Understanding New Zealand: Conservative Party Voters

The Conservatives are a strange sort of movement. In many ways they appear to be some kind of rump movement of people who didn’t like it when National decided to move into the 21st century.

The strongest correlation between voting Conservative in 2014 and voting for another party in 2014 was with National – this was 0.77. This is strong enough to suggest that many Conservative voters would have been former National voters, or would have been severely tempted to vote National in 2014.

National was the only party to have a significant positive correlation with voting Conservative in 2014.

There were two parties that were close to uncorrelated. The correlation between voting Conservative in 2014 and voting New Zealand First in 2014 was 0.01, and with voting ACT it was 0.13.

The former of these is probably because both movements compete for the angry, scared old person vote, and the latter is probably because both movements share an indifference towards the poor.

Voting for any of the left-wing parties had significant negative correlations with voting for the Conservative Party in 2014, further emphasising the degree to which the Conservative movement appeals (and is intended to appeal) to disaffected National voters.

The correlation between voting Conservative in 2014 and voting Greens in 2014 was -0.42, and with voting Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party it was -0.54. This pair involved slightly weaker correlations than for the other three parties, primarily because Green and ALCP voters are closer to middle aged.

The correlation between voting Conservative in 2014 and voting for the Labour, Maori or Internet MANA parties were -0.63, -0.64 and -0.64 respectively.

Age is the main reason for the strong negative correlations between voting Conservative and any of these parties. The correlation between voting Conservative in 2014 and median age was 0.75, which means Conservative voters are almost as old as National voters.

Conservative voters are even more likely to be on the pension though. The correlation between voting Conservative in 2014 and being on the pension was 0.64, compared to a correlation of 0.50 between voting National in 2014 and being on the pension.

Conservatives are also less educated than average. Whereas the correlations for voting National in 2014 and having any of the university degrees were all positive and either significant or bordering on it, the correlations for voting Conservative in 2014 and having any of the university degrees were all negative and bordering on significant.

Females are less unlikely to vote Conservative than they are to vote National. The correlation between being female and voting Conservative in 2014 was -0.19, compared to a correlation of -0.35 between being female and voting National in 2014.

One major way the two differ is with respect to wealth. The average National voter is much wealthier than the average Conservative one. The correlation between net median income and voting Conservative in 2014 was only 0.06, compared to National’s 0.53.

In fact, looking at the correlations with income bands tells us that wealth is the major differentiator between Conservative and National voters.

The income band that had the strongest positive correlation with voting Conservative in 2014 was the $20-25K band, which was 0.17. All of the correlations between voting Conservative in 2014 and any income band above $25K were negative (although they were all very weakly correlated; not close to significant).

By contrast, all of the correlations between voting National in 2014 and any income band above $60K were positive and significant.

One of the largest differences was that with median family income. The correlation between median family income and voting National in 2014 was 0.42; for voting Conservative it was -0.08.

Oddly, although the average Conservative was more likely than the average National voter to be a Christian, these tended to belong to denominations that were less part of the establishment than the National voters.

The correlation between being a Christian and voting Conservative in 2014 was 0.37, compared to 0.29 for voting National in 2014.

Conservatives, though, were much more likely to belong to the Brethrens. The correlation between being a Brethren and voting Conservative in 2014 was 0.54, compared to 0.25 with voting National in 2014.

Conservatives were also much more likely to be Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Ratana, Pentecostalists or “Christian not otherwise defined” than National voters, who were more likely to be Anglicans, Presbytarians or Catholics.

Also, the average National voter is slightly less likely to be religious, whereas the average Conservative is slightly more likely to be religious.

The average Conservative is also less likely than the average National voter to be a Kiwi of European descent. The correlation between being of European descent and voting Conservative in 2014 was 0.46, compared to 0.60 between being of European descent and voting National in 2014.

All of this suggests that the main Conservative constituency is those who are like National Party voters in many demographic ways, but who do not have the same level of wealth or social status. It could even be that there is a degree of resentment among them because they are often both old and poor.

