Understanding New Zealand: Maori Party Voters

The Maori Party is a bit of a misnomer. Sure, they represent Maori, but not all Maori – only some. Let’s get the obvious one out of the way: the correlation between voting Maori Party in 2014 and being of Maori descent is an extremely strong 0.91. The correlation between voting Maori Party in 2014 and being a Pacific Islander was a not significant 0.01, and the other two correlations, with being European and being Asian, were both significantly negative at -0.35 and -0.30 respectively.

What may seem incredible if you look at Parliament, but not surprising if you knew about Kiwis, is the size of the negative correlation between voting National in 2014 and voting Maori Party in 2014: this is -0.75. That is enough to suggest that the average Maori Party voter has very, very little in common with the average National voter, even though the Maori Party supports National in Parliament.

With no other party was there as large a negative correlation with voting Maori Party in 2014. Voting Maori Party had a correlation of -0.64 with voting Conservative, and -0.29 with voting ACT. Imagining some kind of blend of National, Conservative and ACT voters can give us an idea of what an anti-Maori would be like if one existed.

Maori Party voters were indifferent to the Greens. Voting Maori Party in 2014 had a correlation of 0.02 with voting Green in 2014. They do, however, seem to like the other strongly pro-Maori parties. Voting Maori Party in 2014 had a correlation of 0.41 with voting Labour and a correlation of 0.46 with voting New Zealand First.

The strongest correlations with voting for the Maori Party were with Internet MANA (0.84) and the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party (0.85). Those two correlations may give a clue as to the sense of betrayal that many hard done by Maori will be feeling at the actions of the Maori Party MPs elected to Parliament, who raised tobacco taxes and did nothing about cannabis prohibition.

There is a fairly big difference between some correlations that the reader may have expected to be close to equal. One set of them relates to the strength of the correlation between being educated and being Maori and between being educated and voting Maori Party.

The correlation between being Maori and having a Bachelor’s degree is -0.45, but the correlation between voting Maori Party in 2014 and having a Bachelor’s degree is only -0.28. There was a similar pattern for all of the postgraduate degrees.

For being Maori and having an Honour’s degree the correlation was -0.46, but for voting Maori Party in 2014 and having an Honour’s degree it was only -0.29. For being Maori and having a Master’s degree the correlation was -0.45, but for voting Maori Party in 2014 and having a Master’s degree it was -0.28. And for being Maori and having a doctorate was -0.41, but for voting Maori Party in 2014 and having a doctorate it was 0.27.

A similar pattern repeats itself if we look at correlations with income bands. The $60-70K income band is perfectly even, in that the correlations between being in this band and being either Maori or voting Maori Party are both exactly 0.00.

For all of the income bands below this, the correlation with being Maori was more strongly positive than it was for voting Maori Party in 2014, but the opposite was true of the three income bands above this one.

A similar pattern repeats if one examines the difference when it comes to claiming benefits. The correlation between being on the unemployment benefit and voting Maori Party in 2014 is 0.79, but the correlation between being on the unemployment benefit and being Maori is 0.91. Similarly, the correlation between being on the invalid’s benefit and voting Maori Party in 2014 is 0.59, but the correlation between being on the invalid’s benefit and being Maori is 0.77.

One difference, and one major clue as to how Maori Party voters differ from general Maori, is that the correlation between being on a student allowance and voting Maori Party in 2014 (0.26) is stronger than the correlation between being on a student allowance and being Maori (0.20). This tells us that the average Maori Party voter is generally more driven and aspirational than the average Maori.

A general picture emerges of Maori Party voters being significantly better off than the average Maori person. This cannot be explained by turnout alone. The correlation between turnout rate in 2014 and being Maori is -0.75, and with between turnout rate in 2014 and voting Maori Party in 2014 it is -0.74. So there is no significant difference there.

