Understanding New Zealand: Voting Patterns of Employment Status

With regard to employment status this analysis divides New Zealanders into those who work for a wage or salary, those who are self-employed, those who are self-employed with employees (i.e. employers) and those who do unpaid work in the family business. This does not consider the unemployed because this is discussed in the article about Labour Force Status.

The strongest correlations in this section are those that reflect the basic economic division of society, between owners and owned.

In particular, the correlation between being self-employed with employees and voting National in 2014 was an extremely strong 0.75. The converse – with voting Labour in 2014 – was even stronger at -0.83.

This is hardly surprising if one takes into account that the entire purpose of the National Party’s existence – at least theoretically – is to shift the balance of power towards the employer (and the bigger the employer the better) whereas the precise opposite is true for the Labour Party.

There were similar correlations for those who are self-employed without employees, only not quite as strong. People in this category had a correlation of 0.68 with voting National in 2014 and a correlation of -0.78 with voting Labour in 2014. These are no doubt strong for the same reason the ones above were strong.

As could be predicted from the general enfranchisement rule, people in the employer group have an extremely high turnout rate. For the self-employed with employees the correlation with turnout rate in 2014 was 0.57, and for the self-employed without employees it was 0.63.

This group was more or less indifferent to the two medium-sized parties. Those who were self-employed without employees had a small, not significant positive correlation with voting for the Greens in 2014 (0.14), and a small, not significant negative correlation with voting for New Zealand First (-0.23). This probably reflects the influence of the professional class, and the number of doctors, lawyers, psychologists etc. with their own practices.

One statistic that will surprise some is that the correlation with working for a wage or salary is much stronger for people who voted Green in 2014 (0.41) than it is for those who voted Labour in 2014 (0.11). The reason for this is the large proportion of beneficiaries among Labour voters.

This correlation between working for a wage or salary and voting Green in 2014 is the strongest of its kind. The next strongest correlations between working for a wage or salary and voting for a particular political party were 0.23 for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party, 0.18 for the Maori Party and 0.11 for Internet MANA.

There were two significantly negative correlations. Between working for a wage or salary and voting for New Zealand First in 2014 the correlation was -0.32, and with voting Conservative in 2014 it was -0.43. This probably reflects the fact that these two parties get a significant number of votes from people who are too old to be working for a wage or salary.

There was also a negative correlation between working for a wage or salary and turnout rate in 2014 (-0.08), but this was not significant.

A curiosity is that the correlation between working unpaid in the family business and voting New Zealand First in 2014 (0.34) is about the same as the correlation between working in this manner and voting National in 2014 (0.32). This is because most people in this group are the elderly who have left the running of the family business or farm to their offspring, and who contribute but do not need to take money out.

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This article is an excerpt from Understanding New Zealand, by Dan McGlashan, published by VJM Publishing in the winter of 2017.

Understanding New Zealand: Voting Patterns of Medium-Skill Occupations

The demographic of medium-skill occupations breaks down into technicians and trade workers, community and personal service workers, and clerical and administrative workers.

The medium-skill occupations are characterised by a relative indifference to the two major parties. This makes sense if National and Labour are considered to represent opposite poles of the capital-labour spectrum, because the medium-skill occupations, falling in the middle, could be expected to be indifferent.

Working as a technician or trades worker had a correlation of -0.09 with voting National in 2014, and a correlation of -0.02 with voting Labour in 2014. This is not too surprising as neither of those parties aim to represent people in this occupation.

Technicians and trade workers had a significant positive correlation with voting New Zealand First in 2014 – this was 0.44. This can only partially be explained by the fact that this occupation has a significant positive correlation with being Maori, and Maoris love New Zealand First.

For all the other parties, besides ACT, they were indifferent. The correlation between working as a technician or trades worker and voting ACT in 2014 was -0.37.

The reason for these correlations might be that people who work as technicians and trade workers have a strong working-class sentiment but cannot find expression for it in the Labour Party, which more and more has come to represent middle class special interests.

The voting patterns of community and personal service workers reflected the fact that there was a correlation of 0.72 between working in this occupation and being Maori. In particular, there were strong correlations with all of the Maori-heavy parties.

The correlation between working as a community or personal service worker and voting New Zealand First in 2014 was 0.48; with Internet MANA it was 0.56; with voting Maori Party it was 0.64 and with voting Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party it was 0.76.

