to buy votes by transmitting a manufactured impression through the media, rather than honestly trying to build goodwill among the people by meeting and talking to them so that they can form their own impression.

This willingness to whore oneself out instead of honestly building a positive reputation among the New Zealand people can be expressed as a ratio of dollars spent on election expenses to votes returned by the populace. As was true of our effort in 2014, which saw the ACT party crowned the whoriest party in New Zealand and the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party the most honest one, we will present those ratios in an ordered list.

In the following table, PWI stands for ‘Political Whores Index’ and is calculated by dividing the number of votes each party received in the 2017 General Election by the declared party expenses for each party contesting the 2017 General Election (in dollars), multiplying the remainder by 1,000, then rounding to the nearest whole number.

In other words, it represents the number of votes won per $1,000 spent.

PARTY $ SPENT VOTES PWI
ALCP 1696 8075 4761
National 2546742 1152075 452
Ban1080 7749 3005 388
Labour 2580523 956184 371
NZ First 679095 186706 275
Internet 2322 499 215
MANA 17921 3642 203
Greens 818525 162443 198
United Future 12963 1782 137
Maori 225552 30580 136
Conservative 71764 6253 87
TOP 1013714 63261 62
Democrats 13761 806 59
NZ Outdoors Party 43508 1620 37
ACT 601487 13075 22
NZ People’s Party 274541 1890 7

For the second election running, the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party was, by far, the least whoriest of all the parties that contested in 2017. They returned a staggering 4,761 votes for every $1,000 spent – unarguable evidence that cannabis law reform is an issue that the New Zealand people are demanding. As shown elsewhere, cannabis law reform is the issue that unites real Kiwis.

No other party achieved so much as 10% of this ratio. Many will be surprised to hear that the National Party was second, with 452 votes for every $1,000 spent. In short, the electorate wasn’t particularly displeased with how National was running things, despite that National lost power. Yes, there was widespread misery among the poor and we have the highest youth suicide rate in the world, but people who vote don’t care much about that.

The Ban 1010 Party was 3rd, just edging out Labour, who won 371 votes for every $1,000 spent. It’s curious, perhaps, that Labour and National are both doing quite well by this measure, as they are both mainstream parties. But this simply speaks further to how there was no real appetite for change among Kiwis. People weren’t particularly interested in upsetting the apple cart.

The New Zealand First Party did moderately well, gathering 271 votes per $1,000 spent. Unlike 2014, this was considerably poorer than the National and Labour parties, probably reflecting Winston Peters’s decline as a public speaker, as many of their votes in 2014 were gained through town hall meetings.

The Green Party were the whoriest of the four major parties. They only got 198 votes per $1,000 spent. So they spent about as third as much as National for about one-seventh of the votes. This tells us that the electorate has partially turned against the Green Party message, despite their strong support of the cannabis law reform issue. It may have been that the Green proposal to raise the refugee quota drove a lot of Maori and working class voters to Labour and New Zealand First.

The Opportunities Party was a poor return on investment, although as it was essentially a vanity project it could not be said to have failed simply on that basis. With wall-to-wall saturation coverage on FaceBook and other Internet portals, they spent over a million dollars for a little over 60,000 votes, thereby achieving a PWI of 62 votes for every $1,000 spent.

It’s illuminating to compare the PWI of The Opportunities Party with that of the ALCP. The Opportunities Party spent almost 600 times as much as the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party, and won less than 8 times the number of voters. Considering that most TOP voters were voting for legal cannabis anyway, this figure shows that TOP was really a joke party that tried to buy its way into Parliament.

Speaking of joke parties that try to buy their way into Parliament, the Conservative Party scored a PWI of 87, only slightly better than TOP. This tells us that the 5% threshold is really an outstanding idea, because it prevents wealthy, narcissistic freaks from assembling a coterie of arselickers and simply spending so much money on media exposure that they can brainwash the mentally weakest twenty thousand of the population into casting a vote for them.

Worst of all, however, was the New Zealand People’s Party. Also the vanity project of a rich Baby Boomer, they pissed away over quarter of a million dollars for a paltry 1,890 votes. This left them with a PWI of 7, which means that their message was 660 times less appealing to the New Zealand people (all factors equalised) than that of the ALCP.

MANA (203), United Future (137) and the Maori Party (136) all had reasonably poor PWIs, but were still significantly higher than the “fuckwit” parties.

Ultimately, the Political Whores Index suggests that the New Zealand people are quite happy with our current arrangement of two major parties and two minor ones, because none of the more radical parties were able to gain any particularly high level of traction for their amount of electoral spending. It was mostly dollars in, votes out.

Just give us some real cannabis law reform.

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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).

Should There Be A Ministry of Men’s Affairs?

Life is so much harder for men in New Zealand that they kill themselves at almost three times the rate of women

Many people were shocked, and many were not, by Julie Anne Genter’s comments this week about old white men. Speaking to Cobham Intermediate School pupils, Genter made the point that some of these old white men “need to move on and allow for diversity and new talent.” These statements were made in her capacity as Minister for Women, but if you look at the statistics, it seems like there’s more need for a Minister for Men.

The reason for a Ministry of Women’s Affairs was ostensibly to close the gaps between the well-being of women and men. Since the advent of Abrahamic religion in the West, women have been forced into a subservient role, being forced to take the blame for the fall of man as well as for invoking the horror of Nature. Biblical passages such as Timothy 2:12 instructed Christendom that “I do not permit a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man; she is to remain quiet.”

Ever since these male supremacist religious cults invaded the West, our women have been forced to endure structural abuse. Divorce was banned, forcing women to endure permanent relationships with violent men. Prostitution was banned, denying women natural opportunity for economic advancement. Abortion was banned, forcing women to carry unwanted children to term or else risk a back-alley abortion from a “doctor” with no licence.