This is supported by general measures of health and well-being. The correlation between having never smoked tobacco and voting Maori Party in 2014 (-0.55) is weaker than the correlation between having never smoked tobacco and being Maori (-0.73). In a similar vein, the correlation between being a solo parent and voting Maori Party in 2014 (0.66) was not as strong as the correlation between being a solo parent and being Maori (0.79).

There are several potential implications of this. One of the most notable is that, if Maori Party voters are actually significantly wealthier than the average Maori, a partnership with National as not as odd as it might otherwise appear.

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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.

Can This Black Caps Side Take The World No. 1 ODI Ranking?

In winning the Hadlee-Chappell series 2-0, the Black Caps have defeated the Australian side twice in an ODI series in 12 months and moved to No. 3 in the official ODI rankings. This essay poses the question: can Kane Williamson’s side achieve something unprecedented in New Zealand ODI cricket history, and take the No. 1 spot?

The Black Caps have never achieved the distinction of being able to claim that they were the best ODI side in the world. At times we have come close. The current Black Caps ODI unit might have it in them to go the rest of the way.

Let’s look at the team with reference to the official ICC player rankings.

On these rankings the figure of 750 stands out as a benchmark for world-class performance. To achieve a score of 750 a player must consistently excel in comparison to their peers. It is a rare enough distinction that only six current batsmen have rating scores above 750.

Williamson had a score of 752 in January 2015, and in the two years since then has almost always stayed above that figure. If we compare his returns with that of Martin Crowe, we can see that Crowe was similar but generally below the 750 mark. Crowe, however, maintained his standard of between 700 and 750 for nine years.

In the extremely unlikely event that Williamson’s career peters out from this point, he would end up with a career ratings trajectory similar to that of Andrew Jones, who hit his peak at roughly the same time as Crowe.

Jones, who was like Williamson in that he was rock-solid at No. 3 but unlike him in that he was picked late for the Black Caps, maintained a rating above 750 for about four years.

Ross Taylor, widely regarded as the second-best bat in this current side, has maintained a Martin Crowe level of performance for the past three years, in which time he has also been between 700 and 750. He has averaged 55.89 with the bat in those last three years.

What the Black Caps of Jones and Crowe’s day didn’t have was a classy hitter at the top like Martin Guptill. Although Guptill was not world-class for the first part of his career, he got on top of his game about two years ago and since then has risen above 750. He averages over 50 in the 50 matches he has played since the start of 2015.

The Black Caps have long had a tradition of excellent ODI bowling, going all the way back to Sir Richard Hadlee, who was one of the best of all. At one point the Black Caps had the rare distinction of having three of the top five ODI bowlers, in Shane Bond, Daniel Vettori and Kyle Mills.

Vettori was the only one of those three to be truly world-class for a decent length of time – Bond suffered many problems with injury and Mills was not enough of a wicket threat to really be considered in that top bracket.

The most skilled Black Cap with the ball currently is Trent Boult, who is ranked No. 1 in ODIs. Boult is a curious case, because he hasn’t even been in the ODI side very long. He has, however, maintained a bowling rating of 750 or thereabouts for most of the past 18 months, during which time he has also struggled for fitness.

But given that he is rapidly improving and is only 27, this column contends that over the next few years, Trent Boult will establish himself as the best ODI bowler in the world. He might not have quite as many wicket deliveries as Mitchell Starc, but he is far more relentlessly accurate and incisive.

Perhaps the major weakness of today’s Black Caps side in comparison to those of past years is the absence of a world-class allrounder. When Cairns, Oram, Styris and Vettori were operating the team had both depth and flexibility.

Certainly there is potential among the current wider squad for a quality No. 6 to emerge. Corey Anderson has even more potential than Cairns, but can’t stay on the field long enough to make an impact. Jimmy Neesham appears to have the goods, but has been unable to translate it into class in ODIs. The best bet going forward might be Mitchell Santner, as the errors he makes tend to be errors of inexperience.

