Of all the smaller parties in the 2017 election, the Ban 1080 Party might be the strangest of them. There are other small single-issue parties – the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party being foremost of these – but even these other parties have equivalents overseas. Who are the Ban 1080 Party, and what do we know about their 3,005 voters?
The Ban 1080 Party website argues for the need to stop making aerial poison drops that use sodium monofluoroacetate (1080) in New Zealand’s national parks and forests. The website’s tagline is “Protect our native birds” and they believe that aerial 1080 drops are a risk to the wellbeing of New Zealand’s birdlife.
A strong South Island focus was evident from the correlation matrix – the correlation between voting Ban 1080 Party in 2017 and living on the South Island was 0.37. The reason for this is probably because a greater proportion of South Islanders will live in the vicinity of a national park or a forest than North Islanders, who are much more urban on the whole, and it’s these people who access the outdoors who are most concerned about things like aerial poison drops.
This explain why the Ban 1080 Party also correlates strongly with other demographics that are well-represented on the South Island. The correlations between voting Ban 1080 in 2017 and other demographic categories were 0.34 for being a Kiwi of European descent, and 0.22 with median age. The only age bracket with a significant positive correlation with voting for the Ban 1080 Party was the 50-64 age bracket – the correlation here was 0.38.
If we examine measures of class we can see that Ban 1080 Party voters are poorer and less educated than the national average, which is especially striking if one considers that they otherwise belong to demographics that are positively correlated with wealth.
The correlation between voting Ban 1080 Party in 2017 and median personal income was -0.23, and the correlation between voting Ban 1080 Party in 2017 and having no NZQA qualifications was 0.44. Related to this is a correlation of 0.30 between voting Ban 1080 Party in 2017 and being a regular tobacco smoker. This paints a picture of a section of the community who are relatively simple people and who perhaps have been taken in by the hysteria a bit.
The rural nature of Ban 1080 Party voters is demonstrated starkly when it comes to the correlations between voting for them in 2017 and working in the agriculture, fishing and forestry (0.67) or mining (0.69) industries. There was also a significant positive correlation of 0.35 between voting for Ban 1080 Party in 2017 and working in the hospitality industry.
These three correlations reflect the high proportion of Ban 1080 Party voters who were enrolled in either the West Coast-Tasman or Clutha-Southland electorates.
Underlying that Ban 1080 Party voters are comprised of the outdoorsy kind of person who spends a lot of time in national parks and forests, there are significant positive correlations between voting Ban 1080 Party in 2017 and both being born in New Zealand (0.46) and being male (0.35).
Ironically, given their heavy conservation focus, the Ban 1080 Party does not attract followers who are like the Green followers. The correlation between voting Ban 1080 Party in 2017 and voting Green in 2017 was -0.09.
People who voted Ban 1080 Party tended to overlap with those who voted New Zealand First and, oddly, Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party. Voting for the Ban 1080 Party in 2017 had a positive correlation with voting for either of these parties: 0.41 for New Zealand First and 0.28 for the ALCP.
Part of the reason for this is the high level of Maori support for the party. This might sound contradictory, given that most Maoris live on the North Island, but a couple of statistics make this association clear. The first is the correlation between voting Ban 1080 Party and being Maori, which was 0.16, and the correlation between living on the South Island and being Maori, which was -0.26.
This tells us that South Island Maori were proportionately big supporters of the Ban 1080 Party, which is fitting considering that this demographic is extremely active in the outdoors with hunting and food gathering.