Understanding New Zealand: Voting Patterns of European New Zealanders

Who do the honkies vote for? Most people could have guessed that there was a correlation between voting for the National Party in 2014 and being of European descent, but few would have guessed that it was quite as strong as 0.60. The correlation between voting Labour in 2014 and being of European descent is even stronger, but negative: -0.76.

These are strong correlations, and they ilustrate the degree to which the National Party upholds racial advantages as a consequence of upholding class advantages. Being of European descent has a correlation of 0.35 with median personal income, which conflates the effect of race and class in the National vote.

Voting for the Conservative Party in 2014 had a correlation of 0.46 with being of European descent, and the other party that had a significant positive correlation with being of European descent was the Greens – this was 0.24.

Some might find this latter point surprising considering that the Greens produce a lot of rhetoric about being left-wing and about supporting marginalised groups in society. But marginalised groups generally do not vote Green – they vote Labour. The correlation between voting Green in 2014 and median personal income is a significant 0.31.

This tells us that the Green Party is a curiosity in the paradoxical sense that it represents a class that does not often belong to the race it represents and a race that does not often belong to the class it represents.

Voting for any of the remaining four parties in 2014 has a negative correlation with being of European descent. Three of those four correlations can be explained simply by noting that they are parties which get a lot of Maori support: the ALCP (-0.15), the Maori Party (-0.35) and Internet MANA (-0.37).

The ACT Party stands apart from those three on that basis. The correlation between voting ACT in 2014 and being of European descent is a significantly negative -0.28. This suggests that there is a natural division on the right between the heavily European National and Conservative parties, and the heavily non-European ACT Party.

The natural division on the left, meanwhile, is between the also heavily European Green Party, and the moderately non-European Labour Party. Although this has more to do with education than class, it’s noteworthy that barring a token Maori in the leadership position, only Marama Davidson of the Green MPs has any non-European ancestry.

This is the basis for the observation that a National-Greens Government might be possible after 2017. Essentially this would be a European coup of the political system, knocking out the Maoris in NZF and Labour, the Pacific Islanders in Labour and the Asians in ACT.

Media commentators might talk about crucial demographics and the need to win them to capture the middle ground, but the fact is that the vast bulk of New Zealand voters are people of European descent and a small shift of the balancing point within this major demographic can have nationwide consequences.

European people love to vote, no doubt a reflection of their integration into the system and their confidence that their voices will be heard by the eventual representatives. The correlation between turnout rate in 2014 and being of European descent is a strong 0.71, which is enough to say that, as a general rule, white people vote.

Many might have been able to guess that; few could guess the extent that the flag referendum was a mission for people of European descent only. Turnout rate for the first flag referendum had a correlation of 0.85 with being of European descent, and turnout rate for the second flag referendum had a correlation of 0.88.

The correlation between being of European descent and voting to change the flag in the second flag referendum was 0.60 – exactly the same as the correlation between being of European descent and voting National in 2014. This further supports what we already know about the extent that the flag referendum was a National Party vehicle.

3 thoughts on “Understanding New Zealand: Voting Patterns of European New Zealanders”

    1. This article was an excerpt from an upcoming Dan McGlashan book, Understanding New Zealand, due to be published by us in the winter. Dan McG is carrying out the study using the Statistica software program and the raw data from the Parliamentary Profiles on the New Zealand Parliament website.

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