With four world-class players in Williamson, Taylor, Guptill and Boult, and a handful of potential ones in Matt Henry (currently ranked 7 in ODI bowling but can’t make the side), Santner, Anderson, Tom Latham, Lockie Ferguson and Adam Milne, the Black Caps side of 2017 looks to have both a stronger core and much greater depth than ever before.

All it would take would be to maintain those standards or gradually improve them over time as players naturally get more experience, and the Black Caps will surely claim the No. 1 ranking sooner or later.

This side could actually take the No. 1 ranking fairly soon if enough results went in their favour. A 3-0 win in the ODI series against South Africa later this month is far from unthinkable, considering they just beat the world champion Australians 2-0 at home.

That would leave them second, two points behind Aussie, and therefore within striking range of the previously unachievable.

Understanding New Zealand: Demographics of Maori New Zealanders

Most Kiwis are generally aware that the average Maori is doing it harder than the average Kiwi by a range of measures, but may not be sure precisely why. In any case, there is much more to the Maori experience than just that.

The correlation between median personal income and being Maori is a moderate -0.48. This is enough to tell us that the average Maori is considerably poorer than the average Kiwi. However, this correlation is not quite as meaningful as it might appear on the surface.

The correlation between median age and being Maori is even stronger, at -0.63, and because there is a mildly significant positive correlation of 0.27 between median age and median personal income it is fair to conclude that Maori are poorer than average, to a small extent, because they are younger than average.

There is a fair amount of cynicism among Maoris regarding Paheka religions. This is reflected in the fact that being Maori has a significant negative correlation with being a Christian, which is -0.37. This will surprise those any who expect that Maoris are like Pacific Islanders in all regards. The correlation between being a Pacific Islander and being a Christian is a moderately strong 0.46, so they are very different to the Maori in that sense.

There is no significant correlation between being Maori and being Anglican – this is 0.02. Being Maori has significant negative correlations with practicising a variety of religious traditions: with being a Catholic it is -0.28, with being Presbytarian it is -0.40 and with being Buddhist it is -0.45.

Even more surprising to some is the strong positive correlation between being Maori and being a Mormon (0.54), as well as the correlation between being Maori and following Spiritualism and New Age religions, which was a mildly significant 0.24. In this latter correlation the Maori share something exclusively with the Paheka, who also have an interest in these traditions, unlike Pacific Islanders and Asians.

The explanation for the strong negative correlation between being Maori and net personal income becomes obvious if one looks at the correlations between being Maori and maximum educational achievement.

Being Maori had a moderate positive correlation with being in all three groups with the poorest education. Being Maori had a correlation of 0.57 with a Level 2 education, of 0.55 with a Level 1 education, and of 0.67 with no qualifications at all.

Even worse for the purposes of making a good income, being Maori had a significant negative correlation with having any of the university degrees. With having a Bachelor’s degree the correlation was -0.45, with having an Honour’s degree it was -0.46, with having a Master’s degree it was -0.45 and with having a doctorate it was -0.41.

It is known that Maori men in particular have the lowest life expectancy of any of the major population groups in New Zealand. Few would dare guess that things are so bad for Maori men that there is a significant correlation between being Maori and being female – this is 0.31.

Related to this unusual death rate, there is one pattern that stands out when it comes to the demographics of Maori. Although Maori are only doing moderately worse than the Kiwi average when it comes to most measures of social health and wellbeing, they still comprise the bulk of the Kiwis at the very bottom of the ladder, who have it hardest of all.

There is a correlation of 0.91 between being Maori and being on the unemployment benefit and a correlation of 0.77 between being Maori and being on the invalid’s benefit. There is also a correlation of 0.92 between being Maori and being a regular smoker and a correlation of 0.79 between being Maori and being a solo parent.

These are very strong correlations and suggest that much of the worst social devastation has happened to Maoris.