Consequently, the correlations between working in these profesions and voting for the parties that Maoris don’t like were all significantly negative. With voting Conservative in 2014 it was -0.41; with voting ACT it was -0.47 and with voting National it was -0.51.

These correlations also reflect the degree of compassion evidenced in the policies of the various parties. Because the sort of person who works as a community or personal service worker can be expected to have a higher than usual amount of compassion, it’s clear that their voting patterns reflect this.

The last group of medium-skill occupations is clerical and administrative workers. This class is perhaps better considered as somewhere on the high-skill end of the medium-skill occupations.

Their voting patterns are consequently much like that of the professional class (with whom they share a high income). The strongest positive correlation between working as a clerical and administrative worker and voting for a political party in 2014 was 0.22, with the Greens. The strongest negative one was -0.24, with the Conservative Party.

It’s not possible from that, however, to conclude that people in this group are particularly left-wing. The correlations with voting for Internet MANA in 2014 (0.14) and for the Maori Party in 2014 (0.12) were about as strong as the correlation with voting for ACT in 2014 (0.17). Likewise, the correlations with the three most established parties were all negative, if insignificant.

These patterns reflect the fact that most people working in this group are young adults with ambition, just not quite enough ambition to get a professional degree.

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This article is an excerpt from Understanding New Zealand, by Dan McGlashan, published by VJM Publishing in the winter of 2017.

Is There A Crypto-Conservative in Your Midst?

The phenomenon of rich kids pretending to be working class because it’s fashionable – satirised in The Young Ones by Rik Mayall – is not a new one

With all the bullshit being produced nowadays, it’s sometimes difficult to spot new patterns or sources of it in all the noise. One of the most interesting new patterns (or, more precisely, resurgent patterns) is that of middle-class kids pretending to be working class, and flooding into leftist politics: the crypto-conservative. This article tells you how to spot one.

In order to understand what a crypto-conservative is, it is necessary to understand recent Western sociological history.

With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union, Western liberal capitalism surged to triumph in the Cold War. No longer facing an outside threat, the Western Establishment immediately shattered, but not, as many had expected, into the rentier class and the working class.

It shattered instead into the rentier class and their offspring, who gravitated towards the left out of rebellion towards their parents.

The actual working class were progressively driven out of the left until we arrived at the situation we have today, where it is almost entirely comprised of the offspring of the rentier class, and the social considerations upon which it was founded have long been forgotten.

Thus we have arrived at a definition: a crypto-conservative is literally a natural conservative pretending to be left-wing – usually a young, middle-class person who has infiltrated the working class movement and is acting, wittingly or otherwise, to destroy it from within.

The easiest way to pick one is that they don’t care about issues that affect the actual working class, like getting a fair wage for a day’s work.

Often they are obsessed with issues that literally destroy the working class, like mass third-world immigration (which tips the balance of power between worker and boss back towards the boss).

Other times they are obsessed with issues of no particular importance to the working class – it’s genuinely difficult to see anything necessarily working class about homosexual law reform, for example.

In another time and place it could just as well be the left wing making homosexuality illegal over inflated fears of STD infection or psychological predation upon minors. It was after all left-wing hysteria that led to the failed experiment of alcohol prohibition.

The striking thing about the middle-class crypto-conservative is that all of their political ideology will benefit them as soon as their parents die and they inherit their property.

So it’s actually in their own interest to act as a cancer within honest working class movements – and they may or may not know this.

This is the secret to identifying a young conservative that is pretending to be working class. They will not care about working class issues like a fair wage for a day’s work, but seek to instead divert attention from this to meaningless trivia in the hope of appearing fashionable.

Obviously, a young person will not care about a fair wage for fair work if they just bludge off their wealthy parents, so anyone claiming to be left-wing while bludging off their wealthy parents is very likely to be a crypto-conservative.

Likewise, a young person who does not work will not care about the fact that allowing large numbers of unskilled refugees into the country will remove any leverage the working class may have had over their bosses. After all, they are unlikely to live in the same neighbourhood as the refugees (at least not after they “settle down”), and in any case the refugees are unlikely to be competing for middle class jobs.

Ultimately, though, the most effective way to pick a crypto-conservative is from their anemic lack of conviction and passion when they are discussing working class issues.

If a person looks sheepish or embarrassed when talking about the need for adequate wage compensation, or the need to build quality houses instead of the third-world shacks we have, or the importance of not sending kids to school without food or shoes, but becomes loud when talking about the gender wage gap or Israel-Palestine, then that person might not be trustworthy.