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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: Demographics of Industry

Some stereotypes are true; others are not. One of those that is not true is that Maoris dominate all working-class industries. Although (as described elsewhere) many working-class industries and occupations are heavily populated by Maoris, this isn’t the full story.

The correlation between working in the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry and being of European descent (0.37) was stronger than the correlation between working in that industry and being Maori (0.22). Part of the reason for this is the number of family-run farms, especially on the South Island, that are run by Pakeha.

Working in the mining industry was also much more strongly correlated with being of European descent (0.25) than with being Maori (0.08). This is a consequence of that a large proportion of the Maori population lives in Auckland and thus far from where most of the mining takes place.

Being Maori did have significant positive correlations with a number of generally working-class industries, in particular transport, postal and warehousing (0.47), manufacturing (0.44), education and training (0.43), electricity, gas, water and waste services (0.42) and administrative and support services (0.37).

One point to note here is that these industries are not so much working class as they are people-focused. It might be that much of the association between being Maori and being working class is because many people-focused jobs happen to be working class ones and Maori gravitate towards people-focused jobs.

The correlations with median personal income give us a good indication of which industries in New Zealand are the best paid.

The strongest positive correlations between median personal income and working in a particular industry were 0.76 for professional, scientific and technical services, 0.69 for financial and insurance services, 0.54 for information media and telecommunications and 0.49 for rental, hiring and real estate services.

The strongest negative correlations between median personal income and working in a particular industry were -0.40 for manufacturing, -0.29 for transport, postal and warehousing, -0.23 for agriculture, forestry and fishing and -0.15 for mining.

The negative correlations were weaker than the positive ones for the reason that anyone in gainful employment – in any industry – is almost guaranteed to be wealthier than all beneficiaries and the majority of pensioners.

The correlations with education reflected that the highest paying industries were also the ones that generally required the greatest degree of previous training and therefore education.

The strongest of all was the correlation between working in scientific, technical and professional services and having a Master’s degree – this was 0.94. There is nothing suprising about this because often a Master’s degree minimum is necessary for a professional job.

The correlations between working in a particular industry and being born in New Zealand are interesting because they can tell us what sort of person is most likely to successfully get through our immigration system. Because our immigration system prioritises the sort of person who has a skill that New Zealand has a shortage of, these people will be disproportionately many in some industries.

Foremost of these was scientific, technical and professional services. The correlation between working in this industry and being born in New Zealand was -0.47, which tells us that a fair number of these workers have moved here from overseas.

The correlation between being born in New Zealand and working in financial and insurance services was even more strongly negative, at -0.56. The main reason for this is probably because the bulk of this industry in New Zealand is based in Auckland and that’s also where most foreign-born people are.

Many of the people who own their own farms work at home in a family business. This is evident from the strong positive correlation between working at home and working in the agriculture, fishing and forestry industries, which was 0.81, and the very strong positive correlation between working unpaid in the family business and working in the agriculture, fishing and forestry industries, which was 0.90.

One trend that makes sense if considered from an economic psychology perspective is that the better paid a person’s job is, the more likely they are to work full time.

The industries that had the strongest positive correlation with working full-time were professional, scientific and technical services (0.52), financial and insurance services (0.48) and information media and telecommunications (0.44).

There are several reasons for this, but the major one is that anyone of a mind to learn the skills necessary to do jobs in these industries are usually also of a mind to work full-time and to earn as much money as possible during this time.

The other major one is that anyone with the capital to employ a person with these skills is likely to be a serious operator and consequently will be looking to get full productivity out of their employees.

Perhaps the best way to determine which industries are the best paid are to see which of them have the strongest correlations with high income bands.

The industries that had the strongest correlations with low income bands were hospitality in the $5-10K band; mining in the $15-20K band; healthcare and social assistance in the $20-25K band; agriculture, forestry and fishing in the $25-30K band; electricity, gas, water and waste services in the $30-35K band; and manufacturing and transport, postal and warehousing in the $35-40K band.