There is a significant positive correlation between being Maori and all of the income bands from Loss or No Income up to $50K. There is a significant negative one between being Maori and the three income bands above $70K. One can guess from this that working class industries and occupations are the general trend.

The significant positive correlations between being Maori and working in a particular industry are 0.47 for working in transport, postal and warehousing, 0.44 for working in manufacturing, 0.43 for working in education and training, 0.42 for workign in electricity, gas, water and waste services, 0.38 with working in administration and support services, 0.32 for working in healthcare and social assistance and 0.31 for working in construction.

There are only two industries with a significant negative correlation with being Maori: professional, scientific and technical services at -0.33 and financial and insurance services at -0.26. The former of these is not surprising considering the unusually low representation of Maori on the higher rungs of the education ladder.

True to the long-held stereotype of “Maori being good on guitars and bulldozers”, there is a very strong correlation between being Maori and working as a machinery operator or driver – this is 0.66. There is also a strong correlation of 0.62 between being Maori and being a labourer. The strongest correlation between being Maori and any occupation, however, is with community and personal services, which is 0.72.

Predictably, there is a strong positive correlation between being Maori and having been born in New Zealand – this is 0.70. This may not even be as strong as some might predict, but it ought to be kept in mind that the vast majority of New Zealand Europeans are native born and that there are large Maori populations in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

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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.

What Waitangi Day Could Mean For New Zealanders

Today is Waitangi Day, the national holiday of New Zealand. Our national holiday is today because it commemorates the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, the document of partnership between the native Maori tribes and the British pioneers that led to the founding of modern New Zealand.

Everyone knows that. Here’s something you probably didn’t know. In the original articles of Australian Federation, which are held for public viewing in the Australian National Museum, it stated clearly that only white people and Maoris were allowed to vote in Australian Federal elections.

Why Maoris?

The framers of the early Australian Constitution were no fools, but they were not right about everything. Back in the late 19th century when the desire for federalism swept the Australian continent in response to an ever-increasing majority of the people being native born, it was anticipated that New Zealand would join the nascent Southern nation as another state.

After all, New Zealand was born of exactly the same sociohistorical phenomenon as Australia – the British Empire – and the white majority of New Zealand was not much culturally different to the white majority of Australia.

There was one catch. The early framers of the Australian constitution knew that the New Zealand Maori had been treated in a significantly different manner to the Aborigines of Australia, and that race attitudes were very different across the Tasman Sea.

Maori New Zealanders have had their own Parliamentary representation since 1868, about a century before Australian Aborigines were considered proper human beings by their settler culture.

In other words, it has been known from the beginning that our attitude to the native people made us fundamentally different in mentality to our brothers across the ditch.

The reason why Maoris were given the right to vote in Australian Federal Elections from the very beginning – unlike any other non-white race on Earth – is because it was understood that white New Zealanders would simply not accept federation into Australia otherwise.

Let’s be very clear about something at this point: this relationship is not one-way traffic. This intent of this essay is not to glorify the mostly middle-class people who colonised New Zealand and contrast them with the mostly working-class people who colonised Australia.

The Treaty of Waitangi is a partnership agreement that the Maoris have lived up to. By the standards of most international treaties in history that makes it very rare – and very precious.

One time at a factory I worked at in Brisbane, a pack of local bogans had cornered me and one of our co-workers, a Maori fellow named John. They engaged us in a conversation about who would win in a fight between the two of us and the six or seven or them.

John grinned and said: “We Kiwis are lovers, not fighters.”

It was a cunning way to defuse the situation, and it ended in good cheer. But it occurred to me shortly afterwards, based on what else I had observed in my half a year in Australia about the relations between white Australians and Aborigines, that it was highly unlikely an Aborigine would find cause to say the same about a white Australian.

Can an Australian Aborigine genuinely look at a white Australian and see one of his own, in the way a Maori New Zealander can look at a Paheka? Of course not. In fact, nothing like it.