By any objective measurement, women had the worst of it for a very long time, and, when we realised this, we tried to make up for it with things like feminism and Ministries for Women’s Affairs. What we’ve been slow to realise is that, now that advantage is mostly a matter of obedience to the political, educational and commerical authorities, women have it better than men in many regards.

Most obviously, women have a much easier time of things in academic settings. Page 38 of the document linked in this paragraph demonstrates that women get better grades in literacy, and page 42 shows that they also get better grades in numeracy. This disparity is even worse for men at university level, which New Zealand women are 40% more likely to participate in.

When men had higher university participation rates than women, the media couldn’t keep quiet about how sexist and evil this state of affairs was. Indeed, this was one of the stated reasons for bringing in a Ministry of Women’s Affairs in the first place. An inequality of outcome in terms of education and gender was simply impermissible, immoral, outrageous.

In 2015, 527 New Zealanders killed themselves, of who 384 were men (72.8%). That means for every Kiwi woman who feels so rejected by society that she is compelled to take her own life, there are almost three Kiwi men who feel the same way. This is greater than the gap between Maori and non-Maori suicide rates, which is itself considered a large enough gap to be a national tragedy that demands immediate action (indeed, there is a Ministry of Maori Development).

So if society is so bad for Maori people that they need their own Ministry, as evidenced by suicide rates, and if society was so bad for women that they needed their own Ministry, as evidenced by tertiary participation rates, then surely there is sufficient cause to say that New Zealand men need someone looking out for them as well?

It’s absurd to claim that women are disadvantaged compared to men because men earn 20% more, when at the same time men are killing themselves at almost 300% the rate of women. It’s doubly absurd when it’s considered that women are benefitting immensely from the way that the pension system is set up, at the expense of predominantly male workers.

If the experience of being a man in New Zealand is so much less pleasant than the experience of being a woman that it carries triple the risk of suicide, it’s time to take steps to redress the balance by instituting a Ministry of Men’s Affairs to make up for all the privilege that women hold.

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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).

Henry Nicholls is Legitimately Good – Time to Accept It

Hammerin’ Hank Nicholls is inviting comparisons to Andrew Jones with his bulldog tenacity, scoring solid runs despite an ungainly style

Fewer Black Caps players in recent times have come in for more stick than Henry Nicholls. Frequently derided as a passenger, many commentators have been calling for Hesson to get rid of him for good. This article will argue that not only is Nicholls a legitimately good batsman already, but we ought to accept that he’ll be in the Black Caps for a very long time.

Black Caps supporters have been spoiled rotten in recent years. We have Kane Williamson averaging 51, Ross Taylor averaging 47, and a bunch of players like Tom Latham, Jeet Raval and BJ Watling averaging around 40. It’s probably our best ever batting lineup, even surpassing the Wright-Jones-Crowe one of the late 1980s and early 1990s.

It’s so good that we’ve failed to appreciate the quality record that’s slowly being established by our incumbent No. 5, Canterbury’s Henry Nicholls. After 17 Tests, Nicholls has 837 runs at 38.04 – not spectacular on the face of things, but if we look deeper there are some very encouraging trends in those numbers, not least an average of 49.25 over his last ten Tests.

The vast majority of quality international batsmen don’t hit the ground running, as it takes a while to adapt to the top level of the game. Let’s contrast Nicholls’s returns after 17 Tests to the great Kiwi batsmen: Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Martin Crowe et al. After 17 Tests, Williamson averaged a mere 29.80; Crowe 24.88. Taylor did not get thrown in the deep end as young as Williamson and Crowe, but after 17 Tests he was barely ahead of Nicholls, at 39.46.

Tom Latham’s average after 17 Tests was also 39. All this tells us that, even by way of comparison to New Zealand’s best, Nicholls stacks up pretty good. Some might criticise his style, but he’s scoring the runs. Leaving aside the overall numbers, Nicholls has succeeded in playing a number of excellent innings in tough conditions.

His first excellent innings may have been the 116 he scored in the Second Test of South Africa’s 2017 tour to New Zealand. Nicholls came in at 21/3 after the dismissal of Neil Broom and scored a counter-attacking 116. The Black Caps still lost, but Nicholls’s maiden Test century came against incredibly skilled bowling that had already done early damage.

Less heralded is Nicholls’s 76 in this Test against South Africa in South Africa. The Black Caps lost heavily – the reason why Nicholls’s effort is not feted – but it would have been a humiliating loss were it not for the 76 he scored in the Black Caps’ second innings, coming in at 7/4 after Williamson had edged a cut to slip. 76 runs might not be many, but coming in on a tricky wicket against superb bowling when his team’s top order had been obliterated, it was an innings of exquisite skill.

The crowning work was of course this week’s 145* against James Anderson and Stuart Broad, on a pitch where England had been dismissed for 58 and no other batsman had passed 33 aside from Kane Williamson. Anderson came into the match as the world’s No. 1 Test bowler and with conditions expected to suit him, but neither he nor Stuart Broad succeeded in dismissing the Black Caps No. 5.

If one considers these innings in tough conditions alongside Nicholls’s generally excellent shot selection, it seems like he has all the tools, including the most important one – the right mind for the game. His numbers might not be outstanding, and no-one’s claiming that he’s going to be another Williamson, but if he keeps improving at this rate he could fashion an excellent career.

It’s time for Black Caps fans to accept that Henry Nicholls belongs alongside Williamson, Taylor, Latham and BJ Watling as an established batsman in this Black Caps Test side.

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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).