These are the industries for people who are generally doing it hard. The jobs are not well paid, and they are insecure, and they are often seasonal. Usually they are also jobs that have a high turnover (hospitality is particularly well known for this).

Where jobs are more stable, regular and predictable, we can also see a rise in which income band their workers belong in.

The industries that had the strongest correlations with medium income bands were construction and retail trade in the $40-50K band; administrative and support services in the $50-60K band; education and training in the $60-70K band; and wholesale trade, public administration and safety and arts and recreation services in the $70-100K band.

Construction is arguably the top of the working class industries, because even though the majority of the labour is manual it involves very high amounts of capital. The other five industries in this group (leaving aside retail trade) are the start of the knowledge industries, in that they generally demand a higher level of prior education.

The industries that had the strongest correlations with the high income bands were information, media and telecommunications, finanical and insurance services and professional, scientific and technical services at $100-150K, and rental, hiring and real estate services at $150K+.

In other words, if a New Zealander works in any of these industries, the odds are that they have a six figure salary. This is because these industries all, like construction, involve gigantic amounts of capital, but unlike construction they are knowledge industries and the workers in these industries are in higher demand and shorter supply.

Rental, hiring and real estate services involves not only big money but employees that work on a commission and not a salary. This explains why working in this industry has its strongest correlation with the highest income band.

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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.

An Essay Concerning Who Ought to Take the Crease at the Fall of a Wicket in T20s

When ODI cricket was invented, it took players, coaches and strategists a while to adapt to the fact that they were no longer playing Test cricket. For example, the fact that 220/3 after 50 overs is great in Tests and terrible in ODIs was not immediately appreciated.

The first ever Cricket World Cup match was famously marred by an innings of 36 off 174 balls from Sunil Gavasakar, who went on to state that “I wasn’t overjoyed at the prospect of playing non-cricketing shots and I just got into a mental rut after that.”

Gavaskar’s Test record shows that he was an exceptionally capable batsman, so the initial adjustment to such concepts as “scoreboard pressure” and “required run rate” must have been a big one, and a psychological one.

It was solved when it was realised that strike rate is about as important as average runs scored for an ODI batsman, especially the closer the game gets to the last over.

T20 cricket is still new enough that original plays are still being thought up. Every year there are new innovations, or new variations on old ones. Some concepts have to be abandoned, some concepts have to be tweaked, and some concepts have to be synthesised out of wordless intuition and perception.

This essay suggests one radical concept: that we need to do away with the old concept of batting order, and to replace it with a batting dynamic.

The major advantage of thinking in terms of a batting dynamic is that it would help the Black Caps find a place in the T20 side for Ross Taylor, who is simply too good to be left out.

A batting dynamic means no longer having a batting order in terms of openers, a first drop, a middle order etc. It means (to simplify it) to have one accumulator and one hitter at the crease at all times.

The reasons for this are mathematical. It’s better to have one accumulator than two hitters, because the hitters can lose wickets in clumps very easily and cripple the team. But it’s better to have one hitter than two accumulators, because you only have 20 overs and batting too slowly will lose you the game just as surely as losing a pile of wickets.

It’s best to consider these to be entirely separate skills – which they are, until the real slog of the last few overs.

The Black Caps have made it to No. 1 in the world T20 rankings partially by opening the batting with who are at time of writing both in the top 8 in the world – Kane Williamson at 3 and Martin Guptill at 8.

In doing so, they have a world-class accumulator in Williamson and a world-class hitter in Guptill, so all is good.

The problems arise when the first wicket falls.

Under the old concept of a batting order, this wouldn’t matter much, as it seldom does in Tests and hardly matters in ODIs.

But when the first wicket falls in a Black Caps T20 innings, the team runs the risk of making two mistakes, namely having two accumulators or two hitters at the crease.