This column’s contention for Waitangi Day is this. Forget the attention whores, the tub thumpers, the race baiters, the shit stirrers, and all the other dickheads who have turned this day into a low-rent freakshow. Let them have their day in front of the peanut gallery.

They have tried to divide and conquer us, as the ruling classes always have done to the people they have ruled, but in this they have failed.

However, let’s not dwell on that.

Instead, let us focus on the fact that the way we Kiwis have conducted race relations since the foundation of New Zealand has left us with far fewer daily unpleasantries than people of most other European colonies.

On my first day in Sydney, I walked out of the train station and up the main street towards the central city. On a dirty, water-logged mattress shoved up against a brick wall were a group of Aborigines, drinking meths out of plastic bottles.

On one of the first days I spent in Los Angeles I cycled to Malibu from Manhattan Beach. At Malibu, one can look up to the hills and see houses built like castles on huge sections, each property surely worth eight figures. From the same spot, one can look down to the beach and see several dozen people who sleep in cardboard boxes, and all of them are black.

And these are stories about the Functioning World; the non-Functioning World has horror stories about the friction of cultural borders rubbing up against each other that one can hardly believe.

On Waitangi Day, let’s spare a thought for the naked fact that, in most of the rest of the world, race relations are so bad that your skin colour is akin to a uniform and every street akin to a battlefield.

We managed to dodge the vast bulk of that – partly through design, partly through goodwill, partly through luck. Let’s take this day to appreciate that.

Understanding New Zealand: Turnout Rate of Party Supporters

What sort of political party supporter actually turns out to vote? It’s not as straightforward and simple as just old, rich, male and white. However, turnout rate can serve as a useful indicator of general disenfranchisement.

Interestingly, the correlation matrix gives us a clue about a line of information that is completely closed off to anyone running a simpler analysis: we can know which party has the supporters that are most likely to vote by looking at the correlation between party vote in each electorate and the turnout rate in that electorate.

It seems fair to assume that, all other things being equal, the turnout rate of any party’s supporters is roughly equal to the degree that those supporters feel their needs and desires will be taken seriously by the eventual representatives. After all, if your vote will not count for anything because your MP will ignore you anyway, why bother to cast it?

Perhaps more than any other set of correlations, this one tells us who is running the country. If you have money and wealth, you can vote knowing that whoever wins the election will listen to you out of natural shared solidarity. If you are disadvantaged – poor, physically or mentally ill, female in some cases, the wrong religion or race in many others, you can’t.

Unsurprisingly, there is a strong correlation between turnout rate in 2014 and voting for National – this was 0.76. The Labour one, at -0.67, was almost as strong in the other direction. This difference represented by this correlation arguably reflects the most fundamental political division in society – between the haves and the have-nots.

This correlation is large enough that we can predict the vast majority of people who do not turn out to vote are Labour supporters.

Reflecting that the average Green voter is significantly wealthier than the average Kiwi, there is a significant correlation between turnout rate and voting Green – this is 0.26. Probably this would be higher if it reflected the level of class privilege of the average Green voter, but because the average Green supporter is also so young the turnout rate is somewhat suppressed.

The turnout rate was, as it was for Labour, significantly negatively correlated with New Zealand First support. The correlation here was a moderately strong -0.40, which is possibly even a little less negative than one might have expected based on the income of the average New Zealand First voter. Even though the bulk of New Zealand First supporters are working-class Maoris and thus have a low turnout rate, the party has a core of elderly white voters who can be counted on to vote.

The turnout rate was moderately correlated with voting for the Conservative Party in 2014 – this was 0.55, easily the second highest of all the correlations between turnout rate and voting for a party. This is even though voting Conservative in 2014 did not have a significant correlation with median personal income.

The main reason for this is the strong correlation between voting Conservative in 2014 and median age, which was 0.75. Because old people vote at significantly greater rates than the young, and because old people are religious fundamentalists at significantly greater rates than the young, old people will vote for a party (like the Conservatives) that appeals to religious fundamentalism.