The concept of a batting dynamic means that we divide the batsmen into accumulators and hitters, and that we try not to have two of both until the last few overs when everyone hits.

So for the T20 side, one might open with Kane Williamson and Martin Guptill, with Williamson the designated accumulator and Guptill the designated hitter.

If Williamson is dismissed early, we send Ross Taylor in. This way, it becomes less likely that the opposition will run through our lineup, as happened in February this year.

Conversely, if Guptill is dismissed first, the next hitter in line comes in to bat – perhaps Colin Munro, Corey Anderson, Tom Bruce, Colin de Grandhomme or even Tim Southee.

It doesn’t matter who it is, as long as they have a licence to hit, because the emphasis is on avoiding having two accumulators at the crease. This way we can avoid burning through the overs while scoring too few boundaries and using up our 20 with piles of wickets in hand.

So if Kane Williamson carries his bat, then Ross Taylor will not take the crease until all the other hitters are out. This means that Taylor could bat anywhere between 3 and 7 depending on the hitting ability of the other batsmen and when Williamson is dismissed.

But if Williamson is out on the first ball then Taylor comes in to ensure that the strike is always rotated to the hitter at the other end.

The worst case scenario (besides being bowled out) is that all our hitters get dismissed and we’re left with Williamson and Taylor to finish the innings. Obviously this is still an excellent outcome.

The other point is that if we aim to always have one of Williamson or Taylor at the crease until the death (let’s say until the 15th over at least), then the choice of the other batsmen in the team becomes much more straight-forward: they can simply all be hitters, as it’s very unlikely that Williamson and Taylor will both get out early.

Statistically, one would expect this to have the effect of causing the Black Caps to win by smaller margins, but to win more games, as the variance of the scores will be reduced if there are fewer hit-and-miss batsmen at the crease.

– DAN McGLASHAN

Understanding New Zealand: Demographics of Asian New Zealanders

The main reason why Asian immigration to New Zealand has been the polar opposite to Muslim immigration to Europe in terms of its success and how happy the locals are with it can be seen by the demographics of the group. In particular, the Asians moving here are considerably wealthier, better educated and more middle class – the sort of person that is most likely to make a positive contribution to those around them.

The demographics of Asian New Zealanders, like the voting patterns of this group, are primarily characterised by the fact that the majority are immigrants or descendents of relatively recent immigrants, and as such had to pass the relatively stringent points system.

For example, the correlation between being Asian and being born overseas is an extremely strong 0.91. This tells us that the vast majority of Asians living here were born overseas. The correlation between being Asian and being born in North East Asia was 0.87, but the correlation between being Asian and being born in the Pacific Islands was also fairly strong, at 0.51.

This tells us that, although the bulk of Asians in New Zealand are from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan, there are also many South Asians, and even a fair number of Fijian Indians who are here.

The Asians that do come here certainly do so with higher educations (as mentioned above, this helps them pass the points system). The correlation between being Asian and having a university degree was 0.64 for a Bachelor’s, 0.41 for an Honours, 0.60 for a Master’s and 0.28 for a doctorate.

Interestingly, these figures are not especially indicative of higher earning. The correlation between being Asian and net median income was only 0.22, positive but not significant. This is curious considering that being Asian had a significant positive correlation with either of the two highest income bands: with $100-150K it was 0.32 and with $150K+ it was 0.28.

The reason for this might be that Asians, despite the stereotype of the Chinese slumlord, have not accumulated enough wealth to move into the rentier class yet – a class that is dominated by Kiwis of European descent and Maoris.

It may also be that Asians are much less likely than other Kiwis to live in a family where both parents are working, and that this lowers the average. Although the correlation between being Asian and earning $150K+ was 0.28, the correlation between being Asian and living in a family with an income of $150K+ was only 0.10.

There was a significant negative correlation between being Asian and living in a freehold house (-0.34) and a significant positive one between being Asian and living in a rented house (0.26). There is also a significant negative correlation between being Asian and being self-employed with employees (-0.31) and a significnat positive one between being Asian and working as a professional (0.37).

This group of correlations tells the story of Asians moving to New Zealand recently with professional educations and working professional jobs, but not having been here long enough to become old money and make investment income.

Correspondingly, there are strong correlations between being Asian and working in knowledge-intensive industries and none with either capital or labour-intensive industries.

The correlations between being Asian and working in a particular industry were 0.62 with financial and insurance services, 0.57 with wholesale trade, 0.50 with information media and telecommunications and 0.48 with professional, scientific and technical services.

That Asians tend to be middle-class can be seen from the positive correlation between being Asian and never having smoked tobacco: a very strong 0.77. As anyone who has been to Asia knows, this statistic is far from representative of the people who live there, which suggests that the sort of Asian that emigrates to New Zealand is a cut above their fellows.

The strongest correlation in this entire study – even stronger than the correlation between being Maori and voting Maori Party – is the correlation between being a Buddhist and an Asian – an immensely strong 0.95. This tells us that no matter how trendy Buddhism might be among certain Westerners in Nelson, Grey Lynn and Khandallah, the vast majority of New Zealand Buddhists are Asians who were born into it.

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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: Demographics of Low-Skill Occupations

The low-skill occupations are generally made up of people who are in the demographics who are struggling. Although they are not doing as badly as beneficiaries, workers in low-skill occupations have to deal with the fact that the supply of low-skill labour is much greater than the demand for it and so wages are poor.

The wages for low-skill occupations are very poor in New Zealand. The correlation between net personal income and working as a machinery operator or driver was -0.59, and with working as a labourer it was -0.51. These are stronger correlations (only in the negative direction) than the one between net personal income and working as a manager.

Ultimately the reason for this is that working in a low-skill occupation does not take much of a personal investment in the form of an education.

The correlations between having no academic qualifications and working in a low-skill occupation were very strong: 0.85 for machinery operators and drivers and 0.82 for labourers.

Both of these fall very sharply towards the negative as academic qualifications increase. The correlation between having a Bachelor’s degree and working as a machinery operator or driver was -0.79, and the correlation between having a Bachelor’s degree and working as a labourer was -0.74.

These occupations are also the ones in which a person is most likely to be injured or to find themselves out of work for seasonal reasons or because of market fluctuations.

As a result, the correlation between working as a machinery operator or driver and being on the invalid’s benefit was 0.67, and with being on the unemployment benefit it was 0.62. The correlation between working as a labourer and being on the invalid’s benefit was 0.71, and with being on the unemployment benefit it was 0.53.

The most favoured industries for machinery operators and drivers were manufacturing (with a correlation of 0.76), transport, postal and warehousing (0.76), construction (0.48) and agriculture, forestry and fishing (0.40).

The most favoured industries for labourers were agriculture, forestry and fishing (0.77), manufacturing (0.72) and construction (0.49).

Consistent with the trend that tobacco use tends to be associated with people who have it relatively hard, the correlation between being a regular smoker and working as a machinery operator or driver was a very strong 0.82, and the correlation between being a regular smoker and working as a labourer was only slightly weaker, at 0.75.

As discussed in several other articles in this study, the immigration system favours the sort of person who is capable of paying a lot of taxes into the future, and this explicitly rules out machinery operators, drivers and labourers, because these occupations are both poorly paid and have a high risk of injury.

Consequently, the correlations between being born in New Zealand and working as a machinery operator or driver was 0.57, and with being a labourer it was 0.77.

The reason why there is a reasonably large gap between these two is because a larger proportion of Pacific Islanders work as machinery operators or drivers compared to labourers. The correlation between being a Pacific Islander and working as a machinery operator or driver was 0.31, compared to -0.19 between being a Pacific Islander and working as a labourer.

In fact, Kiwis of European descent are more likely to work as labourers than Pacific Islanders. The correlation between working as a labourer and being of European descent is 0.11. The main reason for this is probably because of all the general labour that still needs to be done on the South Island.