All of the parties that had a high proportion of Maori voters had a significantly negative correlation with turnout rate. The correlation between turnout rate and voting Maori Party in 2014 was -0.74, with voting Internet MANA it was -0.69, with voting Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party it was -0.68 and with voting New Zealand First it was -0.40.

None of these are surprising considering the strong negative correlation between turnout rate and being Maori (-0.74). It may be that the natural support levels of both the Maori Party and Internet MANA are closer to what the Conservative Party is pulling in, but because of massive disenfranchisement among Maori are unable to translate that support into seats in Parliament.

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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.

A Look at the Fashions This Political Season

With a General Election called for the 23rd of September this year, the political fashion season is now upon us. Kiwis everywhere are asking themselves “What political cause do I have to pretend to support this season in order to virtue signal my advanced and Christ-like moral sophistication?” This article has the inside goss.

The first thing that everyone needs to know is that gays are out, refugees are in. Gays have been fashionable for long enough – homosexual law reform has been fashionable since the 1970s – and have now become an entrenched part of the Establishment, fielding more than twice as many MPs as would be proportionate for their numbers in the population.

Cynics might point out that the sort of refugees that have the tens of thousands of dollars necessary to make it to New Zealand are probably middle class anyway, but the trendy thing to do is to blame it all on American bombing.

Now that America has a white man in the big chair once again, it will now once again be fashionable to talk about the drone strike campaign that killed hundreds of thousands of people during the reign of Barack Obama.

Talking about this was exceptionally fashionable during the last years of George W. Bush, because the indiscriminate nature of the killing naturally upset human rights fans. Drone strikes regularly claim dozens of ancillary fatalities that are written off as ‘collateral damage.’

It was highly unfashionable to speak about this during the reign of Obama because he was just so goddamn ball-achingly cool. But now that it’s trendy to compare Trump to Hitler it will also be trendy to talk about the drone strikes again, as one can have little doubt that drones are something Hitler would have gleefully used had he been able.

Women are also out, and this has made it even more fashionable to be pro-Islam this season.

The fact is that, despite the rhetoric about the gender gap (almost entirely produced by yuppie lesbians trying to smooth the path to a C-suite position), it is really hard to get away with paying a woman less for literally the same work in New Zealand.

The vast majority of the feminists who were fashionable at university are now middle-class and assuming positions of power themselves – and often at greater rates than the males of Generation X because the females tend to have higher educational standards.

And what’s less cool than a competent, educated middle-class person in a position of power?

Throwing women under the bus is probably the only way we political fashionistas can cope with the cognitive dissonance that would be brought about by simultaneously supporting them and an aggressively male supremacist religious tradition that considers women barely better than animals.

Do note that transsexuals are not the hot new thing this political fashion season. It seemed for a long time as if they would be, because of all the noise they had been making.

But New Zealand has long ago had an openly transsexual Member of Parliament – a Georgina Beyer, assigned male at birth, who completed two terms as an MP for the Labour Party from 1999.

On the clearly unfashionable side of things is the economy. Bill English said that the economy was the primary issue this political fashion season, and he’s the epitome of uncool.

So whatever you do this political fashion season, don’t point out the fact that refugees cost the country $100,000 per year each, and so taking even as many as a thousand per year costs more money than the Feed the Kids Bill would have done.

Hungry kids are out, unless they are foreigners. So mentioning the $100,000,000 per year expense of taking in 1,000 refugees might be this season’s biggest faux pas.

Cannabis users will have to continue their forty-year wait to become fashionable, because most of them are poor, mentally ill and Maori and all of those are associated with being grotty and poor and uncool.

Alcohol will still be fashionable, though, because the alcohol industry will continue to dump tens of millions into advertising until the plebs can’t talk or think about anything else.