Being of European descent was, however, significantly negatively correlated with working as a machinery operator or driver – this was -0.31.

Maoris are heavily represented in both low-skill occupations. The correlation between being Maori and working as a machinery operator or driver was 0.66, and with being a labourer it was 0.62.

Consequently, there are relatively few Asians. The correlation between being Asian and working as a machinery operator or driver was -0.42, and with working as a labourer it was -0.67.

There was a moderately strong positive correlation of 0.53 between being a labourer and having the employment status of unpaid work in the family business. This reflects the large number of farm hands on family-run and owned farms, especially on the South Island.

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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 and Demographics of South Islanders

The South Island is sterotyped as big, cold, old and white. And it is – but there’s more to it than just that. The voting patterns of South Islanders do not fit any neat and obvious pattern.

The most favoured political party by South Islanders were the Greens. The correlation between living on the South Island and voting Green in 2014 was 0.21. The next most favoured party was National. The correlation between living on the South Island and voting National was 0.13.

Some will find this very odd, but it might not be properly appreciated on the North Island the degree to which environmentalism is important to South Islanders, especially those in the North and West.

The correlation between living on the South Island and voting Labour in 2014 was -0.13. This is to be expected given that there is a stronger than average level of National support there. Considering that many young South Islanders vote for the Greens, it is striking that this correlation is not even more strongly negative.

Many will be surprised that the correlation between voting New Zealand First in 2014 and living on the South Island was -0.15. This surprise is because the party is inaccurately stereotyped as a party for old white bigots, whereas in reality most New Zealand First voters are Maori, and there are relatively few Maori on the South Island.

This lack of a strong Maori presence explains the negative correlations between living on the South Island and voting Maori Party in 2014 (-0.15) and with voting Internet MANA in 2014 (-0.17).

There is not, however, a negative correlation between living on the South Island and voting Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party in 2014 – this was 0.03. Even though a disproportionate number of ALCP voters are Maoris, and that disproportionately few South Islanders are Maoris, cannabis culture is extremely strong in the North and West of the South Island and very strong elsewhere.

It is true that the South Island is particularly European – the correlation between living there and being European is a moderately strong 0.51. For being Maori it was -0.26, for being a Pacific Islander it was -0.29 and for being Asian it was -0.30.

The staid, dour dependability of South Islanders might be a consequence of the heavy Scottish influence there. This is reflected by the moderately strong correlation of 0.56 between living on the South Island and being Presbytarian.

It may also be that the religious are more well-to-do on the South Island and as a result they do not have the tendency to join those movements who appeal more to the hard done by. The correlations between living on the South Island and having a particular religion was -0.39 for Mormonism, -0.34 for Ratana, -0.33 for Jehovah’s Witness, -0.33 for Pentecostal, -0.31 for Maori Christian, and -0.25 for Methodist. These were all significant.

There was also a significant positive correlation between living on the South Island and having no religion. Considering that South Islanders tend to be older and old people tend to be religious, this is a curiosity. It is best explained by the large numbers of highly religious Pacific Islanders who live on the North Island, especially Auckland.

The correlation between living on the South Island and median age was 0.27. This was significant, and probably so because the bulk of immigrants who move to New Zealand are young and they tend to move to Auckland.

This latter point was evidenced by the sharp distance between the correlation between living on the South Island and being aged 30-49 (-0.07) and the correlation between living on the South Island and being aged 50-64 (0.33).

Curiously, the correlation between living on the South Island and having a Master’s degree (-0.15) was much more negative than the correalation between living on the South Island and having a doctorate (0.10).

This is probably a consequence of the fact that most people with Master’s degrees gravitate towards the power hierarchy, which is mostly established in Wellington and Auckland, whereas people with doctorates gravitate towards where sick people are, and most sick people are elderly and more elderly live on the South Island.