So get ready to crack some chardonnay with your newly-made Syrian friends on the 23rd September this year.

If You Want Cannabis Law Reform in 2017, Pray Bill English Gets Cancer

National Party MPs are known for their kindness in the same way that Waffen-SS soldiers were known for theirs – not. Conservative politicians speak a language of fear to their constituents, who duly wet their pants and give all their power away in the hope that some mighty ruler will put it right, like their parents did back in the day.

What characterises the true right wing from the left is the degree of distance between the top and the bottom of the preferred hierarchy. Right-wing voters are generally more than happy to debase themselves before a ruler, and are thus far more likely to bow the head to one, but are at the same time far more likely to abuse or neglect someone they consider beneath them.

Essentially this is a primitive kind of social logic that has probably carried over into modern culture from brain circuits that evolved to meet the challenges of an era during which humans were much more like chimpanzees. Before the Stone Age began, your competition had to be kept down by whatever means necessary lest they kill you for your territory or women.

This suggests that, for conservative politicians, pain and misery is the only language they’ll ever understand.

The sort of person who becomes a National Party supporter is generally someone of a fairly limited degree of life experience. It’s rare that a New Zealander ever goes travelling and sees the world only to come back and vote for a conservative party, and it’s rare that one ever goes to university to mingle with a wide range of people from everywhere only to vote conservative.

The National Party psychology is a particularly unfeminine one; it prizes order above all other values. It’s as if they were taught while very young that empathy invites chaos, and is something only for the foolish.

Correspondingly, women vote National significantly less than men do, primarily because women tend to vote more in community interest and less in self-interest. Why would a woman vote for a party that cut funding to rape crisis centres? On the face of it, that seems very odd, like an unusually low degree of gender solidarity.

So if you look at National Party women like Paula Bennett, Jenny Shipley, Ruth Richardson, Michelle Boag and Judith Collins, they stand out as a particular breed. There’s clearly something missing from them, something that corresponds pretty closely to what a healthy person would consider empathy.

A normal woman is a person who one feels comfortable leaving in charge of a small child; a National Party woman is a person who feels more comfortable with a glass of bubbly in one hand and that small child on a spit roast being rotated by the other.

So when Nicky Kaye came out this week and said her diagnosis of breast cancer had changed her attitude to medicinal cannabis, the sudden change of heart demonstrates the degree of separation between the people making laws about medicinal cannabis and those needing it.

Kaye might not have encountered many cannabis users before. She might not have spent so much as one minute ever hanging out with a personal friend who had a need for medicinal cannabis. In fact, Kaye probably moved in circles that considered all cannabis users to be criminal scum, medicinal need be damned.

There’s always been that iron edge in the blue soul of the National Party, the one that believes that anyone weak deserves it, that any momentary failure or backwards step is an invite to be destroyed.

It’s why pleas to repeal cannabis prohibition on the basis of compassion will never succeed. It’s mostly the poor, Maori and mentally ill who suffer from cannabis prohibition, and none of the poor, Maori or mentally ill vote National.

Someone else’s suffering is not real suffering to the sort of person who is a National supporter. If anything, someone else’s suffering is considered by them a good thing because it keeps that someone else down and makes them much less likely to rock the boat.

So appeals to other people’s suffering, now matter how much of it there is, will not motivate a repeal of cannabis prohibition in New Zealand in 2017.

If New Zealanders want a change to our cannabis laws before the end of the year, there is only one way it will happen: if the Prime Minister Bill English himself gets cancer and comes to appreciate the value of medicinal cannabis in the same way that Nicky Kaye did.

Helen Kelly wasn’t enough. Paul Holmes wasn’t enough. Even Martin Crowe wasn’t enough. Nicky Kaye won’t be enough either. If New Zealanders want any reform to our barbaric cannabis laws in 2017 they have little option but to pray that Bill English gets cancer for the greater good of the Kiwi nation.