South Islanders are significantly less likely to be on the unemployment benefit. The correlation between living on the South Island and being on the unemployment benefit was -0.30. Probably the main reason for this is that there are fewer South Islanders in the low-skill demographics.

South Islanders’ choice of industry reflect that the South Island is large and sparsely populated.

The correlations between living on the South Island and working in a particular industry were -0.32 for administrative and support services and -0.29 for financial and insurance services, which reflects that the former industry is primarily based in Wellington whereas the latter is primarily based in Auckland.

These correlations were 0.43 for construction, 0.32 for retail trade and 0.23 for hospitality. The first of these reflects the Christchurch rebuild sending demand for construction workers through the roof, and the third reflects the strong tourism industry on the South Island.

Another reflection of the weight that Christchurch has in the South Island is that South Islanders love biking to work, on account of Christchurch being flat. The correlation between living on the South Island and biking to work was a moderately strong 0.54, which could reflect many things, foremost of which might be flatter land, less vehicle traffic, healthier cultural attitudes to exercise etc.

Perhaps the most definitive characteristic of people on the South Island is that they are decidely more middle to upper-middle class than the average Kiwi. This is evinced in three major ways.

The first is that there is a positive correlation between living on the South Island and being in any income band from $15-70K, and a negative correlation between living on the South Island and being in any income band from $0-15K or $70K+.

This means that, although there are more truly highpowered jobs in Auckland and Wellington than on the South Island, there are also considerably more truly broke people.

The second way is the significant positive correlation between living on the South Island and living on freehold land (0.46) and the significant negative correlation between living on the South Island and living on rented land (-0.31).

The third is the significant positive correlation between living on the South Island and being self-employed with employees (0.28). This suggests that South Islanders are more likely to start and to successfully operate a business than North Islanders.

This suggests that South Islanders have a different approach to wealth generation to North Islanders. Whereas North Islanders are more likely to become professionals and work a highly paid job without caring too much about the size of their expenses, South Islanders are more likely to work to minimise expenses first and to invest the resulting surplus.

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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.

When Politicians Start Competing For Cannabis Voters, Prohibition Is Over

Gareth Morgan showed that he is a cut above the rest of the megalomaniacs who would be king by actually changing his stance on cannabis law reform in response to the wishes of his supporters. This by itself is curious (some are calling the phenomenon “democracy”), but not as curious as the reaction.

The Greens’ health spokeswoman, Julie Anne Genter, responded to the news of Morgan’s intrusion into her political niche like a mother cat protecting her litter.

She made a social media post belittling the capacity of The Opportunity Party to enact reform, calling it “some tiny new political party”, and accused them of planning to be “working with National”.

This marks the first time, ever, that politicians in New Zealand have acted like medicinal cannabis users were normal people whose rights were worth defending.

The usual approach, the English-Little-Peters-Shaw approach, is to stand aside and let medicinal cannabis users die for fear of losing votes from people who want to kill them.

If the politicians, the shallowest of shallow whores, are competing for cannabis law reform votes, then it’s fair to say that the cracks in the dam are appearing and that it’s time for those downstream to evacuate.

The next move will be a leader of a big four party stating on the record that cannabis prohibition is unjust. Any consideration of compensation will be out of the question, because to raise the point suggests that politicians can be held accountable for their crimes against the people, but someone might suggest that medicinal cannabis even be subsidised like other medicines.

Maybe one day a politician will do a medicinal cannabis user the honour of having a photo taken with them.

The ridiculous thing will be that, when all of this happens, the politiwhore in question will try to give the impression that they are bravely leading the charge, even though the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party was saying what Julie Anne Genter is now saying since 1996 – 21 years ago.

It’s taken 21 years to even get this far, where there are so many as two second-tier politicians calling for cannabis law reform. Let’s hope it doesn’t take another 21 for a leader of one of the big four parties to find the courage to say something.

Probably the next advance for cannabis law reform in New Zealand will be for someone in the ACT or Labour parties to champion the issue. Damian O’Connor has already dipped a nervous toe in the water, and if he sees the centrist Morgan take up the issue he could well interpret that as a green light to go further.

Understanding New Zealand: Demographics of Beneficiaries

The four benefits split neatly into a well-spaced hierarchy of disenfranchisement, with the unemployed being the most disenfranchised, the invalids the next most, the students the next most, and the pensioners the least.

The stereotype about high numbers of Maoris being on the unemployment benefit is true to a degree – the correlation between being Maori and being on the unemployment benefit was an extremely strong 0.91. The correlation between being Maori and being on the invalid’s benefit was also very strong – this was 0.77.

Of course, these stereotypes also exist for Pacific Islanders, but here the correlations are not so strong. The correlations between being a Pacific Islander and being on the invalid’s benefit is -0.00, and with being on the unemployment benefit it is 0.25.

Probably the reason why these two correlations are weaker is that the immigration system prioritises the sort of person who can work and pay taxes for a long time into the future, and these people generally have not been here long enough to claim a pension yet.

A strong correlation exists between being of European descent and being on the pension – this was 0.65. This is very curious if one considers the commonly held belief that Maoris and Islanders are responsible for a disproportionate amount of welfare spending.

In fact, a tremendous amount of welfare spending goes to paying Pakeha people a pension, and if one considers that many of these people are taking advantage of the system by retiring well before they become incapable of further productive work, it has to be asked in which direction the stereotypes really ought to go.

Interestingly, although being Asian has a weaker negative correlation with being on the unemployment benefit (-0.25) than being of European descent and being on the unemployment benefit (-0.53), the negative correlation between being Asian and being on the invalid’s benefit (-0.56) is much stronger than for being of European descent and being on the invalid’s benefit (-0.12).

Probably the reason for this is an invalid is unlikely to be granted clearance to move to New Zealand, and so the Asian population in New Zealand, a large number of who are foreign-born, will have had a number of invalids selected out of them.

The unemployed and invalids love to smoke cigarettes. This is perhaps obvious to anyone who has spent a lot of time on a benefit, for a number of reasons. For one, there isn’t much else to do; for another, all of the other beneficiaries probably smoke tobacco or heavier.

The correlation between being on the unemployment benefit and being a regular tobacco smoker is an extremely strong 0.87, and between being on the invalid’s benefit and being a regular tobacco smoker is, at 0.85, almost as strong.

Part of the untold story is the fact that people smoke tobacco primarily for mental health reasons (this has been covered elsewhere by VJM Publishing). So it’s not surprising that the unemployed and the invalid’s beneficiaries – the two groups that collectively suffer the majority of the severe mental illness in this country – use the most mental health medicine.

A statistic that many will find surprising is that there is a positive correlation with being female and being on any of the benefit types. The correlation between being female and being on the pension is the weakest, at 0.03, and the correlation between being female and being on the student allowance is, at 0.21, also not significant.

There were significant correlations between being female and being on either the unemployment benefit (0.39) or the invalid’s benefit (0.26). These correlations are both strong enough that a considerable amount of the wage gap between men and women could be explained by them alone.

As mentioned above, it’s difficult for invalids to get into New Zealand as immigrants because the points system prioritises those who are capable of working and paying the greatest amount of taxes. As a consequence, there is a strong positive correlation of 0.74 between being born in New Zealand and being on the invalid’s benefit.

South Islanders are significantly less likely to be on the unemployment benefit. The correlation between living on the South Island and being on the unemployment benefit was 0.30, which probably reflects a cultural appreciation of industriousness, as none of the correlations with other benefit types were significant.

There is a striking curiosity when it comes to benefits and median age. The correlation between median age and being on the unemployment benefit (-0.73) is actually stronger than the correlation between median age and being on the student allowance (-0.70).

This tells is that, as young as students tend to be, the unemployed tend to be even younger. This probably reflects the fact that it takes a certain amount of time to learn the life skills needed to be employable.

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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.